Is Belgium a Legitimate World Cup Contender?

Is Belgium a Legitimate World Cup Contender? article feature image

The Odds

  • To Win The World Cup: +1100
  • To Win Group G: -125
  • To Advance to Round of 16: -1200

Bet to Watch

Belgium to reach semifinal: +220

Belgium enters the 2018 World Cup with lofty expectations and looking to finally prove their haters wrong at an international tournament. They’ve got a fortunate group draw with the likes of Panama, Tunisia and England, and shouldn’t have any trouble advancing to the Round of 16. Oddsmakers give them a 92.3% chance (-1200 odds) to make it out of Group G and 55.6% chance (-125) to win Group G.

Belgium have an abundance of talent at every position, but sometimes that tends to cause rifts. When manager Roberto Martinez left midfielder Radja Nainggolan off the World Cup roster, many questioned his reasoning and whether it was a personal vendetta against the player. Another small concern is the health of central defender Vincent Kompany (groin), who made the preliminary roster but could be replaced leading up to the match. Nonetheless, they’ve got plenty of depth at forward, midfield, defense and goalie.

Group G is expected to be the highest-scoring group, mostly due to the lopsided matchups that both Belgium and England have over Panama and Tunisia. Belgium is a -531 favorite against Panama in the opening game and -313 against Tunisia in the second match, so blowouts are anticipated. By the time Belgium plays England in the final group match, both teams may have already qualified for the Round of 16. Therefore, I don’t see much value betting Belgium in the group stage unless you want to lay -1200. No thanks.

The real test for Belgium is how far they’ll progress beyond the group. They’re expected to reach the quarterfinal at -175 odds as they’ll surely be favorites against their Group H opponent in the Round of 16. I bet them a few months ago to win the World Cup at +1400 odds but I’m not entirely convinced they can beat three or four great teams consecutively. Instead of going all-in, the best value is for Belgium to reach the semifinal at +220 odds.

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