The biggest single-sport spectacle, the FIFA World Cup features 32 Nations competing over a month to claim soccer supremacy over the rest of the world. The event draws in billions of viewers, as people from all over the globe tune in to watch the best players compete for soccer immortality. Betting on the FIFA World Cup is also a big game. With plenty of lines, point spread, futures and specials, wagering on the tournament starts early and offers a near-endless amount of wagering possibilities.
Best World Cup 2018 Odds & Lines
With 32 Nations competing through June into July, there are 64 matches to wager starting with the Group Stage and ending with the Finals in July. Sportsbooks odds and lines for matches are typically available shortly after each Nation’s previous game concludes. In rare occasions, mainly due to player injuries, odds and line may see a delay in publication.
World Cup 2018 Standings
In the 2018 World Cup, there are eight groups each with four nations. Each team plays each other once, with the top two Nations advancing on in the tournament. Wins count for three points, draws a single point and losses are worth zero. In the event two Nations are tied at the end of the Group Stage, the first tiebreaker is goal differential followed by goals scored.
World Cup Odds Sportsbooks Lines Explained
As one of the largest sporting events in the world, the FIFA World Cup offers a great variety of odds and betting options. Betting on game winners, goal totals or the tournament champion is just a few of the options available to Canadians through our top-rated online sportsbooks.
World Cup Moneylines
The most common betting options on matches in the World Cup of soccer are moneylines. Moneylines simply entail picking which Nation will win the match. The favourite is a safer wager, but offers a smaller payout, while underdogs provide bigger winnings but are a riskier bet.
In the early stages of the tournament, there is a much greater range of moneylines available. Parlaying large favourites is a common betting tactic to increase potential winnings in the early stages of the World Cup. As the tournament progresses and the quality of competition increases, the lines tighten and wagering on a favourite offers a greater payout.
World Cup Pointspreads
Point spreads are another popular betting option available on World Cup matches. Instead of picking a straight up winner, a point spread (most commonly 1.5) is set. Either a wager is placed on the favourite to win by more goals than the point spread or on an underdog covering the spread by either losing by less than the spread or winning the game. Point spreads are at their most attractive in the early stages of the tournament when moneylines on favourites offer low payouts.
World Cup Totals
Totals are lines set out by sportsbooks on the total number of goals in a match. For example, if the total is set at 3.5, to win any over wager, the game would need at least four goals. Whether one Nation wins 4-0 or the game ends in a 2-2 draw, how the goals are scored does not matter as long as the total is more than line set out by the sportsbook. To win an under wager, the game total would need to finish at three goals or less. Totals reflect the quality and style of each team. Most goal totals open at 2.5 but can vary especially during the early stages of the tournament.
World Cup Futures
Futures are bets placed before or during the tournament on the outcome of the tournament or on what teams will win specific groups. For example, Germany is the favourite to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup at +386 (odds subject to change). Wagering $100 on Germany to win nets a profit of $386. Betting on the favourites is the most common futures betting strategy.
However, placing smaller wagers on multiple underdogs is another strategy to consider. For example, a $10 wager on Panama payouts $11110. Placing ten bets of $10 on Nations with +1001 odds or more will net a profit if any manage to win the FIFA World Cup.
World Cup Specials
Specials are lines and odds specifically made for an event. Some World Cup specials include picking where a certain Nation will finish in the tournament. For example, wagering $100 on Australia to make the quarterfinals and lose nets a profit of $1600. Other specials include which group will score the most goals or how many red cards will there be over the entire tournament.
Specials can also include bets outside of the outcome of a match or what transpires throughout the FIFA World Cup. One popular early special involves wagering on whether a particular player will make their country’s World Cup squad. The Finas may also see a bevvy of unique specials.
