Thu, Jun 14, 11:47am by Staff Writer
The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins in Moscow on Friday morning. After a 30 minute opening ceremony which will feature Robbie Williams and Ronaldo, the competition begins.
As is tradition, hosts Russia will begin the tournament, with a match against group A opponent Saudi Arabia.
The hosts are $1.44 favourites at Sportsbet, with the Middle Eastern nation huge $9.50 outsiders. The draw is paying $4.
Neither of these teams are set to dazzle this World Cup, with Russia the lowest ranked team in the competition and Saudi Arabia the second lowest ranked team.
Russia has not won a match since October 2017 and were disappointing in a recent friendly against Turkey. Saudi Arabia have won none of their past 10 games at the World Cup, losing eight of them. We are predicting them to get a point and draw this match against. Russia and Saudi Arabia to draw at $4 at Sportsbet.
Uruguay are favourites to top group A and should have no trouble beating Uruguay as $1.57 favourites on Friday night.
The Pharaohs are $7 underdogs and may be without star player Mo Salah for this match, as he recovers from a shoulder injury. This is Egypt’s first World Cup since 1990, whereas Uruguay have twice hosted the tournament and have the superstar players to reach the knockout rounds.
These two teams have met once before, back in 2014 where Uruguay won 2-0 and we are expecting a similar result. Take Uruguay to win to nil at $2.10 at Sportsbet.
Spain and Portugal’s match is one of the standout fixtures of the group stage, as the two collide on Saturday morning.
Spain are $2 favourites at Sportsbet, with their near neighbours $4 outsiders. The draw is paying $3.20
The Spanish team have been thrown in turmoil on the eve of the Cup, with coach Julen Lopetegui being sensationally sacked, 24 hours after accepting a role with Real Madrid. After failing to notify the Spanish FA of his appointment, they were given no choice but to relieve him of his duties.
The impact this will have on the squad remains to be seen, but Spain possess a team full of professionals and we expect them to get the job done nonetheless and priced at $2, are a solid bet.
Morocco and Iran are both outsiders to progress through group B, but if either are to stand a chance, they would need to take three points from this fixture.
Morocco were unsuccessful in their bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, but enter this match as $2.25 favourites, with Iran paying $3.75. The draw is $2.88.
Iran have suffered recently losses to Turkey and Tunisia, and they failed to beat Syria on home soil nine months ago. Morocco have a talented crop of players, with a host of players from Europe’s top leagues.
Morocco should sneak past Iran in this one and win at $2.25
FIFA World Cup Friday and Saturday Odds – Sportsbet
Russia $1.44 Draw $4 Saudi Arabia $10
Egypt $7 Draw $3.60 Uruguay $1.57
Morocco $2.25 Draw $2.88 Iran $3.75
Portugal $4 Draw $3.20 Spain $2
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