Germany are World Champions. Crucially, overwhelming consensus has it that the right team won. As such, Germany enter early World Cup 2018 markets as the favourites to win outright. Can Germany accomplish back-to-back titles? Let’s take a glance at the top favourites on the board for the highly anticipated finals in Russia.
Germany top the board
In a World Cup that was packed to the brim with drama, upsets, feast of goals and individual excellence, it was the combined effort of Die Mannschaft (the most impressive team at the 2014 finals) that won the coveted prize. So it comes as no surprise Germany are the favourites to win outright in Russia, a feat that would mark their fifth overall title, second straight title in as many finals. However, when no team has won back-to-back titles in recent history, can Germany come through on their favourable +450 betting odds (or thereabouts depending on your choice sportsbook) to win outright? Only Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962) accomplished the feat.
The absence of any repeat champions just shows how hard it is to accomplish the feat in the modern era. Proof positive: Defending champions La Furia Roja going out in a blaze of glory in Brazil after failing to advance out of the group stage amidst high pre-tournament expectations, underscored by blatant favouritism in 2014 World Cup betting markets. As well, France suffered a similar fate in 2002 as defending champions, as did Italy in 2010 as defending champions.
That said Spain are installed as the second favourites at +700 to win outright almost unanimously in 2018 World Cup betting markets. This might seem surprising at first with their disappointing account still fresh in the minds of World Cup bettors. It isn’t, though, when one considers their last six years on the international stage culminated in two European titles and a World Cup. Granted they were shown up at these finals, but that could be used as motivation in the next.
When France crashed out of 2002, betting faith hit a low. Going into the 2006 finals in Germany, France were widely dismissed before the tournament with many pointing to Zinedine Zidane as a “has been,” a spent force that couldn’t possibly carry Les Bleus on his aged shoulders. Tale told: they made it all the way to the final then before losing to Italy. At these finals, Holland were similarly dismissed, but they too surprised in reaching the semis. Perhaps, sportsbooks have taken a page from these cases, applying it to Spain in the coming finals.
Speaking of both France and Holland, the pair is in contention for Russia at +1100 and +1400, respectively, which puts them fourth and fifth in the pecking order. Both nations enjoyed a solid tournament in Brazil, not to mention laid important building blocks upon which they could only improve from here onwards. They are relatively young teams with loads of talent, all of which points to an upside that has them in contention now. Keep an eye on them when placing your World Cup futures betting picks.
South American heavyweights Argentina and Brazil are listed amongst the top five favourites, but there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy: some books have Argentina as co-second favourites with Spain at +700 while others have Brazil as the co-second favourites with Spain at +700.
This lack of consensus is interesting. Argentina are deservedly fancied as 2014 runners-up. Brazil, on the other hand, ring a bit false. The way the team fell apart down the stretch is symptomatic of glaring issues that suggest the team is headed towards a rebuilding phase. Indeed, Luis Felipe Scolari just announced his resignation.
Outside contenders: Belgium delighted many at these finals while Italy and England disappointed. Despite their contrasting fortunes, all three face the burden of expectation in Russia. Italy are tipped at +1400 and Belgium and England are matched at +2000 each. South American upstarts Colombia also raised the bar and, as such, they enter as the +2500 contenders.
World Cup Betting Verdict
Die Mannschaft have been growing from strength to strength over the last three World Cups. Their victory in Brazil was a deserved vindication of all that hard work and past disappointments. If there were a team that could pull off the improbable double, it would have to be Jogi Low’s Die Mannschaft. Les Bleus and the Oranje also impressed at these finals with their pace and attacking-minded football – they are two European outfits that could give Germany a run for their money and with that price, they are very tempting betting picks. As far as South American threats go: Argentina and Colombia right now are the best, but with a caveat where the Albiceleste are concerned: they need to transcend the Messi-dependency if they are to win their nation’s third title.