World Cup 2018 Sports Bets: Russia/Saudis and Spain/Portugal
The 2018 World Cup opens today with a match between the host country, Russia, and another Group A national team, Saudi Arabia. The first match of the world’s biggest football event will take place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium (pictured right) at 11am EST. Though the opening match might not feature the world’s powerhouse teams, fans everywhere await the match with great anticipation.
In fact, Monmouth Park Racetrack & Sportsbook opens for its first day at 10:30am this morning, while Borgata Sportsbook in Atlantic City opens 30 minutes later. Those openings are not a coincidence.
The Russian National Team opened as a -230 money-line favorite to win the match, meaning you would have to wager $230 to win $100.
The current money-line bet on Russia is -256. The over/under began at 2, though the over/under now is 2.25.
Saudi Arabia +750 Money-Line Bet
Those who wager on Saudi Arabia get +750 odds, meaning you can win $750 for placing a $100 bet on the Saudis. Obviously, the Saudi Arabian National Team is a major underdog. The tie wager is +330 at the moment, according to Odds Shark. (Note: Russia won the football match 5-0.)
By traditional, the opening match of the World Cup includes the host country. Each team shares a group with 3 other teams, whom they will face in a round robin format. As a general rule, the World Cup committee schedules the host country with the least-imposing team in their group, according to the consensus rankings.
How Group Play Works
In group play, a team faces all three other members of their group in head-to-head play. A win is worth 3 points and a tie is worth 1 point. The two teams with the most points after the 3-match round robin is completed escapes the group. If ties happens, goal differential is the tiebreaker. If goal differential is tied, then the team which scored more goals wins the tie.
Egypt v. Uruguay: Friday 7am EST
The other two teams in Group A, Uruguay and Egypt, play Friday morning at 7am EST. Uruguay, led by the talented yet enigmatic Luis Suarez, is a decided favorite to win. Uruguay is a -164 favorite, while Egypt is a +540 underdog. If you want to bet Egypt draws with Uruguay, you can place a +240 money-line bet. Once again, the over/under is 2 goals.
Egypt’s hopes might rest on the play of (injured) forward Mohamed Saleh, the Liverpool forward who scored 32 goals in 36 English Premier League matches. Salah received a host of awards for his play at Liverpool, including the 2017–18 Premier League Player of the Season, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Player of the Year, the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, and the Premier League Golden Boot award.
Mohamed Saleh is so popular in Egypt that some wrote his name in during the Egyptian presidential election. If he helps Egypt out of Group A, Saleh’s role in politics might be assured. Unfortunately, Saleh sustained an injury in Liverpool’s Champions League Final three weeks ago and there is speculation he might not be able to play. Since Uruguay is considered the best squad in Group A, it might make sense to saved Mohamed Saleh for the games against Saudi Arabia and Russia, when victories would all-but-assure Egypt a trip to the Round of 16.
Morocco v. Iran: Friday 10am EST
Morocco and Iran begin Group B play at 10am EST on Friday morning. Morocco is +120 favorite to win the match, while Iran is the +265 underdog. The money-line bet for a draw is +192 at the moment. The over/under is 1.75.
Thus, the Morocco v. Iran match is considered a much more even affair. The bookmakers believe the two teams will play a more defensive match, trying to make certain they receive at least 1 point for the tie.
Spain v. Portugal: Friday 2pm EST
Spain versus Portugal is the second match tomorrow in Group B. The match is one of the marquee matchups in the first set of World Cup games. Portugal is led by Cristiano Ronaldo, the all-world striker for Real Madrid. Most consider Cristiano Ronaldo to be the second-best player in the world, behind only FC Barcelona’s and Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Despite the star power, Portugal is a +320 underdog against their rival on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain.
Spain has a host of aging stars, several of whom were a part of their 2010 World Cup champion team. The Spanish squad includes veteran midfielders David Silva, Sergio Busquets, and Andres Iniesta, younger midfields like Isco and Marco Asenio, defenders Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, and goalkeeper David De Gea. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was a disaster for Spain, so the team is on a quest for redemption. Bettors believe the Spanish team is a big favorite, as it is a -117 money-line bet at the moment. Of course, the 2018 campaign got off to an inauspicious start when Spain’s National Team coach, Julen Lopetegui, was fired a day before the World Cup began.
A draw is a +230 bet, while the over/under is 2.25 goals.
World Cup Weekend Bets
The wagering action really gets started this weekend, as Group C and Group D play their first games on Saturday, while Group E and Group F launch their World Cup bids on Sunday. Saturday matches include France v. Australia, Argentina v. Iceland, Peru v. Denmark, and Croatia v. Nigeria.
Sunday matches include Germany v. Mexico, Brazil v. Switzerland, Costa Rica v. Serbia, and Sweden v. South Korea. Bettors around the globe have a seemingly endless number of betting options. Whether you are a sports bettor or a football fanatic, it is almost time to enter World Cup heaven.