2018 World Cup Futures Odds with Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 7/17/2014
The 2014 World Cup just ended, but is it ever too soon to start thinking about the 2018 edition of the world's biggest sporting event? Of course it's not! There will be a lot that changes between now and then, and qualification always offers plenty of surprises. Still, there are futures odds posted for the 2018 tournament at Sportsbook.ag already, so we might as well speculate about what could happen. To limit the range of teams we have to consider, let's look at the chances of the eight quarterfinalists from the just completed tournament of repeating their run to the late stages of the tournament. In alphabetical order:
Argentina (+800): It was no fluke that the Argentinians made it as far as the finals and took Germany nearly all the way to penalty kicks. They are likely to face a coaching change before 2018, but the rest of the changes aren't likely to be significant. Lionel Messi has at least another World Cup in him, and so do most of the rest of the talented lineup. At this point it is not only possible that Argentina will make the quarterfinals again in 2018. It would be a surprise if they didn't.
Belgium (+1700): Four years ago - right at this time following the South African World Cup - Belgium was a popular long shot pick because of their immense pool of young talent. As this tournament neared the hype built until people were talking about the Belgians as a real contender in Brazil. The tournament proved a couple of things - the talent is really there, but they were not yet ready for primetime. They did not have a speck of World Cup experience on the roster. Now they do, and that is something major to build on. They will get deeper, their experience will drive them forward, and they are poised to be a much better team than they were this time around. Or at least that is what their potential is. If soccer teaches us anything, it's that potential and achievement are not always correlated.
Brazil (+900): A couple of weeks ago the Brazilians were the heavy favorites to win the tournament. Now they have, seemingly in the eyes of the betting public, forgotten how to play soccer. There are two issues here - the public is overreacting, and this team has some issues. There were obvious factors that contributed to their downfall - they didn't handle adversity or pressure well at all. They are already in the market for a new coach, so change will be certain. They have to get their heads on straight, but they have talent to work with, and they should have a real desire for revenge.
Colombia (+2900): There is no shortage of value here - especially since their best player, Falcao, was not even in the lineup. They have some very promising young talent in the pipeline as well. This is not a one-hit wonder - or at least they have the potential not to be. The problem, though, is that their success this year has driven this price well below where it could offer any value.
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Costa Rica (+30000): Great story. Amazing goaltending. Won't happen again. It was so much fun watching this team overachieve, but betting that they will overachieve again - and that everything in their group will fall exactly right again - is far from a good idea.
France (+1300): France is very public, so they are inevitably going to be bet down lower than is ideal. There is a lot to like here, though. They were stronger than they should have been this time around, and the good news is that they are young, and that their best talent is still not at their prime yet. Not a lot of value at this price, but this is a team on the rise - one with a long history of success.
Germany (+550): The Germans are the defending champions. They make a habit of deep runs in the World Cup. They take preparation to a whole new level - when they couldn't find a resort that would suit their accommodation needs while in Brazil they just built their own. They have a massive amount of talent, and that talent isn't going anywhere - six of their best players, including the incredible Thomas Muller, are 25 or younger. They have experience and excellent coaching. They are very deserved favorites.
Netherlands (+1100): I don't like how this team is built and am far from optimistic about their future. I see no value at all here. Of course, I'm the same guy who saw nothing at all to like about the Dutch this time around and didn't expect them to advance past the group stage this time around. Take my general contempt for their direction with a grain of salt.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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