The anticipation continues to build for Opening Day. Punters are beyond ready to Bet the World Cup. Host country Russia will start off the festivities with the only game on June 14. The FIFA World Cup opener features Saudi Arabia and Russia. It is an event that has captivated the nation. And of course, its President Vladimir Putin. Russia is a solid favorite in this tournament kickoff game. But much of that is because Saudi Arabia is weak. The Green Falcons are simply glad to be at the party. For Russia matters are far more serious.
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Date and Time: Thursday, June 14, 2018 11 a.m. ET
Location: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: FOX
Excitement prior to Russia
National pride will be at stake in the capital city of Russia. Putin and all key Russian leaders will be at Luzhniki Stadium for a moment of pride. Hosting the World Cup ranks with the 2014 Winter Olympics for the natives. And this is a chance for Russian football to shine. But Russia’s Bet the World Cup stock is falling. They have dropped to a FIFA ranking of 66th. Skepticism is growing, even among the home fans.
The sting of a last place finish in group B at the 2016 Euros remains. As does a history of just eight out of 27 possible points in previous World Cups. Russia is trying to buck enormous odds. As well as its losing history. Stanislav Cherchesov was hired as new manager after the Euro disaster. He has not had a smooth transition. Russia has won just five out of 18 matches since he took over. But as bad as things have been this match offers hope.
Russia will rely on Fyodor Smolov for their offensive production. The Russian talisman is their most able player. Smolov scored 63 goals for Krasnodar in 99 Russian Premier League matches. Smolov and Artem Dzyuba are the only men on the team with more than 10 international goals.
Tough Road up Ahead
Saudi Arabia is truly awful. They had to build a defensive fortress to back into this tournament. Scoring will be a significant problem form the Green Falcons. Yet as bad as they are they currently rank 67th in FIFA. Their history is as bad as the host team. In their previous three World Cup appearances they have scored but three goals. They have never won a World Cup game. Off-putting to gamblers is that that they needed a 1-0 win over a bad Japan team to qualify.
Mohammad Al Sahlawi
What little offense Saudi Arabia has will come from Mohammad Al Sahlawi. This is the sportsbook online key to whatever ability they have for an upset. He scored 16 goals 14 apps for the Green Falcons in qualifying.
Matchup to Watch
These teams are a stark contrast to Bet the World Cup with. Russia is known for high scoring games. Conversely Saudi Arabia is known for snooze fest low score bores. The difference in the match is likely Igor Akinfeev. The Russian goaltender is top shelf. And Russia’s motivation will be clearly superior.
World Cup Betting Odds Picks
Russia’s World Cup opener should be a happy day for all. Except for Saudi Arabia that is!
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Russia
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Russia 2, Saudi Arabia 0
Check out a profile on Russia’s Fedor Smolov!