Perhaps for the first time in decades, England are going into a major tournament with very little expectations.
The media have been noticeably quiet in their pre-tournament hype and the public are all pretty unsure as to what to expect.
This is now a side that has moved on from the so called Golden Generation, which of course won nothing on the international stage.
It is now Tottenham that make up the spine of the team, from the midfield anchor Eric Dier through to Dele Alli and captain Harry Kane upfront. These men will undoubtedly be huge in deciding just how far England can progress.
The betting suggests they are lively outsiders at a top price 18/1 with ourselves at ValueBet. That is about the rite price I feel, I certainly wouldn’t take any less.
There is always a tad of keeping the exposure down to a minimum on England however. The patriot money has flowed in a little and will continue to do so until Monday.
For me the worry for England is the defence, somewhere we have been strong in years gone by. There isn’t a peak Rio Ferdinand, John Terry or Ashley Cole in there anymore. It’s a fairly unsettled backline, with much tinkering over the previous few games.
We still don’t know if Southgate will start Gary Cahill or give Harry Maguire a chance. There is also the fact they have three inexperienced keepers to choose from. Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope are all capable but share just 12 caps between them.
Another stat for concern is the fact that Kane himself has failed to score in a major tournament for England so far.
If England are to go any decent distance then Kane must start scoring. I do believe he will however, and I even feel there is some each way value in backing Kane to be tournament top scorer at 18/1.
I feel if they should win their first two games, the momentum could see them turnover a Belgium side that have yet to turn up on the world stage. England are 6/4 to win their group and this could be a decent selection to place in an accumulator of group winners.
For a more realistic tournament winner its hard to look past the market leaders Brazil and Germany. They both have squads packed full of quality, with decent blends of youth and experience. They are also national teams that just seem to turn up at the business end of these tournaments.
They are both priced at 9/2 and I would anticipate that Brazil will most likely go off as favourites. I think they could be both worth taking on from a betting perspective however. These knock out rounds all come down to tight margins, and for me Spain and France at 7/1 both look like better value.
They also both have quality packed squads and France in particular impress me. Could this be the year Kylian Mbappe announces himself on the world stage? He is a lively 33/1 to be top tournament scorer and at a ¼ odds each way I feel that’s also worth a small investment.
At the longer odds, I feel Senegal could be something of an unknown quantity. The dangerous Sadio Mane upfront will be a source of hope for goals, whilst Idrissa Gueye has had a good season for Everton in midfield.
I’m not suggesting they will get to the final, though they could be worth backing at 5/1 to win their group ahead of Colombia, Poland and Japan.
As we did for Euro 2016 we have gone Back One Get One Free on first goalscorers and correct scores up to a maximum stake of £10. Both selections must be in the same match however. So if you do feel like some value, get down to West Park Avenue for your World Cup investments. And as always, keep it fun!