World Cup 2018: Group breakdowns with teams' odds, predictions to advance

World Cup 2018 (Getty Images)

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will kick off in Russia on June 14 with 32 teams vying for international soccer supremacy, and the chance to life that famous golden trophy on July 15, the day of the final.

Before the competition gets boiled down to two final squads, every qualified team has three games to prove it deserve to be in the Round of 16 knockout stage. The teams with the highest amount of matchpoints in each group move on.

AccuScore simulations have hit their target remarkably well in the past, and there are once again some disagreements with the current markets. With AccuScore’s simulation engine, we are able to determine things like each team’s odds of winning its group, qualifying for the knockout stage and who will be the top scorers of each group.

World Cup Group Stage: Odds, predictions, picks to advance

AccuScore’s Group A predictions:

Group A MP Win% Qual% Odds to win Odds to qualify
Uruguay 7.4 81.7 96.0 -126 -556
Russia 4.2 11.5 56.0 +190 -257
Egypt 3.4 5.6 35.2 +565 +160
Saudi Arabia 1.9 1.2 12.8 +3700 +720

Group A opens the tournament as hosts Russia play against Saudi Arabia on Thursday 14th. The group seems rather clear in AccuScore simulations. Uruguay is the most likely winner, with the Russians well behind, although possibly fighting for a draw against the Uruguayans. Egypt is pushing for the qualification spot, led by Mohamed Salah, but other than beating Saudi Arabia they’re likely to fall short. Russia and Egypt are likely to decide the second place in their head-to-head match, while Uruguay should win the group comfortably.

Top scorers in Group A:
Edinson Cavani, Uruguay: 2.4
Mohamed Salah, Egypt: 2.2
Luis Suarez, Uruguay: 2.1
Fedor Smolov, Russia: 1.2
Fahad Al-Muwallad, Saudi Arabia: 0.9

AccuScore’s Group B predictions:

Group B MP Win% Qual% Odds to win Odds to qualify
Spain 6.6 62.8 89.8 -200 -1633
Portugal 5.3 29.1 74.2 +195 -435
Iran 3.3 6.9 28.6 +3000 +600
Morocco 1.6 1.2 7.5 +1450 +335

Group B is pre-set for the two top clubs Spain and Portugal. They’re likely to settle the top spot in their head-to-head matchup. In simulations Iran is likely to surprise Morocco and can also cause some problems to the favorites. Portugal might struggle a bit to break through Iran’s stalwart and disciplined defense and only manage a draw. Morocco on the other hand is much more likely to play attacking football, making their defense easier for the more skillful teams to exploit. However, it would be a massive shock if it was some other team making it through than Spain and Portugal.

Top scorers in Group B:
Christiano Ronaldo, Portugal: 3.5
Sardad Azmoun, Iran: 1.9
Iago Aspas, Spain: 1.9
Diego Costa, Spain: 1.4
Hakim Ziyech, Morocco: 1.0 

AccuScore’s Group C predictions:

Group C MP Win% Qual% Odds to win Odds to qualify
France 6.9 62.8 92.6 -345 -2700
Denmark 4.4 15.4 57.0 +450 -149
Peru 3.9 10.3 42.1 +1100 +180
Australia 1.5 1.1 8.2 +2400 +445

France is heavy favorite to win the group, but Denmark and Peru are giving their all to cause another disappointment for Didier Deschamps’ squad. The favorites might drop points in a draw against Denmark or Peru, but are still number one in the group. Australia is the odd man out and even snatching a point with them would be an achievement. Most intriguing battle will be between Denmark and Peru, who are quite evenly matched in the hunt for the second qualifying spot in the group – and are also most likely to play an all even draw.

Top scorers in Group C:
Antoine Griezmann, France: 2.2
Kylian Mbappe, France: 1.7
Paolo Guerrero, Peru: 1.1
Christian Eriksen, Denmark: 1.1
Mathew Leckie, Australia: 0.7

AccuScore’s Group D predictions: 

Group D MP Win% Qual% Odds to win Odds to qualify
Argentina 6.7 76.5 92.9 -167 -625
Croatia 3.4 8.8 38.7 +225 -213
Nigeria 3.4 8.7 38.6 +900 +194
Iceland 2.9 6.0 29.7 +1000 +264

Group D is expected to be one of the more interesting ones. Even with Argentina clear favorites to top the group, the other three teams are quite evenly matched and have a great chance to pull an upset. Stealing a point from Argentina through a draw is a possibility to any of the challengers and then it’s up to the head-to-head games to decide who’ll qualify. Croatia and Nigeria come second with almost the same likelihood, while Iceland is not too far behind – if they get similar flow going as in Euro 2016, there could be some interesting developments in Group D.

Top scorers in Group D:
Lionel Messi, Argentina: 1.8
Sergio Agüero, Argentina: 1.7
Paulo Dybala, Argentina: 1.4
Andrej Kramaric, Croatia: 0.9
Alfred Finnbogason, Iceland: 0.8

Check back soon for AccuScore’s probabilties and predictions for Groups E-H.