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.
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
Saudi Arabia +3300
Costa Rica +1600
South Korea +1400
Japan +650Best 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)