Underdogs to Face Big Challenge in World Cup's Group Stages

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 4:44 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018 4:44 PM UTC

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia begins June 14 with Group Stage matches, and it appears only one or two of the eight groups could have an underdog advance to the Knockout Stage.

Soccer: World Cup Group Winner Odds

Thirty-two teams will vie in the largest sporting competition on the planet -- June 14 through July 15 across 11 cities in Russia -- in hopes of winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup championship.

Group E favorite Brazil (+225 to reach World Cup final, Intertops), which hosted the 2014 World Cup and lost in the semifinals, recently suffered a potential big blow when 2014 World Cup Bronze Boot winner Neymar (10/1 to win 2018 Golden Boot, 5Dimes) broken a foot while playing for PSG in France's Ligue 1. There is optimism Neymar will be OK for the tournament, but if he isn't, how would the other Group E teams be affected? Switzerland (+550 to win Group E), Serbia (7/1) and Costa Rica (16/1) are the others who will be fighting to advance to the Knockout Stage.

Let’s check the latest odds for the group winners from Intertops:

Group Winners

Group A

Uruguay +100

Russia +130

Egypt +550

Saudi Arabia +3300

Group B

Spain -200

Portugal +180

Morocco +1400

Iran +3300

Group C

France -357

Denmark +450

Peru +1000

Australia +1400

Group D

Argentina -182

Croatia +220

Nigeria +1000

Iceland +1400

Group E

Brazil -357

Switzerland +550

Serbia +700

Costa Rica +1600

Group F

Germany -278

Mexico +475

Sweden +600

South Korea +1400

Group G

Belgium -125

England +110

Tunisia +1600

Panama +3300

Group H

Colombia +125

Poland +175

Senegal +450

Japan +650

Best Values

Looking at Group D, it seems Argentina (+450 to reach World Cup final, Intertops) should win it (-182, Intertops) over Iceland (14/1), Croatia (+220) and Nigeria (10/1). Argentina is led by prolific Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuaín (33/1 to win Golden Boot, 5Dimes), living legend Lionel Messi (9/1) and Paulo Dybala (33/1). Higuaín has scored 31 goals in 68 national appearances for La Albiceleste. Argentina could challenge for the championship if everything goes right, although group play might take more of a toll on them than on some others who could easily sail into the Knockout Stage.

European sides Spain (+325 to reach World Cup final, Intertops), Portugal (10/1) and Belgium (7/1) should be in that final 16. Defending World Cup champion Germany, led by with 2014 Silver Boot winner Thomas Muller (25/1 to win Golden Boot, 5Dimes), could have a tougher path as they are grouped with Mexico (+475 to win Group F, Interops), Sweden (6/1) and South Korea (14/1). Germany open play June 17 against Mexico (GER -200, MEX +550, DRAW +320, 2½u -111, Intertops).

Free World Cup Group D Winner Pick: Argentina -182 (Intertops)

Free World Cup Group D Opener Pick: Argentina -1 +105 over Iceland (Intertops)

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