2018 World Cup Group D Expert Betting Picks
If you are looking for a group where all hell may break loose then my suggestion is to familiarize yourself with Group D.
Group D offers four teams that are loaded with talent, four teams that love to attack, and four teams with shaky back ends. The result could be some wild, high-scoring matches and some potentially shocking upsets. Two of the world's greatest players, Lionel Messi and Luka Modric, and one of the world's greatest stories, Iceland, have this group chock full of drama and intrigue.
The 2018 World Cup will take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15. Russia will host this year's quadrennial event, and current 2018 World Cup betting odds and odds to win the World Cup are currently posted at all offshore and Las Vegas sportsbooks.
Here is my 2018 World Cup Group D preview:
Odds To Win Group D: -170
Odds To Advance: -825
Odds To Win World Cup: +950
Argentina Group D Predictions: Lionel Messi is one of the greatest soccer players in the history of this planet. But even he isn't good enough to drag this team to a World Cup championship. Argentina was lucky to even make the finals, with a Messi hat trick in their final qualifier locking up a spot in Russia. Argentina did not win a single match without Messi, and they burned through three managers during their qualifying effort.
Square bettors love a big name, though, and Messi is one of the biggest. And as long as that's the case then Argentina's odds are going to be out of whack compared to what their actual talent level is. There are some world-class players on this roster, to be sure. But this is not a cohesive unit, and their odds to win the World Cup are not a reflection of where this squad actually sits in the world hierarchy.
Think of Argentina and Messi a bit like the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. And then think about how much you want to trust a team like that. On the one hand, a once-in-a-generation superstar could carry them deep into the tournament. But on the other, severe limitations make it completely unrealistic to expect a title. Messi's best chance to win a World Cup was four years ago in a tournament played in South America. Now, four years older, on a worse team, and playing halfway across the world, I think that anyone expecting a major run from Argentina will be heartbroken.
Odds To Win Group D: +225
Odds To Advance: -225
Odds To Win World Cup: +3300
Croatia Group D Predictions: Heading into the tournament, Croatia is becoming the team that is "so underrated" it is actually starting to get overrated. Seemingly every article I read these days suggests that Croatia is a sleeper team poised for an "out of nowhere" run to the semifinals. But the storyline of Croatia as a sleeper team is becoming so widely circulated by so many top soccer analysts that it can no longer be considered an unthinkable event.
Croatia is talented and technically proficient. Modric is an electric creator. And at age 32 this is likely to be his last World Cup appearance. He spearheads a really diverse crop of attacking players.
But Croatia actually finished below Iceland in their qualifying group, and The Blazers don't seem to have a defined identity or style of play. Croatia was a disappointing 19th at the 2014 World Cup after failing to qualify in 2010. Since their dream run to third place in 1998, this ballyhooed national team has failed to escape the group stage at its last three Cups. I agree that this is a dangerous side. But let's not get run over by this bandwagon.
Odds To Win Group D: +1100
Odds To Advance: +275
Odds To Win World Cup: +24000
Iceland Group D Predictions: In case you haven't heart (and if you haven't, you will) Iceland is the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup. Think about that. With fewer than 330,000 people in the whole country, Iceland is one-fifth the size of Manhattan and roughly the size of Corpus Christi, Tex..
Yet here they are. And these guys can play. They made the quarterfinals of the European Championship in 2016, beating England and drawing eventual winner Portugal along the way. Iceland has a physically-imposing team, with eight guys standing six feet or taller, and they play a spirited defensive style that can frustrate opponents.
Iceland is a wild card. These guys are all heart and are a gutsy, gritty, aggressively defensive unit. Iceland proved in Euro 2016 that they aren't a "just happy to be here" team. And how they play and whom they upset may just be the key to this entire group.
Odds To Win Group D: +1000
Odds To Advance: +250
Odds To Win World Cup: +20000
Nigeria Group D Predictions: In the "Modern Era" of World Cup Finals (since 1986), there has been an African nation that has advanced to the knockout stage every single tournament. And that history may be the best thing that Nigeria has going for it right now because they have not been playing great soccer heading into Russia, winning just once since February and losing both friendlies played last week.
This is a prototypical Nigerian squad. They are full of pace and flair, and this is a team that is capable of busting out with some dazzling offensive displays. While they haven't won in months, this is also the same side that beat Argentina 4-2 back in November. And they did survive a tough qualifying draw, besting World Cup vets Algeria and Cameroon.
Nigeria has a high ceiling and a low floor. They don't play any defense and are the equivalent of that mid-major college basketball team that just chucks a lot a lot of three-pointers. If they get hot: you are in trouble. But a lack of overall consistency and top-end talent could restrict how far they eventually advance.
Group D Predicted Order Of Finish:
ROBERT FERRINGO is one of the top all-sports handicappers in the country and will be releasing rated selections in the 2018 World Cup this June and July. Robert has posted back-to-back winning World Cups (2010 and 2014) and went on an insane +$4,700 run with his plays in Euro 2016. Sign up for his plays here .
Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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