Best 2018 World Cup value bets

Examining the betting market for the 2018 Russia World Cup

Updated: July 15, 2014, 5:52 PM ET
By James Eastham | ESPN Insider

Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesGermany was victorious in the 2014 World Cup. Can they win in 2018?

"We can play on top of the world for a good number of years," said Joachim Low following Germany's 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina in the World Cup final Sunday. Given the number of young players in his squad of champions -- match-winning goal scorer Mario Gotze (aged 22), Andre Schurrle (23), Toni Kroos (24), Thomas Muller (24), Mesut Ozil (25) and Mats Hummels (25) -- it's easy to see why Low predicts a lengthy period of domination.

The betting market says exactly the same thing, as Germany have been installed as early favorites to lift the World Cup by the LVH SuperBook when the tournament is held on Russian soil in 2018. It's hard to argue with that verdict given how impressively Germany played in the latter stages in Brazil, and their obvious potential to develop into an even better team in the run-up to 2018 is another important factor in their status at the head of the pack.

Many would say there's absolutely no value in backing whichever side is the odds-on favorite at this stage because so much can go wrong over the next four years. It's a fair point, but the problem with that argument is that every single serious contender to lift the trophy is similarly short-priced. So either you accept skinny odds, or you go out on a limb and back a team unlikely to get their hands on the big prize.

Germany (5-1 to win in 2018), Argentina (8-1), Brazil (8-1), Spain (8-1), France (10-1) and Italy (15-1) have won the past 12 World Cups between them, so there's an irrefutable logic to how the market views them. Do they represent the best betting value right now? Let's take a look at the best 2018 World Cup futures bets right now as the new cycle begins.