Home nations 2018 World Cup Qualification Preview & Predictions

3rd September 2016 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions
World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions

The long road to the 2018 World Cup has already started and the first round of UEFA qualification matches brings into spotlight the quest of the European nations to get to the Finals. Euro 2016 was a huge success for the home nations with England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland all getting past qualification and into the finals. While the fortunes of the nation’s varied greatly at the Finals themselves, all go into this new quest with confidence and optimism about being on an even bigger stage in two year’s time. The World Cup 2018. Here we take a look at the home nations and what they will be facing in UEFA qualification groups and who is favourite to make it through.

England & Scotland

The two have been drawn together in Group F of World Cup 2018 qualification and it is the Three Lions who are running as 4/11 outright favourites to go on and win that group. England had that perfect run through Euro 2016 qualification of course and they are the top seed in the group. New manager Sam Allardyce will be expected to see England through to the World Cup 2018 pretty comfortably from the great group draw which they have received. It’s another fresh start for the Three Lions after another dispatching major summer tournament and they are as short as 1/6 to qualify.

They should be largely unopposed in the group alongside Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta, meaning no disrespect to any of those. So if England are expected to book top spot, who is expected to follow them through? That will be Slovakia who are 11/2 to win the group. They of course stumped England in their final group stage match of Euro 2016, holding the Three Lions to a 0-0 draw. They have the most potential to cause an upset in the group, but even then you are looking at a team which looks low on quality overall, but can make a nuisance of themselves. They will be Scotland’s biggest test for qualifying. The Scots have to go into this quest with some confidence with winnable games over SLovenia, Lithuania and Malta to come.

The issue for the Scots will be trying to break down what can be a resilience Slovakia side and it will mightily important for the Scots not to lose on the road to them. Scotland aren’t a side which boasts many goals in it, but maybe Leigh Griffiths can make a huge difference for them in qualifying by keeping his club for with Celtic up. That will give them a chance and while their challenge in Euro 2016 qualifying, fell away in the end, there were glimpses in there that the Scots make run a qualifying here, if they can nail down some better consistency. They may well have to grind, but they have a shot here at the play offs.

World Cup European Group E Qualifying Odds

England 4/11, Slovakia 11/2, Scotland 9/1, Slovenia 16/1, Lithuania 250/1, Malta 1000/1

Ireland & Wales

The Irish have landed themselves in a tricky group and they are running as a fairly big 3/1 shot to qualify from it. Ireland wasn’t great at Euro 2016 it has to be said and they were pretty touch and go through qualification for Euro 2016. They no longer have Robbie Keane for the golden touch up front, the striker having retired from international duty, so they need someone like Shane Long to step up. The issue really with Ireland is that they don’t appear to really have any exciting young forward talent breaking through at the moment and with their other main option in Jonathan Walters turning 33 in September 2016, they really need to start digging from somewhere.

Wales though proved that you don’t need a load of goals to succeed. They scored just eleven in their successful Euro 2016 qualification campaign and made it through to the Finals. They didn’t just make it to the Finals, they turned up and played there, running all the way to the semi final against the odds. That was down to team spirit, desire and the odd touch of individual brilliance here and there from the likes of Ashley Williams at the back, Aaron Ramsey in the middle of the park, Hal Robson-Kanu up front and Gareth Bale from dead ball situations. They got it together and ran with it.

That has to be positive momentum from Wales to drive forward with and they are 5/2 to win this group and 11/10 to qualify, which makes them joint favourites with Serbia. The thing about Serbia is that they can play a very tidy, technically sound game of football. Do they always? No, and they were terrible in Euro 2016 qualification in a pretty easy group. Whether or not they have registered themselves remains to be seen really and they may be overvalued for this one. Austria actually look a better punt than Serbia at 13/5 to win the group. The Austrians pulled an England over the summer as they had been great through qualification for Euro 2016 and then tanked under the pressure of the tournament itself. But they are far better than what they produced at France 2016 and make great value to edge this. Georgia and Moldova make up the numbers.

World Cup European Group D Qualifying Odds

Serbia 5/2, Wales 5/2, Austria 13/5, Ireland 11/2, Georgia 150/1, Moldova 150/1

Northern Ireland

There is a tough task ahead for Northern Ireland, who may find the going a lot tougher than what they faced in Euro 2016 qualifying. The Irish and the rest of the group really will have to play second fiddle to the powerhouse that is Germany here, Die Mannschaft at 2/13 to win the group. Northern Ireland are a big 50/1 shot to win the group with the Czech Republic and Norway standing in their way. They are the games against which Northern Ireland have to pull something special out of the bag in. That is where they are going to have to grind the points. You can see all three of them losing to Germany and all three of them beaten the whipping boys of the group which are Azerbaijan and San Marino.

So you have a three way fight for second place in the group which will reward with a play off spot. Northern Ireland are 10/1 to qualify from this group, just to put that into perspective. The Czech Republic, while disappointing at Euro 2016 were great in Euro 2016 qualifying, while Norway have the ability to dig in and frustrate their way to points. So there is a tough road ahead for the Irish in this one. One they may not be able to get to the end of successfully.

World Cup European Group C Qualifying Odds

Germany 2/13, Czech Republic 8/1, Norway 33/1, northern Ireland 50/1, Azerbaijan 1000/1, San Marino 5000/1

Other World Cup European Qualifying Group Odds

World Cup European Group A Qualifying Odds
France 19/20, Nathan 13/8, Sweden 10/1, Bulgaria 66/1, Belarus 300/1

World Cup European Group B Qualifying Odds
Portugal 8/13, Switzerland 13/8, Hungary 20/1, Faroe Islands 350/1, Latvia 500/1, Andorra 5000/1

World Cup European Group E Qualifying Odds
Poland 11/8, Denmark 9/4, Romania 3/1, Montenegro 9/1, Armenia 66/1, Kazakhstan 250/1

World Cup European Group G Qualifying Odds
Spain 8/15, Italy 28/15, Israel 50/1, Albania 80/1, Macedonia 250/1, Liechtenstein 5000/1

World Cup European Group H Qualifying Odds
Belgium 1/3, Bosnia 4/1, Greece 10/1, Cyprus 250/1, Estonia 500/1, Gibraltar 5000/1

World Cup European Group I Qualifying Odds
Croatia 5/4, Ukraine 3/1, Turkey 9/2, Iceland 7/1, Finland 66/1 Kosovo 2000/1

There is 0-0 bore draw insurance that you can enjoy on all World Cup 2018 qualifiers with online betting site Bet365. Just place a pre-match stke on the correct score, scorecast or half time/full time market and if your bet loses because the game ends in a 0-0 draw then you will get your lost stake refunded as a free bet from them. You can also enjoy live streams of international football with them and when you open an account with Bet365 you can claim a 100% matched deposit bonus from them too.

Mentioned offers may be restricted to new customers, T&C's apply. Older offers may be not valid anymore. See details directly at the bookmaker's website. All tips on our site are based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+

* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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