Russia Has World Cup History On Their Side

Russia Has World Cup History On Their Side article feature image

Russia National Team. Pictured: Fyodor Smolov

The Odds

  • To win The World Cup: +4900
  • To win Group A: +180
  • To advance to Round of 16: -350

Bet To Watch

Russia To Win Group A +180

Going into the World Cup there is lots of talk about Russia, the host nation, and how poor they are as a team. I watched a lot of their friendlies, as well last year’s Confederations Cup, and would tend to agree with those people, but there are some things to like about the Sbornaya.

The star of the show for the Russians will likely be Aleksandr Golovin. The 22-year-old is a great talent and already has made 18 appearances for the national team. So much in soccer depends on how the midfielders in the center of the pitch control the game, and Golovin has the ability to excel in that role.

Another thing Russia has going for them is that they are playing in a group with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay — not exactly murderers’ row. Coming into the tournament, many people were picking Egypt and Uruguay to get out of Group A, but that’s all changed with Mo Salah’s injury. Salah is the best player on Egypt by miles and one of the best attackers in the world. Without him, Egypt loses really their only star player and their biggest offensive force in the counter attack.

Russia also has history on their side. Over the last five World Cups, the host country has made the semifinals four times, and five of the six host countries (South Korea and Japan co-hosted in 2002) won their group. Over 18 group-stage games, the tournament’s host has lost only one. The team that lost that game, and failed to advance, was South Africa in 2010 and they were eliminated on goal differential and beat France.

So while everyone else is talking about how bad the Russians are, I think there is actually decent value in Russia winning their group at +180.

More World Cup Betting Coverage