Thu, May 24, 12:27pm by Staff Writer
Group B of the 2018 FIFA World Cup features perennial contenders Spain, as well as their near neighbours Portugal and Morocco. The group is rounded out by Iran from the Asian confederation.
Spain are among the favourites to lift the trophy in Russia, priced as $6.50 in the outright market at Sportsbet behind Germany and Brazil both at $5.50.
The Spanish team is incredibly strong and was named on Monday. One notable omission is Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata who was left out of the squad that includes Manchester United’s David De Gea, as well as Diego Costa, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique.
Their team is comprised of superstars from Europe’s top leagues, with many playing in the Spanish LaLiga for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Spain is $3.50 to make the final, second only to Germany who are priced at $3.40.
Their passage through group B appears a formality and they are $1.05 to progress to the knockout stages.
Spain are $1.53 to top the group, with their nearest rivals also being their nearest geographical neighbours in Portugal.
Portugal is $2.80 to top Group B and enter the competition as current European champions.
The Portuguese side featured in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia and will be more familiar than most with some of the new stadia in Russia. They finished third in that tournament.
Their team is once again anchored by Cristiano Ronaldo who will play in the Champions League final against Liverpool this weekend.
Other players to watch in this team include Bernardo Silva from Manchester City and Joao Moutinho from Monaco.
The most important game for Portugal in this group is their first match against Spain, with Spain favourites at $1.80. Portugal is paying $4.20 to upset their rivals and the draw is $3.30.
Morocco qualified for Russia after topping the third round Group C qualification in the African confederation.
This is their first World Cup since 1998 and their fifth in total. They have never progressed past the round of 16 and they are unlikely to do so in Russia.
Morocco open their campaign against Iran before facing Portugal and then finally Spain.
The Moroccan squad contains a mix of players competing in most of the top European leagues. Mehdi Benatia from Juventus and Younes Belhanda from Galatasaray are two of the most prominent players in the squad.
Club footballers from Schalke, Ajax, Feyenoord and Wolverhampton among others showcase the diversity in this squad.
Morocco is $4.20 to qualify for the knockout stages and $15 to top the group, which is very unlikely.
They are priced at $326 to win the World Cup.
Iran is the biggest outsiders in group B, priced at $501 to win the competition.
They are one of the biggest outsiders in the entire World Cup, despite topping the second round of Asian qualification.
This is their fifth World Cup and their second consecutive after qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Iran conceded just five goals in 18 qualification matches, but their defensive style will be tested by Spain and Portugal in group B.
Their squad features a host of players from Middle Eastern leagues, with a handful playing in the lower European leagues.
Iran are $7 to qualify from group B and their best chance of getting a result is in their first game against Morocco.
Our best bet in Group B is for Portugal to finish runners up at $2.10
Group B Winner
To qualify from Group B
Portugal $4.20 Draw $3.30 Spain $1.80
Morocco $2.25 Draw $2.88 Iran $3.30
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