After the first round of World Cup qualifying matches, there are some early signs about how Group F will develop. But there is a long way – and a lot of football to be played – before the outright winner is decided. Here we will bring you our predictions and betting tips for which teams will emerge from Group F to make it to the World Cup in Russia in 2018. We also have a live betting odds comparison tool that allows you to quickly compare the odds from the top bookies around, whoever you want to bet on.

The six teams who are battling it out in Group F are England, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta. That also happens to be the order in which the bookies suspect the teams will finish.

England are the strong odds-on favourites in the outright winners market for the group with Bet365 and others pricing them at betting odds of just 1/5. Scotland are a distant second in the betting at the time of writing with Betfair offering a decent price of 8/1 for them to finish top. Slovakia (14/1 with BetVictor) and Slovenia (20/1 with Bet365) are next up, with the two potential whipping boys available at 250/1 (Lithuania) and 4500/1 (Malta) with Bet365 to somehow end the qualification at the top of the pile.

We think those odds are not too far off the mark, but we would perhaps suggest that England shouldn’t be quite so short. They stuttered to a 1-0 victory in their opening qualifier in Slovakia thanks to a late, late Adam Lallana strike, and it might take time for the players to fully respond to new boss Sam Allardyce.

Scotland looked more on-song when thrashing Malta 5-1 away from home, but the victory there was always expected and Gordon Strachan’s men might well struggle against both Slovakia and Slovenia. While we can’t realistically see past England winning the group, the odds comparison isn’t giving us too much to go at. Instead, our main betting tip is to back Slovakia to finish in the top two, which looks great value at odds of 7/4 with BetVictor.

One of the big matches in deciding whether or not Scotland have a chance of winning the group will come when they face England at Wembley on 11th November. England and Scotland first competed against one another way back in 1872, and it is a fixture both sets of fans will be desperate for their side to win. If Scotland get a result in that match – which would, admittedly, be against the odds – they will stand a great chance of usurping England as the favourites in the outright winner market.

Realistically, though, despite the Three Lions going through something of a transition after the replacement of Roy Hodgson with Sam Allardyce, we predict that the quality available to Big Sam will see his side finish at the top of the group. So Scotland will be battling it out for the runners-up spot, but with a tendency to slip up at the crucial moment, we can see the Scots missing out with Slovakia taking second spot. As such a straight forecast of England to finish ahead of Slovakia at the top of Group F could well pay dividends at long odds.


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