Both Ecuador and Honduras are underestimated by bookies. Worth keeping an eye on, I think they will surprise European teams.
Bookies take some of Iran’s points and distribute among other 3 teams. I do not have much to say on this. I prefer smaller teams from Latin America rather than other minnows.
Nate Silver’s model(as he discussed on ESPN yesterday) has Portugal and USA very close in terms of qualifying. Bookies think USA has the lowest likelihood to go through. I am somewhere in between.
Fwd looking ELO gives a slight edge to Russia to win the group(rounding) . Algeria is not liked by bookies and in general North African teams do worse than Sub Saharan teams in terms of ELO performance during world cups. (Near Eastern teams do worse than East Asian teams as well). So as in the case with Iran, I agree with bookies here.
In 2nd round Group G(Germany and Portugal) gets the easiest draw versus Group H(Russia and Belgium). Group A’s winner (most likely Brazil) will have the toughest opponent in Spain, Netherlands or Chile. France has a clear path to QF’s, and Italy,England and Uruguay will not only battle to qualify but also to win their group as there is a big gap between Colombia and Greece/Ivory Coast/Japan.