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FIFA World Cup 2018: Group C Betting Preview and Prediction

Northern Hemisphere(2 teams) @ Southern Hemisphere(2 teams)

  • Where: Kazan Arena, Various. Kazan, Various
  • When: June 16, 2018 6:00 am EST
  • Moneyline: France (-350), Denmark (+450), Peru (+900), Australia (+1800)

In MSB’s World Cup Group B preview, we discuss how the draw of Spain, Portugal and 2 much less-attractive sides creates a single match-pick scenario, thus simplifying a futures bet on the group winner.

Group C is a different animal. France is the heavy favourite, given better than 3 chances in 4 to finish 1st in a round robin which includes Denmark, Peru and Australia. In case that’s not enough of a hint at just how much handicappers like Les Bleus, odds on the French side advancing (with a 1st or 2nd place group result) are set at (-2500) at Bovada Sportsbook.

France has historically struggled in opening matches at the World Cup. The fixtures set up well enough that a 3-0-0 start could be possible. Australia, the group’s longest long-shot, will face the French on 6/16. Odds-makers are obsessed with historical trends, but that isn’t reflected in the futures lines this time.

A bet in which 350 pounds or dollars must be wagered in order to get 100 on the winner is always tricky. Let’s look at the 4 countries and see if the French are really as much of a lock as books make them out to be.

Singing the World Cup Bleus

It’s not as if the World Cup has been all that triumphant for France since hosting in 2006, which counts as the last time Les Bleus reached the gold medal fixture. In 2010, the proud football nation finished 29th of 32 in a disastrous effort.

Brazil in 2014 was a more-respectable showing, but the squad was unlucky to face Germany in the quarterfinals and lost 1-0.

There is ample talent and experience for Didier Deschamps to work with. Diminutive forward Antoine Griezmann is at the top of his form, scoring 19 goals in 30 apps for Atletico Madrid. Kylian Mbappe could be mature enough for a breakout WC performance in Russia. Hugo Lloris is kept 15 clean sheets in club matches last season at age 30, and helped France go 3 straight FIFA qualifying fixtures without a goal-against in 2017.

But the French are slow starters. There is no doubt about it. Deschamps’ squad opened qualifying with a 0-0 draw against Belarus and lost to Sweden a few matches later. Soon, they were dominating the Netherlands while whipping England and tying Germany in friendlies.

At (-350) odds, it can feel anxious gambling on an inconsistent side to win 3 matches in a row. But suppose the French finish the group stage at 2-1-0 or 2-0-1. Who would surpass them?

Group C underdogs: Danes, Peruvians and Roos

Successful betting means taking advice from Albert Einstein and putting imagination in front of knowledge. Before a long-shot bet is placed on an alternate Group C winner, one must forsee how it could happen.

It would be a miracle if a country out-played France. What a side can hope for instead is to get a bit lucky in upsetting Les Bleus and then take advantage of 2 weaker opponents.

If the 3 underdogs are close to evenly-matched, then punters should not consider a long-odds wager, because a squad like Peru could have trouble with Australia and Denmark even if they happen to upset the French. Meanwhile, if the favourites play well, they can breeze past those same countries.

To finish ahead of France means going unbeaten in 3 fixtures. Who could bite the butcher?

Denmark feels like a candidate. French skipper Deschamps knows just how dangerous the Danish program is – the side reached the quarterfinals at the WC in France in 1998 (an event which France won). Midfielder Christian Eriksen of Tottenham leads a unit that will include Pione Sisto and Yussef Poulsen at forward and the sensational 22-year-old centre back Andreas Christensen of Chelsea.

However, Christensen showed his young age by collapsing with fatigue in April. There’s also danger in underestimating Peru, a tough program which endured CONMEBOL qualifying to get to the World Cup. Paolo Guerrero tested positive for recreational drug use and will miss the event in Russia, which should eliminate any hope of a top finish in Group C. But The Incas could spoil a match for more-talented opponents.

Finally, there’s fan-favourite Australia. The Roos would be lauded for a historic upset if they beat France on June 16th. If it happens, it won’t be thanks to an overwhelming attack. Tim Cahill can no longer consistently out-run world class defence, and tumult in the skipper’s chair has handicappers skeptical. However, it bears mentioning that the Aussies have now qualified for 4 FIFA World Cups in a row.

World Cup: Group C futures bet recommendation

Click this link to bet on France to win Group C of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and get a sign-up bonus from Bovada Sportsbook.

Ironically, it’s the scrappy strength of the 3 long-shots which creates safety in a wager on the French. If there was a single, shiny underdog not led by a knackered lad like Eriksen, with pair of awful squads tagging along, then a long-odds bet on an upset Group C finish would be tenable. That’s not the scenario.

There are too many pitfalls. Denmark could beat France in extra minutes, then fall to Peru and draw with the Roos. Australia could somehow draw with Les Bleus on the 1st day, then lose to everyone else. Peru won’t be able to tally enough goals to finish unbeaten in group play.

Therefore, the best bet is a short-odds wager on France at (-350) to finish atop Group C.

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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