How To Bet On The World Cup
Group Stage Betting
The first part of the FIFA World Cup is the Group Stage. This portion of the tournament sees 32 countries divided into eight groups, with each group competing in a round-robin style competition to advance on to the knockout stages. The best sportsbook odds for the World Cup Group Stage are available on this page, with links to the best online sportsbook for Canadians to wager on Group Stage games in the FIFA World Cup.
As the majority of the games in the World Cup take place during the Group Stage, finding the best World Cup sportsbook odds before the tournament begins is imperative to a successful World Cup betting experience. Our top-rated partners offer excellent soccer sportsbook for Canadians with many offering signup bonuses to new users.
Every World Cup the Group Stage begins with the host nation playing the first game on the first day. Including the first match (which at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14), 48 of the 64 games in the World Cup take place in this stage (which lasts just over two weeks). Excluding the first day when only the host plays, every day through the Group Stage has either three or four games scheduled.
The Group Stage of the World Cup is when the bettors will see the biggest underdogs and most variety in betting odds and lines. Take the 2018 FIFA World Cup game between Belgium and Panama. Belgium is one of the heaviest favourite going into their first game of the tournament, seeing many moneylines opening around -600.
Panama is a considerable underdog, opening at +2500 on many soccer sportsbooks to win their first World Cup game ever (as they failed to qualify for every previous World Cup). Lines of this size are much more frequent in the Group Stage than any other part of the tournament. There are two betting strategies to consider on lines this wide apart.
The first strategy is wagering on the point spread. The Group Stage is the time where point spread (or Asian handicaps) wagers are at their most popular. The example above is a great time to consider a point spread wager. Wager Belgium on a -1.5 spread changes their odds to around -150. Considering the strength of Belgium and the lack of experience for Panama, wagering them to win by more than one goal is a smart strategy.
The other strategy is to parlay Belgium at -600 with other favourites. Another considerable favourite to win their opening match is France (opening around -450 on many World Cup Sportsbooks to beat Australia). Wagering $100 on Belgium to win, nets a profit of just $16.70. However, parlaying the two odds increases the potential winnings on a $100 wager to $42.61.
While wagering on matches is highly popular during this stage of the tournament, many Canadians (as Canada has not made the World Cup since 1986), turn their attention to specific groups.
Often during the Group Stage, one or two groups draw more attention than the rest. These Groups are often viewed as the most competitive or where any Nation has a chance at winning the Group.
In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the most intriguing groups entering the Tournament are Group C, Group D and Group F. These are some of the more competitive groups with soccer sportsbooks offering better odds on these games. Of course, predicting the winner of these matches is harder.
Along with the games during the Group Stage, futures on group winners and whether a Nation advances are available wagering option on the best World Cup sportsbook.
For example, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Brazil is the largest favourite to win their group opening around -450 on many Canadian sportsbooks. Other Groups are more competitive. Group H has the closest odds, as Columbia (+120) narrowly edges out Poland (+170) for the best odds to win.
Knockout Stage Betting
After the Group Stage ends on June 28 and the 16 teams advancing on finalized, the Knockout Stage of the tournament begins. Running from June 30 to July 15, the Knockout Stage includes 16 matches over four rounds. World Cup sportsbook odds will tighten up during the Second Stage, offering great payouts for correct wagers. Futures are also available throughout the Knockout Stage, adjusting accordingly after each result.
Once the dust settles after the Group Stage, the draw for the Second Stage begins. Lasting just over two weeks, the Second Stage (or Knockout Stage) includes every game from the Round of 16 to the Championship match on July 15, 2018.
Canadian sportsbooks odds and lines are available on games, specials and futures throughout the Second Stage. Historically in the World Cup, the favourites have won the tournament. Upsets do occur during this portion of the tournament. However, no significant underdog has ever won four straight games in the Second Stage to take home the title.
Since games are close, World Cup sportsbook odds are more profitable when correctly wagered. Betting trends during the Second Stage are on the under and the favourite. However, betting overs early and betting ties due to the number of games going to extra-time is a profitable strategy.
