The World Cup is drawing closer every day. And with the group fixtures already decided, speculation is heating up! A tournament of this magnitude always involves unpredictability and with months to go before the event actually begins, fans and oddsmakers alike can’t help but make predictions.

In organizing our own quick preview, we’ll turn to the Betfair online sportsbook. This site’s incredibly active sports betting section already includes extensive betting options and early odds on World Cup matches, group winners, and overall winners. Those elements make it a solid place to start for some objective analysis of where teams stand.

And now, here are the favourites for the groups and the World Cup!

GROUP FAVOURITES

Group A
This is in some ways a very competitive group, but it’s also an easy one to predict. Brazil, with 2/7 odds to win the group, is an easy pick to advance. But beyond that, Mexico and Croatia have identical odds to win and to advance. Cameroon is expected to come in fourth.

Group B
Spain has 4/5 odds to win and ought to advance with relative ease. The Netherlands (12/5) are looking like they’ll place second.

Group C
Colombia (8/11) and Japan (9/2) are the favourites to win and advance, but Ivory Coast (5/1) and Greece (9/1) certainly have opportunities in a relatively weak group.

Group D
Italy (7/4) appears to be a strong one to take the group. But behind them are both Uruguay (15/8) and England (5/2), who have strong chances to advance. Costa Rica should be the odd man out.

Group E
In possibly the weakest group, France have strong 4/5 odds to win, with Switzerland (100/30) and Ecuador (4/1) trailing. Beyond France, this one is anyone’s guess, though Honduras (29/1) is quite a long shot.

Group F
Argentina (1/4) is almost a sure bet to win and advance, with Bosnia (13/2) and Nigeria (9/1) trailing. Don’t bet on Nigeria to win the group, but take a look at their 5/4 odds to advance as a potential upset over Bosnia (8/11 odds to advance).

Group G
One of the toughest groups has Germany (8/15) out front, with Portugal (3/1) taking second best odds to win. The United States have 11/1 odds to win, tied with Ghana. This group, beyond Germany, is anyone’s guess, and perhaps one to stay away from in betting.

Group H
Belgium (4/6) is a clear favourite, with Russia (13/5) and South Korea (8/1) trailing, and Algeria (29/1) as the long shot. Odds to advance are a bit more telling, with Russia at 4/9 and South Korea at 13/8, showing Belgium and Russia as clear favourites to make the quarter-finals.

WORLD CUP FAVOURITES

Once we get past the group stages, we’ll see who’s left and who’s looking best. But in the early going, the betting odds are showing five true contenders for the World Cup title:

    1. Brazil (3/1)

 

    1. Argentina (5/1)

 

    1. Germany (11/2)

 

    1. Spain (7/1)

 

    1. Belgium (14/1)

 

Plenty of other teams are capable of making runs, but in the early stages these appear to be the five with the best chances to win it all. We’ll find out this summer just how accurate these projections are!

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