At +45000 Panama is the biggest dog with the World Cup betting odds. Meanwhile their World Cup opener against Belgium they are given little chance for success. Belgium is respected as a capable team. But not a top tier favorite. However, compared to Panama they are a powerhouse. Belgium is attempting to break through as a legitimate contender in fact. That makes toying around with Panama not an option. Panama is simply happy to be at Russia. On the other hand, Belgium is there to win. To sum up, those expectations explain the huge difference in prices.
2018 FIFA World Cup
Date and Time: Monday, June 18, 2018, 11 a.m. ET
Location: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
World Cup Betting Online Odds at your favorite sportsbook: Panama +2 (-110), Belgium -2 (-105), Over 2 ½, (-125), Under 2 ½ (+110), Panama +2920, Belgium -655, Draw +700
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings
Belgium opened at +1200 with the World Cup betting odds to win the tournament. They were utterly dominant in qualifying. Actually, a superior goal differential of 43-6 caught a lot of eyes. But the competition was undeniably inferior compared to other top teams. Despite the powerful qualification worries remains around this.
First, defensive breakdowns are a perpetual fear. Second, depth on the roster is as well. Belgium cannot afford injuries the way Brazil or Germany can. The one indispensable man on the team is Romelu Lukaku. He is the country’s all time leading goal scorer.
A friendly 3-3 draw against Mexico exposed the weaknesses of Belgium. Especially on the issues of defense and depth. Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was highly critical after the match. De Bruyne railed about Mexico’s tactical advantage over Belgium. He said Mexico made Belgium play virtually shorthanded. It was a direct shot at head coach Robert Martinez in fact.
True, three top players were out of the lineup for Belgium. But that doesn’t take away the fact that they were badly outsmarted. Furthermore, De Bruyne is something of a mystery. He has never been able to match his pro excellence on Belgium.
Robert Martinez was something of a surprise hire for Belgium in August of 2016. That is because he lacked international coaching experience. On the positive Martinez has considerable Premier League knowledge. Half of the Belgian team is comprised of players that are pros in the Premier. Another positive is the freedom that Martinez has given Eden Hazard. Finally, hazard is a top forward that plays for Chelsea in the Premier League.
Panama fully understands what sportsbook longshots they truly are. Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has led four teams to the World Cup. Yet the Columbian is emphasizing fun and competition for this group. Gomez emphasizes defensive structure and solidity.
Lacking offensive skill depth, defense is Panama’s only hope at success. In addition, the Canaleros are respected for their hard work. They also have the advantage of playing together for a long time. In addition, Roman Torres is team captain. He fittingly scored the goal that clinched qualification for Panama.
Matchup to Watch
Belgium has a huge talent advantage with the World Cup betting odds. Kevin De Bruyne could be key in the matchup. He is due to breakout and match his professional prowess.
2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds Picks
Belgium should eventually wear down Panama due to their superior depth.
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Belgium
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Belgium 3, Panama 0
Check out a Belgium team preview!