The biggest upset at the 2014 World Cup during the Knockout Stage was the Netherlands over Brazil in the Bronze Medal match. World Cup sportsbooks odds on the Netherlands were around +280. In total at 2014 FIFA World Cup, three underdogs won in regulation. However, one thing to note, Germany opened as an underdog against France, but most Canadian sportsbook lines moved quickly when the majority of the early money went heavily on Germany.
There is no one method of picking the best underdogs to wager during the Knockout Stage of the FIFA World Cup. One is to look for favourites coming off big wins. Looking back to 2010, Brazil opened as a heavy favourite over the Netherlands after beating Chile 3-0 in the Round of 16. The Netherlands, at +300 or more on many World Cup sportsbooks, pulled off the biggest upset of the Knockout Stage, beating Brazil 2-1. While finding the best underdogs is a profitable betting strategy, there is a better way to win money during the Knockout Stage.
Games during the Second Stage are often closer than the Group Stage. Take the 2014 FIFA World Cup as an example. Only two of the 16 games during the Second Stage did the winner win the match by more than two goals. Extra-time is common as well. Half of the Second Stage games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup had their result decided either by an overtime goal or in penalty kicks. Every match at the 2014 FIFA World Cup that ended in a tie had odds between +210 and +465.
Only twice in the Second Stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup did a country score over two goals in a match. If the standard goal total on a World Cup game is 2.5, then the under hit 56.3% of the time. Soccer sportsbook lines are set according to the style and strengths of teams playing, but there is less variation in game totals during the Second Stage. A more risk adverse bettor may opt to wager on alternative totals. Using 3.0 goals as the new standard would have paid out or resulted in a push in 15 of 16 games in 2014.
Futures are available throughout the Second Stage of the World Cup but continually adjust after each match. Germany opens the 2018 FIFA World Cup, opening around +385 on many Canadian sportsbooks. If they make the Second Stage, their odds of winning the World Cup will change to between +250 and +300, depending on the draw.
World Cup Outright Betting
As the table is set for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, odds to win the tournament are available on the best soccer sportsbooks available to Canadians. Atop the 2018 FIFA World Cup odds is a quintet of traditional soccer powerhouses. This page offers World Cup betting tips, 2018 World Cup predictions and links to the top-rated World Cup sportsbooks, helping Canadians prepare for the tournament and make the smartest bets that reflect their sports betting style.
Best Sportsbooks Odds To Win The World Cup 2018
*Odds as of April 19, 2018. Please note odds are subject to change. *Odds above source: Sports Interaction
With the countries set, the groups determined and the draw laid out, the odds to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup is ready to wager. Historically, one of the favourites has won the majority of the World Cup. Therefore, finding the best favourite (or two depending on the odds) to wager is the first step towards a profitable World Cup betting experience.
The best sportsbook odds to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup belong to Germany. Germany won the 2014 World Cup, and have finished no lower than third place in the last four World Cups. Germany enters the World Cup as the top team in the FIFA rankings. Since FIFA started their ranking system in 1993, Germany ranked in the top-five, 18 out of 25 years.
While they lack the star power of a Spain or Argentina, they are very well managed, very deep and skilled in every aspect of the game. Picking Germany to win the FIFA World Cup in 2018 is a smart bet, but they are not the only option to consider.
Although Germany is a great team, other Nations have a good chance at winning in the 2018 World Cup. One of the best Nations to bet is the team Germany beat to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Argentina is consistently one of the best soccer countries in the world. With Lionel Messi leading the charge, Argentina is a fierce competitor with skill at all position.
The largest drawback for Argentina is some sloppy play leading into the World Cup. Despite friendlies not counting for anything, Argentina losing 6-1 to Spain at the end of March may not be the sign bettors were hoping for approaching the tournament. Messi did not play in that game but should be healthy for the World Cup.
