The 2018 group qualifying stage (UEFA) finished last month, but there is still some business to attend before we know which European teams will be taking part in the finals in Russia next year. The 8 best second-place finishers in the groups now go into a wild card set-up, with 4 of those teams advancing to the finals in 2018. The 4 match-ups will be played over two legs, with the winner of each game decided by aggregate score, so it’s time to check the UEFA 2018 World Cup Playoffs betting odds.
As is always the case in games of this type, away goals will count double in the event of a tie in the total score. The first legs of each game will be played between November 9 and 11, and we are going to take a quick look at the soccer betting lines to make a prediction for each one of the four games.
UEFA 2018 World Cup Playoffs Betting Odds & Preview
Referees for Uefa World Cup Qualifiers: Brych, Kuipers, Mateu Lahoz, Marciniak (2nd leg) https://t.co/B8rpjpVTXj
— Jan ter Harmsel (@dutchreferee) 4 de noviembre de 2017
Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland
- When: Thursday, November 9, 2:45 p.m.
- Where: Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
- UEFA 2018 World Cup Playoffs Betting Odds: Switzerland PK-150 (Over/Under at 2)
The Irish played in Group C in qualifying, finishing second behind Germany, who ran away with it. Northern Ireland scored 17 goals in the group stages, surrendering just 6, and it has to be said that it was the defense that got them to this point. Switzerland lost out to Portugal for the automatic qualifying spot on goal difference. They had a similar record to the Irish, scoring 23 and giving up 7 in their group games.
I think we can expect a low-scoring game between these two when they hook up on Thursday, and I believe that Switzerland will be quite content to come away with the draw on the road. This one has all the makings of a 0-0 tie.
Croatia vs. Greece
- When: Thursday, November 9, 2:45 p.m.
- Where: Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia
- UEFA 2018 World Cup Playoffs Betting Odds: Croatia -1 (Over/Under at 2.5)
The Croatians will be disappointed to not have won their qualifying group, finishing a couple of points behind group minnows Iceland. Goals were hard to come by in that group, with Croatia scoring 15 and conceding just 4 in their 10 games. The Greeks have always had trouble finding the back of the net, and it was their offensive struggles that put them in second, well behind Belgium in Group H.
They scored 17 and gave up 6 in their 10 games. Croatia is 3-2-1 in their last 6 games, and I like them to get the win at home in the opening leg, with a 1-0 finish the most likely scenario.
Sweden vs. Italy
- When: Friday, November 10, 2:45 p.m.
- Where: Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden
- UEFA 2018 World Cup Playoffs Betting Odds: Italy PK-145 (Over/Under at 2)
Sweden was one of the more entertaining teams to watch in qualifying, finishing second to France in Group A. The Swedes hammered in 26 goals in their 10 games, and conceded only 9. To be fair, many of those goals came against Lichtenstein, who are not exactly world giants in football.
Italy finished second to Spain in qualifying, scoring 21 and conceding 8 on their way to 23 points from their 10 games. These two play very contrasting styles that I think will cancel each other out. I am going with a 1-1 tie in the first leg in Sweden.
Denmark vs. Ireland
- When: Saturday, November 11, 2:45 p.m.
- Where: Parken, Copenhague, Denmark
- UEFA 2018 World Cup Playoffs Betting Odds: Denmark -1.5 (Over/Under at 2)
Denmark finished Group E with 20 points from their 10 games, scoring 20 goals and conceding just 8 in the process. They have gone unbeaten in their last 5 competitive games, winning 4 and tying once. The Republic of Ireland played a lot of tight games during qualifying, finishing Group D with 19 points, scoring just 12 goals and conceding 6.
Given the style of football that Ireland plays, we can probably expect them to do little in the way of attacking in the first leg, as they will set out for the tie to take home with them. I think Denmark finds a way to break them down and get the win.
Already Qualified Teams
Rest of the World
- Korea Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- Costa Rica