World Cup 2018 Betting Offers, Free Bets and Bonuses from the Best Football Betting Sites, plus World Cup history, stats and betting advice

The long and arduous qualification process for the 2018 World Cup is finally over and we now know the 32 sides headed to Russia, the groups they’ll be in and their possible paths to the World Cup final. As such, there’s no time like the present to give you the details of all the best World Cup betting offers and promotions that can help stack the odds in your favour.

So read on the for the latest World Cup betting offers. You can also have a glance at the short history, stats and World Cup betting sections. Also, you might be interested in our Top 10 Free Bets page which details the best freebies and welcome bonuses from the best bookies around.

Best Free Bets for the World Cup

Here we’ll bring you details of the Best Free Bets that can be used for World Cup qualifiers, or indeed any football matches or other sports.

  • Ladbrokes 250x250 Betting OffersNew customers to Ladbrokes are in for a treat.

    If you join Ladbrokes and place a bet of between £5 and £50 at betting odds of 1/2 (1.5 in decimal) or more, you’ll be given a free bet to the same value! (18+, T&Cs Apply)

    This is a great offer because the minimum odds required for your qualifying bet mean that you can back something of a dead cert to minimise the risk, then perhaps use your free bet at longer odds to go for that big win!

    Ladbrokes are a top class bookie who are going to have loads of fine betting offers popping up for the World Cup, so get an account with them now and stay in the loop.

    18+. New customers only. Promo code ‘F50’ required. Certain deposit methods excluded. Min £/€5 on win or each-way bet excluding Tote or pools = match max £/€50 free bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Bet must be made within 14 days. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. Single bets only. Free bet cannot be used on certain markets. T&Cs apply.

  • Another of our favourite bookmakers is Coral.

    They are from the top drawer in all respects: generous odds, massive range of football betting markets, and – of course – some top quality betting offers.

    They start things off in positive fashion with a tasty 400% matched welcome bonus. You simply need to join Coral and place a £5 bet and they will give you £20 in free bets! (4x £5 free bets, 18+, T&Cs Apply)

    This is a brilliant offer for those punters who don’t want to risk too much of their own cash but who still want a decent reward for signing up to a bookie. So tuck in and take full advantage!

    Important info: 18+. UK+IRE only. Min first bet £5. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 4 x £5 free bets. Not valid with CashOut. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs Apply.

    Please make sure you read the full terms and conditions at the Coral site and please Gamble Responsibly.

Latest World Cup Betting Odds – Outright Winner

Here are the latest betting odds for the 2018 World Cup winner. Note odds are correct at the time of publishing.

So no real surprises there, in all honesty. Argentina made a bit of a hash of qualifying but got there in the end and they could attract some interest at those odds. As could Belgium if they finally start to fulfill their potential.

The real value, though, might be in backing European champions Portugal at a very tempting price. Their talisman Ronaldo has a habit of turning on the style on the biggest stages, and this could be his year to shine at a World Cup.

Latest World Cup News 

The draw for the eight World Cup 2018 groups was made on the 1st December in Moscow.

There are some very interesting-looking groups (see below) and the good news is that the Three Lions have landed what has to be seen as a pretty darn easy group alongside Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.

Here are some tasty-looking group games to get in your diary:

  • Russia v Saudi Arabia, Thursday 14th June 2018 (opening match)
  • Portugal v Spain, Friday 15th June 2018
  • France v Australia, Saturday 16th June 2018
  • Germany v Mexico, Sunday 17th June 2018
  • Brazil v Switzerland, Sunday 17th June 2018
  • Tunisia v England, Monday 18th June 2018
  • Argentina v Croatia, Thursday 21st June 2018
  • England v Panama, Sunday 24th June 2018
  • England v Belgium, Thursday 28th June 2018

World Cup 2018 – GROUPS

World Cup Group Ante-Post Betting Tips

Group A Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Uruguay – 11/10 with Bet365
  • Russia – 7/4 with William Hill
  • Egypt – 11/2 with Ladbrokes
  • Saudi Arabia – 40/1 with Bet365

Group A – Uruguay, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Many believed Russia were in luck in their draw, as they line up against Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Their meeting with the Saudis is set to be the worst ever opener to a World Cup, and it could well be those two sides heading home come the end of the first round.

We think Uruguay are a great bet to top the standings at evens with BetVictor, given that their stars are miles ahead in terms of quality compared to the other nations in the group.

The Uruguayans have an experienced squad with a few tournaments under their belt, so we’re backing them for top spot. In addition, Egypt look like a good bet to qualify at 21/10 with 888Sport, with Mo Salah looking like he could tear apart the Russians and Saudis.

The Egyptians look to him to make a difference, and given the strength of the opposition the Liverpool man could well take his side in to the last 16.

Group B Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Spain – 1/1 with Bet365
  • Portugal – 2/1 with Bet365
  • Morocco – 16/1 with Bet365
  • Iran – 33/1 with Betfair

Group B – Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran

One big value bet at this World Cup has to be Portugal to top Group B at 5/2 with 888Sport.

While they’re in a pool with 2010 world champions Spain, the Portuguese lifted the European Championship trophy back in 2016, and they did that with an emerging golden generation at under 21 level.

