Brazil, group-stage specialists
Brazil have topped the table in each of the last eight instalments of the World Cup, going 21-2-1 in 24 group encounters. With such a tradition of success in the group stage, is it any wonder they are listed as the top favourites at -400 to win Group A?
Croatia are deemed the second favourites to win Group A, marginally ahead of Mexico, in Group betting markets. However, with respective futures odds of +700 and +800, which put each nation at a great distance off of Brazil, one gets a sense of just how difficult a task winning this section is going to be, if not improbable.
Cameroon at +2500 to win Group A are the quintessential long shots of the section, a price tag underscored by their failure to advance out of the group-stage since their Roger-Milla inspired Cinderella run into the quarterfinals in 1990. Indeed, Cameroon are listed at -138 futures odds to finish bottom of the group.
Group A Soccer Picks to Spot
To suggest Brazil are the best soccer pick to win Group A may come across subjective to some soccer bettors, but it’s accurate, nonetheless. In every sense they outweigh their section, so they would seem to be a lock at -400 to win outright. Predicting which team will secure second place, however, is going to be trickier. If World Cup betting markets were any indication, they’ve narrowed it down to either Croatia or Mexico. On balance, either side could advance. On the merit of their respective qualification campaigns, Croatia’s better form would seem to give them a slight edge.
Croatia decided their World Cup fate in the play-offs with a victory over Iceland, after clinching second place in Group A behind Belgium with a 5-2-3 record, highlighted by 12 goals scored, and nine conceded. Mario Mandzukic was their top scorer (4 goals), and the nine goals conceded over ten games represents 0.9 goals conceded per game. It’s not the best ratio (Spain’s 3 goals against marks the fewest conceded in European qualifiers), but it’s a modest ration nonetheless.
Mexico, by contrast, barely squeaked into the finals. Their qualification left much to be desired, and, at one point, looked to be in dire straits. Somehow, against the odds, they managed to finish fourth in qualification with an abysmal 2-5-3 record in order to play New Zealand for a spot in Brazil. Although they did win convincingly, beating New Zealand 9-3 wasn’t going to improve their stock value meaningfully. The biggest mark against them was their inability to score goals – they netted just seven goals in ten games, while conceding 9 in the process.
That said, Croatia have the disadvantage of opening their campaign against Brazil, a match that could get their campaign off the wrong foot. Brazil are listed at -350 to win outright while Croatia are tipped at whopping +1100 to win outright with the draw trading at +400.
If all goes to plan in the Group A opener, Mexico would have a great opportunity to jump ahead in the table to at least second place with a victory over group lightweights Cameroon. It’s always an advantage to play with a lead rather than play from behind. You can back Croatia at +100 or Mexico at +110 on your soccer picks to advance into the knockouts.
World Cup Betting Verdict: Brazil are widely expected to win Group A, but their -400 futures odds don’t promise much in the way of return unless you have silly money to spend. In order to maximise your profits in Group A therefore, look to other value bets in Group Betting markets.
For example, predicting the second place winner – of which Croatia at +100 or Mexico at +110 are the most probable options. Whichever of these two nations you fancy on your soccer picks, you can also pair with Brazil in Group Forecasts: Brazil to finish first and Croatia second at +175, or Brazil to finish first and Mexico to finish second at +188.
Recommended World Cup Picks: Brazil to win Group A at -400; Brazil and Croatia to advance at +175; Croatia to clinch second at +100; and Cameroon to finish bottom at -138.