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FIFA World Cup: Group B Futures Odds and Betting Preview

Africa(1 team) @ Eurasia(3 teams)

  • Where: Krestovsky Stadium, Various. St. Petersburg, Various
  • When: June 15, 2018 11:00 am EST
  • Moneyline: Spain (-200), Portugal (+185), Morocco (+1600), Iran (+2500)

As referenced in our FIFA World Cup Group A preview, the dilemma of round-robin futures betting is that the best side may be content to finish in 2nd place in some circumstances.

That’s not going to be a problem when it comes to Group B.

For Spain and Portugal, it is a dream draw indeed – passage to the knockout round if only wins against Morocco and Iran can be achieved. The bettor can look to the match between the 2 great soccer nations and place her wager based on a prediction of that 90+ minute meeting.

There is no danger of Portugal or Spain resting injured stalwarts or parrying for position when the pair meet, because the match is 1st on the Group B schedule. No one wants to be the first loser in a group.

It’s likely that the favourites will qualify for the next stage no matter what. But first, a potential instant-classic will take place between Renaldo’s A Seleção das Quinas and David Silva’s Red Fury. Barring a major surprise, the victorious side will then go on to qualify in 1st position.

Portugal’s (+185) odds portend a much better payoff on a winning slip. But is Spain (-200) as prohibitive a favorite on the pitch as on the betting board?

Group B preview: Spain (-200 at Bovada Sportsbook)

Spain did not qualify for the knockout stage last time out, falling to the Netherlands 5-1 in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. Given that the country had reached the pinnacle in 2010 and followed-up with a triumph at Euro Cup in ’12, it was a stunning fall from grace. Yet the Spaniards are minus-odds favorites to defeat their first 3 opponents this time ’round.

That could be due to the level of competition. Portugal is a worthy contender, but Iran and Morocco offer 2 gifts to a world-class side. Perhaps a part of odds-makers’ reasoning in placing such prohibitive odds on Spain to win Group B is that if anyone slips against one of the long-shots, it should be the Portugese.

Or maybe it’s because Spain’s talent is so epic from top to bottom. This will be the final World Cup opportunity for so many legendary Spanish cappers like Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique. Andres Iniesta is 34 years old, still controlling the midfield with grace.

Striking is a concern, and the side could grow tired in Russia. But Portugal, the key opponent in the group stage, is up first. Still a dodgy wager at low-payoff odds, since anything can happen in the maiden matches.

Portugal (+185)

Click here to wager on Portugal to win Group B at the FIFA World Cup and get a sign-up reward from Bovada Sportsbook.

The Navigators are MSB’s recommended pick for Group B, based on our #1 rule of betting matches or futures. If 2 teams are similar and at least somewhat evenly-matched, but their odds are crazy-different, put money on the underdog.

Nobody can actually predict a sporting event’s precise outcome. But each side has a certain % chance to win. Sometimes, the betting odds don’t reflect the law of probability.

Portugal has some disadvantages facing Spain. Backliners like Raphaël Guerreiro do not have the ability or experience of Ramos in his darkest hour. Portugal defender Luís Neto scored an own-goal during a Confederations Cup match against Mexico in 2017.

But the side has some advantages too, namely a capable and confident group of strikers. Ronaldo is a better striker than any of the Spanish forwards. The legendary captain scored 15 goals in qualifying and may finally find his form in the World Cup. Andre Silva is an exciting young star at forward, and William Carvalho is capable of joining the attack with dashes from midfield.

What if Spain-Portugal is evenly contested, with Spain getting the better of possession and scoring a beauty in the first 45:00, while Ronaldo makes a run and scores in the second? That makes 1-1. It doesn’t feel like a favourite vs underdog type of scenario. The Portuguese won the 2016 Euro Cup. They can win Group B.

Portugal is the wager at nearly 2/1 odds.

Potential sleepers: Iran and Morocco

Mobile Sports Betting means absolutely no disrespect to the Atlas Lions or the Princes of Persia, who have each played very well to get to this point. Morocco is an interesting side with Juventus backliner Medhi Benatia holding down the fort for strikers like Khalid Boutaib. Iran is managed by old Team Portugal hand Carlos Queiroz, and has enjoyed great goalkeeping from Alireza Haghighi and Alireza Beiranvand. At the 2014 World Cup, Iran held a clean sheet for 91 minutes against Messi and Argentina.

But even at 15-to-1 or 25-to-1 payout odds, either steep underdog is a tosh wager. Remember, it’s not a pick-to-advance. It’s a pick to place 1st, and Iran or Morocco would likely need 2 victories or a win and a draw against Spain and Portugal to finish atop Group B. A big upset is conceivable. More? Not likely.

When the book does offer a proposition on Morocco or Iran advancing at double digit-to-1 odds, why not? Again, the group-winner futures bet is taboo because 2 major upsets and a whole lot of chaos would have to be involved.

Always wager on the simplest possible outcomes in any round-robin.

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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