Will. They. Disappoint.
That’s all England fans are thinking about as The Three Lions begin play at their sixth consecutive World Cup. England has a talented squad under Gareth Southgate, but the doubt will always be there. After missing out on the knockout rounds in Brazil, England is determined to start a new era of international football for the squad that is so closely related to underachieving.
England World Cup Odds
England have a manageable Group G, projected to advance alongside Belgium with expected wins over Panama and Tunisia. In 2014, England lost their first two matches to Italy and Uruguay rendering their final meeting with Costa Rica meaningless. This year, it’s all about not “playing down” to the likes of Panama and Tunisia.
Within Group G, Belgium are the favorite to win the group at -120. England are next at +120, with Panama and Tunisia priced at +4000 and +1000 respectively.
Before the tournament kicked off, England were the seventh-favorite to win the tournament valued at +1600. While England is expected to advance, projections see a talented Belgian side as the Group G winners. That would pair England with the winner of Group H, a potentially tricky matchup against (probably) Colombia.
If England want to make a deep tournament run, Harry Kane will need to have an outstanding tournament. He’s the primary scorer for England, but has been slow to return to form since recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in March. Kane opened the tournament at +1600 to win the Golden Boot, and will start with some work to do after Ronaldo’s hat trick and Diego Costa’s brace.
England will be an overwhelming favorite in their first two matches, setting up a group finale against Belgium to determine the group winner.
In their opener against Tunisia, England are a -230 favorite on the three-way moneyline. They are giving one goal on the spread, and are a -130 favorite -1.
Those odds literally double against Panama, where they are -510 on the moneyline and giving two goals on the spread. Panama is one of the lowest-valued teams in the tournament after barely escaping North American qualifying.
In their finale, England are the underdog against a Belgian team projected as a surprise title contender. England are a +195 underdog for the June 28th match, but are a -170 favorite getting a half-goal on the spread.
In projecting their World Cup exit, oddsmakers expect England to at least reach the knockout stage. They are +500 to fail to advance out of Group G, but that number plummets to +220 for the next two rounds.
Let’s play hypothetical: England are projected to finish second, so let’s put them there out of group play. They would start with a match against the Group H winner, projected to be either Poland or Colombia. Both teams present a unique challenge, and each possess a dynamic talent (Lewendowski/James). Should England advance to the quarterfinals, they would likely play the winner of Group F in the quarterfinals, which could be Germany. That’s been thrown into flux with their 0-1 loss to Mexico, potentially easing the road for England to make a deep tournament run.
Betting on England at the World Cup
IF you’re buying into the changes that Gareth Southgate and England have made since the last World Cup, or even Euro, then betting on The Three Lions could be profitable early. They play a solid system and have insane speed on the edges, something smaller nations could struggle with on the counter. The key is Harry Kane, the man in the middle. If he can convert chances early and build momentum, it’s easy to see England cruising through Group H.
I’m not totally sold on England against the powerhouses of Europe, but they’re more than capable of dispatching Panama and Tunisia. Normally a team entirely comprised of players from the home country isn’t desirable, but this entire team plays high-level club football. If England can break down a defensive team and put goals on the board, I’ll put money behind them until they face Brazil or another European power.