This week I’m taking a quick look at the World Cup and a few pointers of what I plan to do for the tournament starting on 13th June.

The usual suspects head the market with Brazil (as ever) just marginal favourites at a best priced 9/2 and Germany and Spain next best.

For me it could be any one of the top 6 in the betting that could take the prize (not a bold statement I know), therefore I’m looking to back some lively outsiders early on and then look to lay off if they have the start I’m expecting. Admittedly we won’t make a fortune in trading out after only the first round, but if we do it on enough teams then we can green up for a slight edge. The size of the profit will ultimately depend on who they meet next in the knockout stages once qualified.

So here goes;

Belgium: 10/1

Obviously both Belgium and England are the favourites to qualify from Group G but hard to predict the likely winner.

Of course Wales beat Belgium 3-1 in the Euros in what was a welsh side with one player that tipped the balance throughout that tournament, although in fairness they all played their part buoyed by the presence of Gareth Bales. Different matter entirely when Bales was out of the clash with Ireland where Ireland won 1-0 showing why you should never rely on just one player.

Belgium are a team of both individual talent and general all round quality and with opening games against Panama and Tunisia, Eden Hazard and others could take the lead over the English before the clash of the last day.

Portugal – 28/1

Portugal have proven credentials to take a major tournament after their win over France in the Euro 2016 final.

They will take quite a few of the experienced players from the Euro’s to Russia and are as large as 28/1 to take this.

They have a strong defense and of course the ageing Ronaldo at 32 in attack with the support of Andre Silva.

I will look to back to trade out after the group stages as I have a few niggles for Portugal and can’t see them going anywhere near as far in this tournament despite what some believe.

Russia – 50/1

I always tend to have a small wager on the hosts no matter what the price in the hope they outperform their pre-tournament price which often happens apart from some obvious exceptions. Driven by their big audience they are out to prove they can at least give the big guns a game on their own turf. So again look to trade out after they hopefully qualify from the Group stages and at second favourites behind Uruguay they have every chance.

Japan – 300/1

While the name ‘Japan’ does not immediately trigger one of great footballing nations some of their players have plenty of European experience. Both Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. It’s going to be a tall order to qualify from this group that contains Poland & Columbia so extremely speculative but not forgetting they finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Look to back at 300/1 and trade out if they qualify and hopefully avoid some of the big guns in their knockout match.

As regards the Winner?…

Spain (yes well worn words before each major championship for decades).

After the obvious disappointments in Brazil (2014) and France (2016) surely this is their time to go very close at a best priced 6/1?

This is a highly competitive team as you would expect with players such as Isco, Asensio, Lucas, Saúl, Aspas and Rodrigo all carefully being added to the squad by Julen Lopetegui. For the sake of football however I do hope Ramos keeps his spoiling tactics for his domestic side rather than for his country who will be watched by billions. Germany are also going to perform well in Russia I think. I’m taking a bit of a gamble in swerving the South American nations this time round.

Good Luck and let’s hope it’s a good one. Who knows England may surprise a few. Maybe even themselves!