2018 World Cup: Group C Betting Guide
On paper, Group C of the 2018 World Cup seems to be settled. France and Denmark are the clear favorites to advance. The teams could be playing for the top spot in the group on June 26th after having qualified for the next phase of competition.
Peru beat out New Zealand in a playoff to make it to the World Cup before being drawn into Group C. Australia beat Honduras in a playoff to clinch their spot in Russia. Both teams will be looking at tough contests in the group with their fate possibly sealed by the end of the day on June 21st.
Let's get to it.
Australia to finish bottom (4/5): By the time the two playoff winners face off, their World Cup hopes may be over. It will also be a chance for either nation to take something from the competition, but Australia has only an 18.82% chance of beating Peru in regulation, per our models. Tim Cahill is still on the squad, but at 38 years of age, he may not be able to produce any moments of magic. The Socceroos do not have a defined system and no major star. They finished behind Saudi Arabia in qualifying and took extra time to get past Syria. Australia had one of the least impressive qualifying stints to make it to Russia, so their chances of pulling an upset and getting third in the group are minimal.
Denmark is the runner up (11/10): There are a few teams that have been buoyed by one superstar, and Denmark could be placed in that category. Although they do have other quality players, they are led by Christian Eriksen. He is in prime form in his third World Cup. Eriksen will be supported in attack by Pione Sisto, someone who can create, as well. They also have a solid defense, and Kasper Schmeichel is good in goal. Our projections give them a 65.49% chance of making it to the knockouts and nearly a 40% chance of finishing second in the group.
Denmark over Peru (Even): This was almost pushed to the riskier bets section since it will likely be Peru's chance to stay alive in the group. Our projections give Denmark nearly a 48% chance of winning in regulation while Peru gets only a 21% chance to do the same. This is Peru's first World Cup since 1982. Renato Tapio will be key to Peru's chances as he will need to shield the back line. However, they will be missing captain Paolo Guerrero after a doping ban, which leaves a huge void in attack. Although the team and nation have rallied around Guerrero, Denmark's improved defense should fend off Peru for the victory.
France to finish third in the World Cup (7/1): This is not specific to the group, but we're talking about giving France a legitimate chance to challenge for the World Cup. The bracket sets up for a potential semifinal match between France and Brazil. Brazil is currently favored in our rankings, and they have a 18.2% implied probability of winning based on the Paddy Power numbers. That is tied for the highest mark with Germany. Our numbers give France a 41.50% chance of reaching the semifinal, which is third-best in the competition. Theirs odds drop to fifth for reaching the final, so the third-place match is the likely ending for France.
Peru beats Australia but both teams score (7/2): Depending on how these teams have done up to this point, this match could mean nothing, so both teams could go for goals with nothing on the line. Peru had only two clean sheets in their qualifying run. Australia held Honduras without a goal in the playoff, but they showed no consistency on defense outside of that. They held Iraq goalless in the very first qualifying match and only had one other shutout (against UAE). Peru have more quality and are younger, and it should show in this match.
France win the World Cup and Antoine Griezmann is the top scorer (33/1): Another not specific to the group, but it's becoming relevant as France pick up momentum as a dark horse. Griezmann has also become one of the top plays as Golden Boot winner. Paddy Power has him at 10/1, behind only Lionel Messi. France also have the fourth-best odds to win it all on Paddy Power with an implied probability of 14.3%. They are our fifth favorite, although at a lower percentage (6.93%). The French have a stacked team around Griezmann with Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, and N'Golo Kante among those who should start. The trouble with France always seems to be their ability to play cohesively, but if they are in form this summer, Griezmann will benefit.