World Cup Group B – Betting Tips and Preview
When the World Cup 2018 group draw was made, many football fans were immediately drawn to Group B, which has been considered the ‘Group of Death’ by some out of all the FIFA World Cup 2018 groups.
It has seen Iberian rivals Spain and Portugal together which should bring a mouth-watering clash along with Morocco and Iran who will provide a very tough test for the European sides. It should make for an exciting, intriguing group which of course includes world superstar Cristiano Ronaldo coming up against many of his current Real Madrid teammates.
The start dates for World cup 2018 is approaching quickly, with hosts Russia kicking-off proceedings on June 14, with Group B beginning the following day. The World Cup schedule for Group B runs for ten days with each country playing one another in that time and the top two progressing into the last 16 of the tournament.
Here at OpenOdds we will give you an insight into what you can expect from this group and any potential bets to look out for.
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side are European Champions after their success in 2016, you cannot look past Spain when deciding to pick a group winner.
They have been in scintillating form under new boss Julen Lopetegui who had previously worked in the younger national team setups, with the ex-Porto boss demanding a fast, attractive style of play that suits his players down to the ground.
The most outstanding aspect about this squad is the sheer depth they have, with Lopetegui able to call on several capable performers in virtually every position.
With David De Gea in goal they boast arguably the best keeper in the world, whilst the combination of Barcelona and Real Madrid stars such as Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Isco and Andres Iniesta among many more make this Spain squad formidable.
What’s more, most players know about winning a major tournament with Spain’s successes in 2008, 2010 and 2012, whilst they have won the biggest prizes in club football too and that experience could be vital.
Basically, there doesn’t look to be many weaknesses in this Spain squad and for all Portugal’s quality and the resilient Morocco and Iran, the Spaniards will have aims of lifting the trophy so topping this group should be achievable.
Unfortunately, that’s what the bookies think too, with 4/7 with Boyle Sports the best current price on Spain winning Group B – but we couldn’t really recommend anything else.
Detailed overview of Group B
Portugal’s quality needs no introduction with the European side victorious in their last major tournament, overcoming France to lift Euro 2016 in what was a massive occasion for the country.
Fernando Santos, the man who took them to that glory, remains in charge, bringing a real organisation and structure to the side that is littered with individuals capable of producing magic moments.
Obviously, there’s none more so that Ronaldo who has been at his clinical best for Real Madrid this season and will hope to take that on to the biggest stage of them all. Other class acts in the side to watch out for are Bernardo Silva of Manchester City and Goncalo Guedes of Valencia, whilst Pepe is a man who often turns up on the big occasion for Portugal.
Given the class of the Iberian sides, it will be easy to dismiss Iran and Morocco and they will obviously have a huge task on their hands if they are to navigate a pathway to the last 16.
However, they should be shown respect because they are both very tough sides.
Firstly, Iran are managed by Carlos Queiroz who is a name many English fans will recognise after his time as assistant at Manchester United during the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
The Portuguese coach will come up against his home country and is renowned for making his sides hard to beat. You only have to see Iran’s performances in Brazil four years ago to see that. They held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw and only a late, late bit of magic from Lionel Messi secured a win for Argentina against them.
Therefore, they will relish the role of underdog and could easily frustrate the other sides.
Finally, Russia will be a memorable occasion for Morocco who are at their first World Cup since 1998.
Again, they will enjoy the chance to come up against the bigger countries although it’s fair to say they pose more of a threat than Iran with their quality of player.
In defence they have Mehdi Benatia who plays for Juventus, who will be joined by a name familiar to English fans, with Wolves’ Romain Saiss his defensive partner.
Going forward, the standout man is Hakim Ziyech, a creative midfielder for Ajax. The 25-year old is outrageously talented and will hope to shine in this big moment.
Runners-Up Prediction: Portugal
Even though we urge punters not to dismiss Iran and particularly Morocco as no-hopers, there’s no way you can look past Portugal when it comes to who will qualify from Spain from this group.
However, they will have to be on their game at all times. It’s worth remembering that in Euro 2016 despite winning the tournament they only came third in their group behind Iceland and Hungary and got lucky really with how the tournament works that they qualified.
Yet, that triumph will be a big confidence boost for the players and staff and will allow them to head to Russia with optimism.
Ronaldo is the game changer, the man who can deliver in tight games and he could once again be the difference. As mentioned, Bernardo Silva is another to watch whilst Gelson Martins, Andre Silva and Goncalo Guedes are exciting attacking players that could make a big impression.
Their weakness will come in defence, which lacks pace. Pepe is a major player for the side but alongside him, Jose Fonte may be chosen and he is not an elite level player anymore. Another blow is the absence of defensive midfielder Danilo, after the Porto man suffered an injury that would keep him out.
Yet, getting Santos’ men to finish second is only 11/10 with Bet Stars however it should be very likely.
Recommended Bet:Spain, Portugal Straight forecast
As we’ve touched upon, Group B World Cup 2018 could be the most exciting to watch because of the two big hitters in the group and our recommended bet is to back a straight forecast that means Spain winning the group and Portugal coming second, at odds of 5/4.
The matches for Group B at the 2018 World Cup fall for that the two meet in their first game which could make it a cagey affair, with neither taking many risks. However, if it’s a draw then we would expect Spain to have a superior goal difference against the other sides to ensure they top the group.
It may be a lot closer than people envisage but it would be surprising to see Morocco and Iran advance, whilst Spain will want to put down a marker in the group stage which means winning it.
The Top-10 Bookmakers Of Openodds.com
95 / 100
94 / 100
92 / 100
90 / 100
William Hill Bonus
91 / 100
72 / 100
90 / 100
55 / 100
Pinnacle Sports Bonus
90 / 100
85 / 100
89 / 100
90 / 100
89 / 100
80 / 100
88 / 100
80 / 100
88 / 100
85 / 100
87 / 100
84 / 100