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FIFA Confederations Cup Odds and Group Winner Picks

Americas(6-3) @ Europe(3-6)

  • Where: Various. Russia
  • When: June 17, 2017 10:00 am EST
  • Moneyline: (To Win Cup) Germany (+240), Portugal (+250), Chile (+275), Mexico (+800), Russia (+900), Cameroon (+1400)

When the “Dream Team” arrived to dominate basketball at the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992, Team USA earnestly mouthed cliches of concern about first-opponent Team Angola. But not the legendary Charles Barkley. “They in trouble,” he famously chortled. “They in serious trouble.” (Final score: USA 116, Angola 48.)

Portugal Men’s National Team coach Fernando Santos may not be bald, 6′ 6″ or possess a classic inside jump-shot. But he is engaging in a similarly rare moment of total honesty with fans and public as the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup approaches.

Or at least Santos is superb at self-hypnosis. With a World Cup qualifier against Latvia coming up on June 9th, eight days before the tournament in Russia begins, the Entrenadora has told the media that “the Confederations Cup matters zero” and that his only focus is on the Latvians. Which would sound more laser-focused than dismissive, except Santos followed it up by repeating, “the Confederations Cup does not matter at all.” The coach obviously plans to press injured winger Ricardo Quaresma into duty against the Russian province on Friday, come what may against Russia itself a week or two later.

However, remarkably the Portguese enjoy second-shortest winner’s odds on the Bovada Sportsbook board at (+250), neck-and-neck with Team Germany and the dangerous Chileans. Team Russia, meanwhile, sits at 9/1 odds despite having every reason to unleash a corker effort as the 2018 World Cup hosts.

Bookies are obviously surmising that talent is more than half the battle. But which of the three favorites have the most?

Confederations Cup: Battle lines drawn

Click Soccer Futures/International to find 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup futures at Bovada Sportsbook and receive a 50% welcome bonus.

At a peek, Group A appears to be the toughest draw: Portugal, Mexico and Russia alongside New Zealand. The All Whites are unlikely to win a match, and the top two nations qualify for the semifinal, so the group will become a virtual “three for two” round robin. But consider that Group B includes a stronger Oceanic side (Australia) plus Germany, Chile, and the spirited Cameroonians whom Chile will meet to begin play in Moscow.

La Roja are the reigning Copa America champions, and were called the “most dangerous South American team” in the London press after claiming the 2016 title. But a win at the 2017 China Cup didn’t come easy, and the side has been up-and-down in WC qualifying. Intense mid-fielder Arturo Vidal remains the Chileans’ heart and soul at age 30, but all eyes will be on brilliant forward Alexis Sanchez. The 28 year-old has increased his scoring output to one tally per two games during a stay with Arsenal, and provokes fear in international keepers.

Germany has been coasting right along, out-pacing its last two WC qualification foes by a 12-1 combined result and besting England 1-0 in a recent friendly. But matches in 2016 told a far different tale. Nationalelf struggled to wiggle past the likes of Poland and Northern Ireland at Euro 2016, and were walloped convincingly by France in the final. Revitalized veteran strikers like Mesut Özil and André Schürrle have been crucial in turning things around, leading a program in transition after several retirements following the Rio 2014 triumph.

Ronaldo continues to dominate Portuguese headlines, but a coaching change has been key to the reigning Euro Cup champions’ success. After a humiliating 0-1 loss to Albania in 2014, Santos arrived and began whipping the roster into better shape around Rocket. The curve hit a high mark against France in the Euro final, with Ronaldo winning the Silver Boot.

But Portugal’s impending match with Latvia does pose issues for the futures bettor. If the favorites win, they will reach Kazan Arena feeling confident. But a loss or draw result would mean a national side under duress and public pressure.

 As simple as A and B

MSB recommends two group-winner futures bets at the 2017 Continental Cup.

In Group A, Mexico (+250 group winner odds) may lack the depth to contend everywhere all the time, but is a tough squad to beat in the clutch. El Tri is unbeaten in World Cup qualifying since 2014. A qualification match against the sagging United States lies ahead on June 11th as a potential confidence-builder.

Mexico was embarrassed by Chile in 2016’s Copa America, but the Chileans are in Group B.

Group B will come down to goalkeeping and defence. The Chileans have talent to spare, but coach Pizzi missed the mark against the likes of Ireland and Croatia this winter, and the squad showed they no longer have the pure speed and striking to overcome any lapse in teamwork.

Meanwhile, the Germans have allowed exactly one goal since – gulp – summer 2016, and boast record-setting Manuel Neuer as starting keeper and captain. The back-end edge plus comparable group odds (currently (+120) vs (+135) for Chile) make the Germans a value wager to win Group B while advancing to the medal round.

Not speaking Portuguese

You can forget Santos saying that Portugal doesn’t care about the Confederations Cup. But don’t forget how his proud team is now anxious about a match with Latvia, after losing to Switzerland and Sweden in the past 9 months.

Wager instead on Germany’s defending or Mexico’s momentum – or both, so you can celebrate the medal round no matter who finally claims gold in Russia.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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