The last group in the 2018 World Cup will feature Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan. The only consensus about their upcoming matches is that they are anyone’s game. Since online sportsbook sites in Russia counterbalance the difficulty of predicting the Group H betting specials with favorable odds, the offers in this category have already caught the attention of gambling enthusiasts.
The high number of talented forwards (see our separate article on potential top goalscorers) is only one reason the group is hard to call. Here’s what we we think after considering all potential game-defining factors we could think of.
The biggest question of the Group H betting specials: Poland or Colombia?
Experts tend to pick either Poland or Colombia as the team with the best chances. The preference seems to have recently shifted to the South American squad. While the Guardian’s early power rankings placed Poland well ahead of Colombia and Sports Blog Nation also predicted (although more cautiously) a win by the European team, online betting sites in Russia are currently giving smaller returns on Colombia (2.40 for their winning the group and 1.35 for a top 2 performance) than on Poland (2.90 for a first place, 1.40 for a top 2).
Both teams excel at attacking and have been criticised for their defense. RT News in particular pointed out that Polish fullback Lukasz Piszczek’s struggle with a knee injury raises just as many concerns as the relative inexperience of Colombia’s defenders.
Placing money on either team being in the top 2 is as safe a bet as it gets in the Group H betting specials. Predicting the winning position is trickier, although we feel that the threat of the combined talents of Falcao and Rodríguez surpasses even that of the Polish forwards.
Japan as the potential fourth-ranking team
Experts had identified Japan as the biggest underdog of the draw even before their recent change of coaches. According to the president of the Japan Football Association, the straight-talking Halilhodzic was dismissed on the grounds that “communication and trust with players have become weakened.” Although it has been promised that “the basics will remain the same” under Halilhodzic’s heir, Akira Nishino, the ill-timed change could easily create some confusion in the Japanese squad.
Why not exploit Japan’s otherwise unfortunate disadvantages and bet on their being in the bottom place? It is a relatively safe bet and Unibet Sportsbook still offers 2.35 for it.
What About Senegal?
Aliou Cisse, the African team’s coach, encourages his players to step on the pitch “without an insecurity complex.” They have all the reason to do so. Although Senegal has only one previous World Cup appearance (2002), it would be hard to tell this from looking at the present squad.
Athletic, quick and hungry, the players have the potential to cause an upset. Keep an eye in particular on Sadio Mané, the winger who contributed to Liverpool’s successes in the UEFA Champions League with 9 goals.
Betting on Senegal to finish first (6.00) or in the top 2 (2.75) is still a bit risky but might be worth a shot. Whether you put faith in Senegal or go for the safer bets (Japan last, Colombia and Poland in the top 2), keep in mind that the betting offers are valid until June 28 on Unibet Sportsbook.