Prepearations for the upcoming World Cup 2018 in Russia are nearly done and while waiting for the final details to be completed we’re taking a look at Groups and potential betting advantages. Here’s a preview of Group A.
These previews are based on ELO ratings, a ranking system for men’s national association football teams that is published by the website eloratings.net. Unlike FIFA Standings ELO ratings are based on mathematical algorithms and more relevant for betting prediction purposes.
With an ELO rating of 12 Urugvay is the highest rated team in Group A and a favorite for first position. With Suarez and Cavani upfront we expect goals. Many, many goals.
Russia didn’t have to go through the qualifying process, being the hosts of the tournament. Home ground advantage could prove decisive in their chances to go through Group A, contested by Saudi Arabia and Egypt if we count Urugay as top favorites to win this group. The opening match versus Saudi Arabia puts a high imperative on home side which will put on additional pressure on Russian team.
There are no top stars in Russian squad but a compact team is lead by Akinfeev who has over 100 caps for this side. Alan Dzagoev is going to dictate the tempo for the Russians and should CSKA midfielder find top form his strikers should have a solid number of opportunities at least against S. Arabia and Egypt. Betting wise ELO ratings suggest Russia will look for points against S. Arabia and particularly Egypt which should be the decisive tie in this group.
- ELO World Ranking: 22
- Odds to win World Cup: 41.00
- Odds to win Group A:
- Key players: Igor Akinfeev (Captain) and Alan Dzagoev
Saudi Araba will be facing their opposition in Group A under Argentinian-born coach Juan Antonio Pizzi who won Copa America Centenario in 2016 with Chile. His ambitions are nowhere near in 2018 but rumor has it his salary took “a bit of increase” as the newly appointed Saudi Arabia coach. His current team reached Russia 2018 after finishing 2nd in Group B of AFC qualifiers, just behind Japan and being level on points with Australia. Their top rated player Al Abed playes for Al-Hilal and is the most prominent of all listed players.
Their performance on last 3 World Cups doesn’t radiate optimsm; only 2 points won leave much room for improvement.
Saudi Arabia is likely to sit back and wait for counter attacks opportunities against objectively much stronger sides in Group A. Once the special bets are out we will be looking into exploiting their lack of offensive power with goal scoring bets.
- ELO World Ranking: 77
- Odds to win World Cup: 1001.00
- Odds to win Group A
- Key player: Nawaf Shaker Al Abed (Captain)
There is hardly a football fan alive today that doesn’t know about Liverpool’s terrific star Mohammad Salah. Without trying to diminish the importance of the squad that carried through the qualifiers and saw Egypt in their first World Cup since 1990 but everything, just everything will revolve around Salah when it comes to this side. He is the top player in EPL and was the top scorer in the qualifiers with 5 goals added to his account (71% of all Egypt goals!).
In 2017 they played CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals (lost to Cameroon 1:2) under Argentinian coach Hector Cuper. This is his 3rd consecutive year with Egyptian national team which makes this team appear as well organized. Their aim will be to challenge Russia for 2nd spot in Group A.
- ELO World Ranking: 34
- Odds to win World Cup: 151.00
- Odds to win Group A
- Key players: Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani
With a pedigree of double World Cup winners Uruguay are hot favorites to top Group A. Already strong side had been reinforced by young talents (Valverde (Deportivo, ESP); Bentancur (Juventus, ITA) carefully handpicked by El Maestro. Uruguay will cherish the usual attacking play style and who wouldn’t with a striking duo Suarez-Cavani. These two have scored 89 international goals between each other and will pose an immense threat for any defensive line that has the unfortune to meet them. That is, if red cards don’t stop them on the way. When you add Godin and Jose Matia you get a well rounded squad to choose from.
A great incentive to win Group A is avoiding Group B winners (most likely Spain). We expect goals and solid result for Uruguayan side in Russia.
- ELO World Ranking: 12
- Odds to win World Cup: 34.00
- Odds to win Group A
- Key player: Igor Akinfeev (Captain)