With the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup less than six weeks away, clear favorites have emerged in World Cup group betting.
Host Brazil is a strong minus-450 favorite to lead the way in Group A, according to lines posted at WorldCupOdds.net.
Brazil opens the tourney against Croatia, who are pegged at 8-1. The two teams have met just twice before; a 1-0 win by Brazil in the 2006 World Cup and a 1-1 draw in 2005.
The current line in that match, per Odds Shark, has Croatia as roughly a 10-1 underdog, with the draw line at nearly 5-1.
Mexico, sitting at 9-1, has faced Brazil 24 times since 1950. Brazil topped Mexico 2-0 in the group stage of the 2013 Confederations Cup, but Mexico won three of their five previous matches.
Cameroon last faced Brazil in 2003, winning 1-0 in the Confederations Cup. Ranked No. 50 in the world, Cameroon is a 25-1 long shot to come out on top in Group A.
In Group F, Argentina is strongly favored at 1-4 to win the group. However, unlike Brazil, the Argentinians arguably have an easier road in the group stage. Pegged at 6-1, No. 25 Bosnia and Herzegovina will be competing in their first World Cup after dominating their qualifying group.
They are followed by No. 45 Nigeria at 8-1. Iran, listed at 33-1, will be facing Argentina for the first time.
The top-ranked and defending World Cup champions Spain will have their hands full in Group B. The Spanish team are 20-27 favorites to win the group but will be tested early in this year’s most anticipated group stage match against the Netherlands.
It’s a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final. The Dutch are pegged at 9-4 to win Group B but have not posted a win since a 2-0 victory over Turkey in WC qualifying last October.
Things won’t get any easier for Spain when they take on Chile. Ranked No. 14 in the world, the Chileans are a popular dark-horse pick at this year’s World Cup, sporting 40-1 odds to win it all in futures wagering.
However, the Chileans, pegged at 4-1 to win Group B, have not claimed victory over Spain since a 3-1 win at the 2000 Olympics.
Australia is the long shot in Group B, listed at 33-1. Ranked No. 59 in the world, the Socceroos are a team on the rise, having recorded victories during the last two World Cups.
However, given the stiff competition that awaits them in the group stage, the Aussies are unlikely to be this year’s Cinderella story.
Overall, Brazil and Argentina remain at the top of the World Cup 2014 future odds menu. Defending champion Spain and powerhouse Germany are the next-best betting choices.