Strong defence and timely goals have propelled France into Sunday's World Cup championship game against underdog Croatia.
Sunday’s World Cup final is set – and nobody could have predicted this matchup at the outset of the event. While France was one of a handful of teams tabbed to get this far, its opponent, Croatia, was a live underdog at best. But thanks to a trio of incredible come-from-behind, extra-time victories, it will participate in its first-ever World Cup final – and in an unsurprising turn of events, the Croatians come in as considerable underdogs.
World Cup 2018: France vs. Croatia Betting Odds Analysis
Moneyline: Croatia +290
Date: Sunday, July 15, 11 a.m. ET
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
It’s hard to hate the French, even at -114 to win in 90 minutes or -278 to prevail outright. France still looks like it has an extra gear, even after recording impressive shutout wins over Uruguay and Belgium to reach the final – and while it won’t make you rich, taking the favored French to post another clean sheet in the title game (-130) is an intriguing option. Six of the past seven World Cups have seen at least one team finish regulation without a goal.
That final stat is worth considering when making a totals bet for this game. The under-2.5-goal play is a bit underwhelming at -215, but considering how solid both teams’ back lines are – not to mention the cautious play the World Cup final has become known for – you might consider putting a little more money down in hopes of a better return. Only one of the previous seven World Cup finals has seen more than two goals scored.
Oddsmakers believe that Antoine Griezmann (+165) and Kylian Mbappe (+199) represent France’s best chance of converting. But there are some intriguing live underdog plays worth considering here, as well. Olivier Giroud comes in at +224 and, despite having struggled mightily in Russia, has the skill set to cash in. Also worth a flier: Samuel Umtiti (+1,200), whose deft 51st-minute header against Belgium set France on the path to victory.
If you like the Croatians to pull off the upset here, you might as well go big: Croatia is +1,400 to prevail in extra time, as it did against England, and +1,069 to prevail in penalties, as it did vs. Denmark and host Russia. Mario Mandzukic is +808 to score in regulation for Croatia – the best odds on the team – but he was banged up late against the English, so bettors might be wiser to opt for Ivan Perisic (+844), who scored Croatia’s first goal vs. England.
France vs. Croatia Prediction
France 2, Croatia 0: There will be no wild comeback this time. Look for France to seize the lead and use its fatigue advantage to wear down a Croatian side that has played an extra game worth of soccer in the elimination round. Vive la France!