Group I is perhaps the most fascinating of the nine UEFA World Cup qualifying groups. In some pools it is very clear both who will top the group and who should finish second but in Group I, there really is everything to play for. Read on as we give you the lowdown on Group I, bringing you the best odds through our odds comparison, as well as our predictions and betting tips for who will book their spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Group I features Kosovo, the footballing world’s newest nation, as well as Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland and Iceland. That provides a nice mix in terms of football styles, cultures and climates and this could prove to be one of the interesting groups in qualifying for the next World Cup.

Our live odds comparison is with you every step of the way on the long and winding road to Russia 2018. As well as bringing you the best odds for the outright winner betting of all the UEFA groups, we’ll also have odds comparison for every match along the way too. Throw in our betting tips and predictions and you have a great head-start when it comes to making a profit betting on the World Cup qualifiers.

Kosovo are the big outsiders when it comes to who the bookies think will top the group. They are priced at best odds of 150/1 with Bet365. However, they are as short as 33/1 with some betting sites and given some groups contain minnows at odds of 5,000/1 in the outright winner market, it’s clear Kosovo may be able to have their say in Group I.

Finland are 100/1 with Bet365 but priced at just 20/1 with William Hill, whilst Iceland, who won so many hearts with their performances at Euro 2016, are next in the group winner betting at odds of 6/1 with William Hill.

That shows just how tight and unpredictable this group may be and even if we discount Kosovo and Finland, we still have four sides at single-digit odds in the group outright winner market.

Turkey are 4/1, again with Hill’s, whilst Ukraine are priced at odds of 10/3 with Coral and the favourites are Croatia. Croatia, who many fancied to go far at the recent Euros but ultimately succumbed to eventual winners Portugal in the first knockout phase, can be backed at odds of 5/4 (with Coral).

As they showed at the Euros when beating Spain and Turkey, they offer a fine blend of technical ability, organisation, flair and skill. Allayed to their vigour and patriotic desire this is a potent mix and they are worthy favourites.

In Mario Mandžukić, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic they have players who could grace almost any side in the world. Given their experience we simply have to predict they will top Group I and odds of 5/4, even in an open group, look like good value.

The close nature of Group I was perfectly illustrated in the first round of fixtures. Croatia v Turkey, Finland v Kosovo and Ukraine v Iceland all finished 1-1. Not too much can be drawn from that but Turkey’s solid result in Croatia means we think they are the side who will nick second. They can be backed at short odds of 5/4 for a top two spot but with Ukraine at evens that looks good value and we predict the Croatia/Turkey forecast could well pay off handsomely too.


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