While Renato Sanches isn’t lighting up the Liberty Stadium, the likes of Andre Silva have improved the European champions, who showed they have the organisational skills to perform at tournaments, making them dark horses in our book.

One outside bet we like the look of is Isco to be the top assist maker at 13/1 with Coral. While the Spanish might not finish top, we see them scoring plenty in a group with Morocco and Iran.

The Real Madrid man is emerging as a key player for la Roja, and he could well play a big supporting role in any success they have at this tournament.

Group C Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • France – 1/3 with Bet365
  • Denmark – 11/2 with BetVictor
  • Peru – 17/2 with BetVictor
  • Australia – 25/1 with Betfair

Group C – France, Denmark, Peru, Australia

The winner of Group C does look pretty nailed on, with France heavy favourites at 1/3 with Betfred.

They’re not just streets ahead of their rivals in the pool in terms of quality, but they’re also third favourites to win the trophy behind Germany and Brazil.

The French arguably have a better forward line than either of those two, so we’re backing them to lead the way in this group.

One other bet to consider here is backing Denmark to qualify at 4/6 with Betfair. The Danes showed their class against the Republic of Ireland in the play-offs, and you have to wonder just how Peru and Australia plan on stopping Christian Eriksen.

The latter two offered very little in their play-off wins over New Zealand and Honduras respectively, and we struggle to see them stopping a Danish side who are organised and built around a potential superstar of the tournament.

Group D Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Argentina – 4/6 with Betfair
  • Croatia – 5/2 woth William Hill
  • Nigeria – 10/1 with Ladbrokes
  • Iceland – 16/1 with BetVictor

Group D – Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria, Iceland

Argentina look to be head and shoulders above the rest of this group, with three even sides to face in Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.

The Croatians are 2/5 with 888Sport to make it out of the pool, but we think things will be closer between them than those odds suggest.

A draw or two between the trio will make things quite tense, so we aren’t tempted in backing a qualifier pick in this pool.

We do like the look of Argentina to win the group at 4/6 with Betfair, which seems a little big given the quality they possess. While qualifying wasn’t great for them, manager Jorge Sampaoli should inspire them to finish top.

The new coach will also have Lionel Messi to rely on, and it’s worth backing him to be the top scorer for Argentina at this tournament, priced at 4/5 with BetVictor. No other Argentine has scored a competitive international goal for over a year, so that’s certainly worth backing.

Group E Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Brazil – 3/10 with Betfair
  • Switzerland – 13/2 with Ladbrokes
  • Serbia – 8/1 with Bet365
  • Costa Rica – 20/1 with William Hill

Group E – Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Costa Rica

Brazil seem like a straightforward pick to win this group at odds of 1/3 with Betfred. As one of the favourites they should easily make it through to the next round.

We are much more interested in second place here, as we believe Switzerland are overpriced to make it in to the second round at 11/10 with 888Sport.

Having won nine out of 10 qualifiers and having made the last 16 at the Euros, the Swiss should be shorter to overcome Serbia and Costa Rica – two sides who had few quality opponents standing in their way in qualifying. 

The Swiss have always been well organised, but have started to show hints that they can offer more going forward than at recent tournaments so it will be interesting to see if they can deliver in Russia.

Of course, while Brazil looked nailed on to top the group, football is a funny old game and you just never know what might transpire. If Switzerland grind out a draw and win their other games, one slip by Brazil could see them finish second. 

Group F Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Germany – 2/5 with Ladbrokes
  • Mexico – 6/1 with BetVictor
  • Sweden – 6/1 with Bet365
  • South Korea – 16/1 with William Hill

Group F – Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

Group F seems like a pretty easy pick too, with tournament favourites Germany at 4/9 with Betfred to take first place.

This another group where three hard-working sides are in the mix for second, and Brazil’s quality should see them make it through and we expect them to take nine points.

We’re going for Mexico to join them in the last 16, which can be backed at 19/20 with 888Sport.

The Mexicans have a solid squad and more experience at this level than their two rivals for second, and they’ve been regulars in the last 16 over the years. 

Often underestimated by opponents, the Mexicans have always been tough and energetic adversaries and we think they could rattle Sweden and especially South Korea.

Group G Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Belgium – 10/11 with William Hill
  • England – 6/5 with Bet365
  • Tunisia – 20/1 with BetVictor
  • Panama – 40/1 with Bet365

Group G – Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

While talk of England’s year is slowly growing, we can’t look past Belgium at 3/4 with Betfair in the Group G winner betting.

The Belgians have so much attacking talent that they should rack up big scores in their opening two games – against Tunisia and Panama.

That could be vital if the top two seeds draw in the final match.

We think the Belgians should shade it, with more technically equipped players for international football. We also think it’s worth going for England to be eliminated in the last 16, which can be backed at 9/2 with Betfred.

The Three Lions last won a tournament knock-out game in 2006, and they could struggle to end that poor run.

