The 2018 World Cup is just around the corner, as Russia and Saudi Arabia will kick things off on June 14. From there, sports fans will get to spend the next month watching the World Cup, getting captivated by the squads that make runs throughout the tournament and the players that become immortalized for their performances, all the way up through the final on July 15.
It’s sure to be a fantastic tournament, one with enough subplots to satiate soccer fans as they wait to do this all over again in four years. But before things kick off, we wanted to take a look at the teams that oddsmakers are favoring during the lead up to the festivities.
Below are the five teams with the best odds, according to Sky Bet, of achieving soccer’s ultimate glory. Uruguay (25/1), Portugal (25/1), England (16/1), and Belgium (10/1) all barely missed making this list, while North America’s best hopes at seeing a national team take home its first World Cup is Mexico at 100/1. Making that bet would be a great way to lose money, so if you’re looking for a smarter wager, we suggest going with one of these countries.
The runners up for the 2014 World Cup kick off this list, as Argentina possesses four attacking players who could nearly carry them to glory this summer. Having any of Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, or Gonzalo Higuain would mortify opponents, but possessing all three is an untold luxury.
Of course, the most dangerous piece of their attacking third happens to be their captain and the best player in the world: Lionel Messi. No player enters this World Cup with as much pressure on them as the Barcelona talisman, as winning the World Cup is the one honor that has evaded Messi throughout his career, one in which he has a case for being the best footballer ever. If he can win in Russia, it almost seals his case. If he cannot, the debate will continue to rage on, which is awful, because debates about the greatest athlete in a sport are generally awful.
Winning the World Cup would be extra special this year, as there are serious questions about Argentina behind its arsenal of attackers. Your guess is as good as mine about who will start in net, Nicolas Otamendi might be the only sure thing in their defense, and while there are some talented players in the midfield, it might not be enough. But still, with all their attacking talent, Argentina has a chance.