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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Betting Tips

Graeme Written on Thursday, June 7th, 2018

The 2018 World Cup kicks off on Thursday, June 14th with just the one game. The hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in a Group A matchup with the other Group A matchup taking place the following day between Egypt and Uruguay.

Saudi Arabia are the least favoured in this group with odds of 9.00 on them to qualfiy. Only Panama are bigger underdogs at 10.00 odds. Russia are the 2nd favourites to win the group behind Uruguay so really need to beat up the Saudis here.

Saudi Arabia qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1994 by finishing 2nd in Group B of the AFC Third Round. While that may not sound impressive they did manage to qualify ahead of Australia on goal difference, score the joint most goals in the group stages, and got a clinical 1-0 win over Japan to qualify in the last match of the groups.

Russia got here by bribery, corruption and blackmail. The question isn’t how Russia will do but just how many English fans they can assault. Should be some good riots at the very least.

Russia vs Saudi Arabia Betting Odds:

Russia To Win: 1.36
Saudi Arabia To Win: 10.00
Draw: 4.33

I will be betting Both Teams To Score at 2.50 odds for 3 units. You can read my reasoning and analysis below, or head directly to Bovada - get a $250 free welcome bonus to place that bet.

(Odds on this page are correct as of 2018/06/07 2:15:53 PM EST but are subject to change)

Russia Analysis:

The Russians have struggled in their friendly games as of late and really haven’t looked at that good. However those are friendlies and it’s going to be quite different here. The fans are going to be going absolutely mental and that should spur the team on, as well as intimidate their opponents.

It looks like Russia will go with a 3 man defense but I’m concerned about the inexperience of those guys especially on the big national stage. They’re missing Kokorin which is brutal and I don’t know if the wing backs have the pace and fitness for this sort of formation. There’s questions there for sure.

They’re a lot better formulated in midfield and up front and Smolov should be good for goals. He’s really progressed in the last couple of years and both Miranchuk and Dzuyba should be solid options with partnering him.

I’m wary of the Russia defense and think they could be ripe to concede a goal or get caught out, but have confidence in their forwards.

Saudi Arabia Analysis:

They’ve changed under Pizzi and play more of a possession based game. Of course it’s one thing to do that against the likes of Algeria in a friendly and another thing entirely to do it against Russia on the grandest stage of them all. We saw how Belgium thumped them back in March for example.

It’s a good fundamental though – play it from the back. The less possession Russia gets the better. They could really frustrate Russia and with the pressure on Russia being the host country….things could get quite interesting.

Mohammad al-Sahlawi is a solid goalscorer and I really hope we see Abdullah al-Khaibari. He’s a hot prospect and off the bench coul provide some danger.

I also think Russia have to be concerned about Fahad al-Muwallad who can expose them on the flank. He could be a nightmare for the defense.

Russia vs Saudi Arabi Betting Tips:

Russia deserve to be the favourites and they really should win this one. I mean it could quite easily end up being 5-0.

However I do think the Russia defense is questionable and the pressure could affect them if they don’t score quickly. Even if they do they could get complacent – we’ve seen teams in this spot before where they go up 1-0 and with the pressure just try and hang on.

I think the Saudis are good for a goal at least in this one.

I use a 1/3/5 unit betting system based on my confidence, and I am going with Both Teams To Score for 3 units. You can bet that at Bovada - get a $250 free welcome bonus.

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Hi Graeme,
Im coming from yer NHL analyses, Ive enjoyed the season verrry much, but as a german much more into football. First: High-5 for your political statements here! Yes – and thanks! Second: Russia still has an elderly team (while the Saudis arent much younger) and is under big pressure while the Saudis play first time for pride and honour. Prediction: not many goals, maybe 1-1- or 2-0 -as already seen last Euros, more than 50% under 2.5 goals (34/17 Euros 2016) in all games, and only the more predictable ones over 2.5. Good Luck!


Good to see you here mate 🙂 And yeah there will be a lot of low scoring games for sure. There are always a lot of teams who come into this tournament just happy to be here and go for the draw, then other teams who are just happy to go up 1-0 and sit back. Let’s hope the Saudis go for it today altho my fear is it ends up being a really dull one.


“Russia deserve to be the favourites and they really should win this one. I mean it could quite easily end up being 5-0.”

Well I called that part right at least! Saudis had a couple of decent chances and I think were a tad unlucky not to score. Their defense is atrocious though. They had the most possession as expected but did nothing with it. Russia might get overrated by the bookies though which would be nice.


I loved your analysis. Also we saw today the matchup between Saudi Arabia and Germany and they looked quite good with the ball possession.
Also Russia can lose if they underestimate the opponent. I’m going with your pick or the Draw for this first match.