Can Colombia conquer?
World Cup 2018 starts in under three weeks, so now it's time to get going with my very first betting tip before the tournament kicks-off! I've dug-deep into the group-stages and think there's some good value to be found in Group H and Colombia in particular.
Colombia impressed many during the last World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in 2014. This summer, I think the Colombians have a good chance to repeat that result with an equally impressive team on paper at least. During qualifying some mixed performances led to a fourth placed finish in the South American qualifying group after ending on a four-match run without a win.
I watched some of their matches during qualification and they have some big talents in the team, especially going forward in the likes of Falcao, James, Zapata, Muriel, Cuadrado and Bacca. Looking at their defence, Colombia will have the tournaments youngest centre back pairing in Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez (21) and Barcelona's Yerry Mina (23). Despite their age, they are two top-quality centre backs who together with the attacking full-backs Fabra and Arias surely comprise the tournaments most exciting back-four.
There's no doubt that Colombia's attack is strong, and if something is weak, it is a three-man midfield with the likes of Aguilar and Sanchez played in those sorts of roles.
During qualifying, Colombia's coach José Pékerman has varied his formation between a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1 set-up, where I believe the latter will be deployed more often during this World Cup.
- Arias, Mina, Sanchez, Fabra
- Aguilar, Sanchez
- Cuadrado, James, Muriel
Colombia are the clear favourites to win Group H with most of the betting sites. If we look at the other countries in their group, Polan is the toughest opponent and is the second favourite to win Group H. Colombia are the favourites to defeat Poland when the two teams meet in the second-round of games. Senegal and Japan are no push-overs, but I think that they won't have much to say in the final outcome of this group. Nevertheless, I do think that the betting sites are underestimating Senegal's potential to shake things up in this group.
I agree with the market here that Colombia should be favourites to win Group H and I estimate that Colombia's chance of winning the group is around 45%. Most betting companies agree and have odds of around 6/5 for Colombia to win the group. Betfair, on the other hand, is offering odds of 8/5 for Colombia or Poland to win the group. Price taken!
My betting tip is for Colombia to win Group H at odds of 8/5 with Betfair
Good luck with all of your bets.