Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM

Matchday 3 - Best Bets

World Cup Betting Results

World Cup: Matchday 3 Betting Preview

Group C & D Best Bets

Saturday, June 16

France vs. Australia (FS1, 6:00 a.m. ET)

The fourth favourites to win the World Cup kick off their campaign with a match against Australia who are, on paper, the softest team in Group C.

Australia’s mammoth qualifying campaign lasted a record 22 games after they finished beneath Saudi Arabia and South Korea in qualifying - and given what we saw from the Saudis on Thursday, that hardly bodes well.

However Australia retain the usual qualities of their country’s sporting tradition: competitiveness and togetherness. In Tom Rogic and Aaron Mooy they have good creativity going forward and can hit then net here.

However France should be much too good. However they line up, their front three are full of goals. At the last World Cup they despatched Switzerland 5-1 in the opening game, and it would not be a surprise to see Les Bleus let rip again.

France will attack a weak Australian back-line from the start and it should not take them long to go in front. They may face a few tests in defence, but this should be a routine start for Didier Deschamps’s side.

Prediction: France 4-1 Australia
Top bet: France half-time/full-time at 8/11

Peru vs. Denmark (FS1, 12:00 p.m. ET)

This is the biggest game in the group by far. France are heavy favourites to top the section with most people expecting an early return home for Australia.

There is more pressure on Peru. This is their first tournament since 1982. Ricardo Gareca’s men have suddenly gone on a spectacular run of games without defeat after years of disappointment.

While the group is neither the hardest nor the easiest, the order of matches for Peru looks awkward. They have France up next, so a defeat here could see them out of the tournament before they have had time to catch their breath.

Denmark, meanwhile, are solid, reliable and have an outstanding player in Christian Eriksen. They have pace going forward and could expose an overexcited Peru.

But just looking at the prices, the South American side look a tad irresistable. They are 23/10 outsiders with Peru 7/5. Peru’s recent displays against European opposition bode well, and while Denmark probably deserve favouritism, the prices overstate the gap between the sides.

If Peru keep their cool, they can secure a famous victory.

Prediction: Peru 2-1 Denmark
Top bet: Peru to win at 23/10

Argentina vs. Iceland (FOX, 9:00 a.m. ET)

Argentina are possibly the most fascinating team at this World Cup simply because we have no real idea of how they are going to set up. Who will play with Lionel Messi in the attacking positions? How on earth is Jorge Sampaoli going to combine his slow, underwhelming defence with his inclination to play at 100 miles per hour?

In contrast, we know exactly how Iceland will play. They will be compact, defensive and will rely on their incredible togetherness and team spirit to get them through.

This togetherness is completely lacking with Argentina. They recently pulled out of a friendly against Israel purely because of player power. It is a squad riven with egos, but where all must submit before Lionel Messi.

Of course Argentina have the stronger side - and by a long way. They are 1/3 favourites with Iceland 10/1. But frankly there are so many reasons to be against Argentina, both here and at the tournament in general.

Iceland drew with Portugal and beat England at Euro 2016. They can pull off another shock here and blow the group wide open.

Prediction: Argentina 1-1 Iceland
Top bet: Draw at 9/2

Croatia vs. Nigeria (FS1, 3:00 p.m. ET)

As always, Croatia have a team packed full of talent. In fact, this is probably the best group of players Croatia have taken to a tournament since they reached the semi-finals in 1998.

They have a strong defence: Dejan Lovren is very good 90% of the time, despite his mistakes. The pass masters of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic will dominate the midfield. But the most interesting player in this team may be Mario Mandzukic. The burly centre-forward will play out wide for Croatia here with Nikola Kalinic through the middle. He has been incredibly effecitve in this position for Juventus, arriving at the back post and posing a problem that many teams are unfamiliar with.

Nigeria lack the stardust of previous generations, but are a well-drilled team, led by Jon Obi Mikel who finds a new burst of creativity playing for the Super Eagles.

The big problem is in goal: Vincent Enyeama has retired from the national team and the replacements look dreadful. And a bad goalkeeper makes the whole defence more jittery. Croatia should have too much for Nigeria here.

Prediction: Croatia 2-0 Nigeria
Top bet: Mario Mandzukic to score first at 9/2

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