2018 World Cup: Group F Betting Guide

Germany and Mexico are getting the attention in Group F, but Sweden could be the surprise package of the tournament.

The defending champions are the headliner for Group F. Germany will head to Russia looking to defend their title, but a lot has changed in four years.

The group also includes Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea. Mexico breezed through qualifying while the other two had to fight to make it to Russia.

The odds listed here will come from Paddy Power with our stage odds and game simulator as the basis for analysis.

Let's get to it.

Safest Bets

Germany to win the group (3/10): There has been a champion’s curse in recent World Cups, but Germany has enough quality to avoid it. Germany are still among the favorites, but the idea of a repeat does seem a bit far-fetched. The exclusion of Leroy Sane from the final roster has caused a stir this week as well. However, this is about the group and not the final match. They have the fourth-best chance of winning their group by our predictions at 65.54%. We also give Germany a nearly 71% chance of beating Mexico, their biggest group rival, in the head-to-head match. That will go a long way to securing top billing in the group.

South Korea to finish bottom (8/13): The numberFire projections give this nation a less than 10% chance of advancing out of the group. They finished fourth in 2002 but have only finished inside the top 20 two other times. A 0-0 draw against Uzbekistan on the final day of Asian group qualifying moved South Korea through to Russia. Son Heung-min was in fine form for Tottenham, but there is little to support him. Crystal Palace’s Lee Chong-Yong was supposed to be a valuable member of the cast, yet the lack of Premier League playing time ultimately led to his not making the squad.

Germany and Mexico dual forecast to advance (6/5): Sweden have talent, but there is a changing tide with Zlatan Ibrahimovic no longer in the picture. Sweden’s win over Italy in the qualifying playoff was well deserved, though this is their first World Cup since 2006. Sweden will go with youth and relative inexperience with a squad that looks good for four years from now. Meanwhile, Mexico have progressed past the group stage in every World Cup they have taken part in since 1986.

Riskier Bets

Mexico to win the group (9/2): This is called riskier for a reason. Mexico is a good team, and they have better form than Germany. Mexico have allowed no goals in five of their last six matches. Meanwhile, Germany’s only win in their last six matches came against a nation not in the World Cup. Mexico are also optimistic, and Juan Carlos Osorio is confident in his players. Our models give Germany the clear edge, but believing in the champion’s curse is an understandable contrarian play.

Mexico to win versus Sweden with fewer than 1.5 goals total (13/2): This is the last match of group play, and each team could come in with identical records due to a loss to Germany and a win over South Korea. The team with the bigger goal differential will come in with an advantage. As mentioned, the Mexico defense has been great. If they have a greater goal differential, Mexico can rely on defense to stymie the younger Swedish team. There were some injury concerns for the Mexican back line, but it appears that everyone is back to full fitness. Sweden have been shut out twice in their last five matches and only managed one goal in the other three. This bet requires many certain outcomes to come true before June 27th, but this is a good return on an result that is not far-fetched.

Long Shot

Sweden to reach the quarterfinals, Peru to qualify from their group, and Brazil to win the World Cup (100/1): Three-part bets are not the safest, but this sure is fun. The Group E projections have Brazil as a heavy favorite to win the group and tournament. Peru got their captain Paolo Guerrero back. Sweden is the real long shot piece of this. They broke a non-qualifying streak without Zlatan, and they may prefer not to be discussed as a part of this group. They will not be afraid to play a long ball over the top that could frustrate Mexico. Sweden is numberFire's pick for surprise package of the tournament with an almost 30% chance of reaching the quarterfinal. Obviously, they would have to get one step past advancing out of the group, but it's called a long shot for a reason.