Group H Winner Odds

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Colombia – 13/10 with Betfair
  • Poland – 7/4 with Ladbrokes
  • Senegal – 5/1 with Bet365
  • Japan – 17/2 with Betfair

Group H – Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Japan

The final group is an open affair, with Poland the top seeds. They’re joined by Colombia, Senegal and Japan.

That’s a group of four sides who will all hope to go through, but they’ve all got to be wary.

It’s difficult to look past the attacking options that the South Americans have, so we’d say Colombia at 7/5 with Ladbrokes look like value to take top spot – likely setting up a meeting with England in the next round.

While Poland’s qualifying group wasn’t too taxing, they played the FIFA rankings to take top spot. Meanwhile, the Colombians came through qualifying in South America, the most diifuclt region on the planet.

In addition, we see Falcao as an overpriced pick to top score for Colombia at 5/1 with BetVictor. He has 17 goals in 18 starts across Ligue 1 and the Champions League, and the forward will be making up for lost time after missing the last two tournaments.

World Cup History, Stats and Info

World Cup: A Brief History

The origins of the FIFA World Cup can be linked back to the success of football at the Olympic. Football made its first appearance in the 1900 Olympics Games in London but only included teams from within Europe. In 1914 however, FIFA, which had been founded ten years prior, agreed to take control of the football at the Olympics and recognised it as the “world football championship for amateurs.” Following this, football at the Olympics began to include sides from outside of Europe and its success inspired FIFA, led by President Jules Rimet, to design an international tournament of its own.

It was on 28th May 1928 when the FIFA Congress met in Amsterdam to discuss plans for its own world championships. Plans did not take long to materialise and it was decided that two time Olympic champions, Uruguay, would host the first World Cup which would take place in the summer of 1930.

There was no such thing as qualification back then, selected national associations were simply invited to participate and in total 13 nations took part. The number would have perhaps been greater but some European nations were unwilling to travel such a great distance to take part. Although cross continental travel was an issue for the early World Cups, this did not stop it quickly becoming a highly regarded tournament and one which attracted teams from around the globe.

Such was the interest stemming from the inaugural tournament, that for the following World Cup four years later, 36 nations applied to take part. As a result, qualification fixtures were introduced and they have been needed ever since to trim the field. For decades, only 16 sides were allowed into the finals but in 1982, the decision was made to increase the number of teams in the latter stages to 24. Four World Cups later and this number was once again increased, this time to 32, allowing greater participation from sides from Africa, Asia and North America. This, combined with a rising amount of countries taking part in the qualification stages, has helped make the World Cup a truly global tournament.

World Cup Stats, Facts and Trivia

There have been 19 FIFA World Cup tournaments so far and in that time a lot of history has been created. Some records have lasted a very long time whereas others have continued to be broken. Below are some of the most memorable and interesting World Cup facts and stats.

  • Miroslav Klose tops the list for most goals scored at the World Cup. The German bagged 16 goals in the four tournaments he took part in. The most goals scored in one tournament however goes to Just Fontaine who netted 13 times during the 1958 World Cup.
  • South Africa are the only host nation to have been eliminated in the first round of the tournament. They finished third in their group behind Uruguay and Mexico.
  • Many players have won the World Cup twice but Pele is the only player to have won it on three separate occasions, doing so in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
  • The World Cup final in 1950 between Brazil and Uruguay boasts the highest attendance for any match in the history of the sport, 173,850 was the official number but the actual attendance was estimated to be close to 200,000.
  • The fastest goal at the FIFA World Cup finals was scored by Hakan Sukur after 11 seconds when Turkey took on South Korea in 2002 during the third place playoff match.
  • As for the quickest red card, that honour is held by Uruguayan, Jose Batista, who was given a straight dismissal for his high challenge of Gordon Strachan after just 56 seconds in the 1986 World Cup.

World Cup History, Stats and Info

Betting on the World Cup

It’s little surprise that the main betting market for the World Cup is the overall winner and it’s a market which hasn’t ever thrown up any real surprises. There have been no dark horses who have claimed World Cup glory as of yet so picking a nation which lies in the top few places in the betting seems to be the way to go.

Now that the tournament has been increased to 32 teams, the chances of a side luckily going all the way has been decreased further so money on underdogs is better places elsewhere.

If you fancy a nation to perform much better than expected then group stage betting is what you are after. Although not full of surprises, the group stages have thrown up a few shocks in the past and big returns have been available. In the 2014 World Cup for instance, Costa Rica finished top of Group D at odds of 50/1. Something like this won’t happen every tournament but there’s usually at least one side who tops the group despite not being the favourite to do so.

The rise of online betting has led to lots of extra promotions including boosted odds and money back specials. The top goal scorer market often comes with additional bonuses and is usually well worth diving into.

The key is to pick a player from a nation which looks very likely to proceed from the group stage and probably a couple of rounds further. A top quality striker playing in a bad side is unlikely to get too many opportunities to score and may find himself playing the minimum three matches, giving him a mountain to claim if he’s to claim the Golden Boot.

Having a player from a good side in an otherwise “easy” group is a bonus too but keep your eye on how the fixtures are drawn. If a nation has already secured qualification from the group stages then the star players may be rested, possibly against the weakest side in the group, and the opportunity for more goals will be lost.