Special: 3 World Cup Group Stage Bets to Consider

"World Cup-2018.jpg" (CC BY 2.0) by nhadatvideo

With the 2018 World Cup now upon us, global sporting attention will be fixed on Russia. In the group stage, games come thick and fast, meaning there are opportunities aplenty to have a bet.

But what looks like a value punt for the tournament before a ball is kicked? We've picked out three World Cup group stage bets for you to consider.

Portugal to win Group B

Reigning European champions Portugal have Iberian neighbours Spain to contend with in their pool, alongside Morocco and Iran, but bizarre circumstances surrounding their main rivals on the eve of the tournament could give them an edge.

Spain national boss Julen Lopetegui is clearly a very ambitious man, as an announcement came from left-field that he would succeed Zinedine Zidane as manager of Real Madrid. That is one of the toughest jobs in world football, with a demanding fan base and a ruthless president to deal with at the Bernabeu.

Lopetegui having his head turned and the news breaking just before the World Cup makes you wonder whether he'll be focused on the task at hand. Portugal counterpart Fernando Santos is great at grinding out results, meanwhile, not least because of Cristiano Ronaldo, so odds of 11/5 with Betfair are well worth considering.

Group C straight forecast: France and Denmark

Euro 2016 finalists France look to have their World Cup group at their mercy. Anything less than serene progress through their pool will pile pressure on former Les Bleus captain and current coach Didier Deschamps.

"Didier Deschamps" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by xavnal

On paper at least, it just seems a matter of determining who joins the French in the knockout phase and fellow European nation Denmark have the strongest claim. Prolific Peru striker Paolo Guerrero may have had his drugs ban suspended to play at the tournament but his influence pales in comparison to that of the Danes' attacking midfield maestro Christian Eriksen.

Australia complete Group C but don't look to have the strength-in-depth to mount a serious challenge. It leaves a straight forecast flutter on France topping the pool and Denmark progressing with them among serious World Cup betting tips at 6/4 with Betfair.

Serbia to finish second in Group E

It's impossible to look past Brazil for winning their pool in Russia, yet there's value to be had on who advances alongside them in second place. Although Switzerland are well-versed in negotiating the group stage at major tournaments, it's fellow European country Serbia that appeal this time around.

In Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Serbs have an in-form striker whose physical presence - provided he keeps his cool - will cause opposition defenders all sorts of problems. Backed up by Dusan Tadic and Lazio talent Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, plus the effective midfield shield of Luka Milivojevic and Nemanja Matic in front of a seasoned defence, this constituent part of the former Yugoslavia have lots to like about them.

The Swiss and Costa Rica - surprise packages four years ago at the last World Cup in Brazil - are simply more exposed at this level. Serbia should know what to expect from their group rivals and look worth a wager at 2/1 to finish runners-up behind Brazil.

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