Speaking of Spain (+687 to win the 2018 World Cup), they are also a team to consider picking to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Since Julen Lopetegui took over, after Spain lost early in the 2016 Euro Cup, the squad is unbeaten in 18 games. Spain may have the best offensive attack in the tournament this year and still have key players from their 2010 World Cup winning squad.
All three nations above are great bets to win the 2018 World Cup. It is also possible to wager $100 on each and still make a profit if any of the three countries win the World Cup. Along with the favourites, a few underdogs have a chance in 2018.
When looking at the history of the World Cup, it is difficult to pinpoint any real underdog winning the tournament. While underdogs often pull off upsets in matches, there has never been a big underdog to win the World Cup. Some fans may argue Uruguay in 1950. However, that World Cup ended with a four-team round-robin instead of the traditional knockout stages.
This year the best underdog to wager is Belgium at +1100. While +1100 is barely an underdog in futures lines, they are the best Nation outside the top-five. Belgium moved up to third in the FIFA rankings after the latest round of friendlies in March.
Belgium also finished tied for the second-best record in the UEFA World Cup qualifications, finishing only two points behind Germany. Their +37 goal differential (over ten matches) was also one place behind the German squad for tops in European qualifying. Belgium’s sixth-place finish in 2014 is its best finish at the World Cup since 1986.
Other underdogs to consider wagering include Portugal and Columbia. Led by Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal won the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and should make it out of the Group Stage in 2018. Columbia may not be as talented as Portugal or Belgium. However, their draw is relatively weak, setting them up for an easier path to Finals once the Knockout Stage commences.
FIFA World Cup Futures Odds Explained
Like most sporting events, futures are wagers on the overall winner of an event, not a single game. The best Canadian Sportsbooks offer futures on the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, plus other futures such as group winners and how far a country will advance in the tournament.
Multiple factors determine futures odds. The quality of the squad, the Nation’s history in the tournament and the strength of their group all go into setting these odds. While there is some turnover in this World Cup (such as no Italian or American team), the favourites to win the World Cup (and other international competitions) seem relatively consistent.
Futures are available for betting well before many leagues or competitions begin and often remain a betting option throughout the tournament. As teams play more games, the odds shift, and over time specific futures/lines will disappear.
Take Group G at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as an example. Panama begins their tournament with a game against Belgium followed by England. If Panama losses both games and England and Belgium win their other match, Panama would officially be eliminated from the Knockout Stage. Betting on futures for Panama to win the 2018 World Cup would no longer be possible, despite Panama still playing one final game in their group against Tunisia.
As the field shrinks so do the odds to win the World Cup. When the World Cup transitions from the Group Stage to the Knockout Stage and 16 Nations are eliminated from play, the odds shift as there are fewer potential winners, but the level of competition is more significant.
There are different strategies to take when betting FIFA World Cup futures on soccer sportsbooks. As the largest favourite is Germany at +385, multiple futures bets is a viable option. For example, betting $100 on Germany at +365, $100 on Argentina at +800 and $100 on Portugal at +2400 would guarantee a minimum profit of $185.
Another futures betting strategy is to take a wait and see approach. As futures are available on soccer sportsbooks before and during the FIFA World Cup, waiting to see some game action than betting on futures is a viable option. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the eventual winner Germany opened their tournament with a big 4-0 win over Ghana. Although it was just a single match, such a performance can increase a bettor’s confidence and help them choose a single favourite.
The underdog approach is also popular in futures bets. However, it has not proved profitable in the World Cup yet. The first step of this strategy is to define an underdog. Usually any line greater than +1000 works in this strategy. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup 27 Nations, starting with Belgium at +1100 are options available for betting in the underdog strategy.
To use this betting approach, simply pick up to ten underdogs and place an even wager on each. If any of the ten Nations win the World Cup, the bettor sees a profit. Over the last eight World Cups, only once any team qualified as an underdog won the tournament. That was Italy at +1000 in 2006. Now depending on the World Cup sportsbook, that line may have opened higher or lower. However, that is the best example in recent history of an underdog winning the World Cup.