Tournament hosts, Russia, get World Cup 2018 underway on Thursday when they host rank outsiders Saudi Arabia in a Group A clash. We take a look at the game from a betting angle.
GROUP A UPDATE
Russia are priced as second favourites at 37/20 to win Group A with Uruguay the ruling favourites at 7/10. Egypt are 23/4 and Saudi Arabia as big as 38/1 to win the group. Russia are 7/20 to qualify and you can get 15/2 that Saudi Arabia make it to the last 16. – click here for Group A betting.
Russia v Saudi Arabia – click here to bet
Russia qualified for this tournament as hosts and as such have been involved in a number of friendly matches in recent times. Their form hasn’t been great though and they have yet to post a victory in 2018. Their most recent outing was a 1-1 home draw with Turkey last week and that broke a run of 3 successive losses to Austria, France and Brazil. Russia played in the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil but they bowed out of the group stages after 2 draws and a loss.
Saudi Arabia have lost their last 3 matches but they did give a good account of themselves in going down 2-1 to Germany away on Friday night. Saudi Arabia last qualified for a World Cup back in 2006 when they bowed out in the group stages with 1 draw and two losses.
Saudi Arabia 15/2
Suggested bet: Correct score, Russia to win 2-0 at 19/4.
I am making my first play of the World Cup group matches a speculative one as I believe Russia will win the match but expect it to be perhaps a bit tighter than the betting suggests. There will be plenty of nerves on show for the home team and Saudi Arabia showed against Germany that they are perhaps not as bad as everybody expects them to be. A workmanlike home win is the call.
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change