World Cup 2018 – how the betting favourites are looking

World Cup 2018 kicked off at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday with the hosts exploding out of the traps. Despite history weighing heavy against Stanislav Cherchesov’s side, they took the lead inside 12 minutes with Gazinskiy scoring the tournament’s first goal.

The level of opposition was modest, to say the least, and there will tougher tests to come but do the locals deserve a little more respect than odds compilers gave them in the build-up? They certainly wouldn’t be the first host nation to spring a surprise in a major international tournament.

Punters looking to have a punt on the World Cup 2018 winner will find a flood of markets available at Paddy Power including outright, top goal scorer, group winner and stage of elimination. Here’s who odds compilers expect to shine.


The Samba Boys were disappointing on their own patch four years ago, but bookmakers know it never pays to write the five-time World Cup winners off. First tasting glory in 1958, they doubled up next time out before adding winner’s medals in 1970, 1994 and 2002.

Manager Tite has an embarrassment of talent to call upon, especially going forward, with the likes of Neymar, Gabrial Jesus, Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho and Roberto Firminho on the books. Brazil to win the World Cup for the sixth time is 4/1 and that quote makes them favourite.


Despite the stats suggesting two-in-a-row is unlikely, you won’t have far to look for the Germans in the outright market. Champions four years ago in Brazil, they dominated the ante-post lists since the turn of the year and were only eased by traders approaching the off. Backers who fancy Germany to retain the crown will be delighted by their 5/1 price tag.

Joachim Low knows he faces one of the biggest challenges of his career if he’s to get his nation back onto the top-step, but he too has a squad crammed with talent. Low will be eager for star scorers Timo Werner and Thomas Muller to have the side firing on all cylinders. The latter started at a cracking 25/1 to win the Golden Boot. Backers will surely get a run for their money on that if Germany progress to the knock-out stages.


Flicking down the list for one at a slightly bigger price and we have Spain chalked up on the board at 13/2, top price with Paddy Power. The Red Fury are certainly good enough to add to their impressive haul of international honours, but they haven’t given themselves the best chance.

National team bosses rocked planet football when sacking manager Julen Lopetegui just two days before the curtain went up after he was named the new leader of Real Madrid. That appointment didn’t come as a massive shock but the actions of his employers at the time certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons. Will it ruin Spain’s chances?

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