It has been 20 years since France won its only World Cup championship - but Les Bleus are well-positioned to challenge for the 2018 title as they kick off Group C action Saturday against Australia.
The French are considered one of the favourites to reach the final, thanks in large part to a star-studded attacking corps and a stout back line. The Socceroos should be a fun team to watch, but stand little chance of gaining any points in this one.
World Cup 2018: France vs. Australia Odds and Betting Analysis
Moneyline: France -464
Date: Saturday, June 16, 6 a.m. ET
Kazan Arena, Kaza
The path to profit here is all about how dominant bettors believe France will be in this one. While there’s little profit in the straight-up victory, a France-France half-time/full-time play is worth a slightly more generous -135. The French are also -154 options to lead after the first half, which seems like a terrific play given the divide in skill level between the teams. France to score first pays at -455, so there isn’t much profit margin there.
The totals options for this one are a little trickier; there’s a chance that France will take its foot off the gas once it goes up by a couple of goals, which would make the under-2.5 goal total (-103) a slightly better play than the over (-123). There is, however, some value in the France/under 2.5-goal parlay, which pays out at +169. You could even add a buffer and roll with France/under 3.5 goals, which pays a not-terrible -141.
Just how dominant are the French? They have five players who are listed at +177 or better to score at any point in the tournament opener; Antoine Griezmann is the top option at +100, with Olivier Giroud (+105) and Kylian Mbappe (+114) not far behind. Mbappe is the player to watch on the French side; the 19-year-old is considered the future star of French football and is a potential steal at +2,800 to win the Golden Ball awarded as tournament MVP.
Any hope the Socceroos have of doing any damage against a formidable French side will come down to the effectiveness of Tomi Juric. The 26-year-old striker has just eight goals in 35 career international matches, but five of those came in World Cup qualifying – tied for the most among all players in the 12-team competition. He’ll face the best France has to offer – but at +1,645 to score, he might be worth a flier, especially if the Aussies are forced to press.
France vs. Australia Prediction
France 3, Australia 0: The French are simply too talented, and are going to want to show off their offensive prowess in what should be a one-sided opener against an Australian side that likely won’t mount much of a challenge at either end of the pitch.