While tensions between the West and Russia are currently a political simmering pot, football fans will be hoping that politics and their favourite sport are kept separate when it comes to this summer’s World Cup Finals. Thankfully, there are no online sports books currently offering odds on the event being cancelled, or on England pulling out of the competition.

The opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia is now less than two months away, so the thinking betting man is starting to get the feel of what bets they should be making. Here we take a look at some of the best early betting tips for the 2018 World Cup Finals.

The clever money on whom is going to win the whole kit and kaboodle is being split between Germany and Brazil. The bookmakers cannot decide between either, with both teams currently being quoted at around 19/4 (5.75). A better bet could be on the sides to reach the final. Both Germany and Brazil are around 13/5 (3.60) to do so, with France at 3/1 (4.00) and Spain at 17/5 (4.40). If you’re feeling patriotic you can get 9/1 (10.00) on England reaching the final and as much as 18/1 (19.00) on them winning it.

The World Cup will of course showcase many of the globe’s twinkled-toed talents, and the most money is being placed on Lionel Messi to finish as the competition’s top goalscorer at 10/1 (11.00) although there’s the question of just how far a lackluster Argentina may progress. Backing PSG hot-shot Neymar at 12/1 (13.00) could be seen as more intelligent selection. For a slightly outlandish outside bet, how about going for Edinson Cavani at 25/1 (26.00) or Luis Suarez at 20/1 (25.00). The reasoning? Uruguay are in potentially the easiest qualifying group alongside Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt so Cavani or Suarez may fill their boots goals-wise at the group stage. If that sounds unreasonable, then know that the little-known Russian Oleg Salenko finished as joint top scorer in 1994 with six goals, despite only scoring in two games. Notably, those six goals were the only goals Salenko ever scored for his country.

There’s a lot more you can bet on of course when it comes to the 2018 World Cup Finals, such as the winners of each group, and the result and multiple markets regarding every single one of the sixty-four matches that will take place. For the best in betting tips, you can plenty more World Cup betting tips here, published on a daily basis.

If you want to come over all patriotic, then perhaps the best bet for England will be to select the top English goalscorer. Tottenham striker Harry Kane is the red-hot favourite for that title, with odds as tight as 11/10 (2.10). The smarter money, however, may be put on Raheem Sterling at 8/1 (9.00) who’s coming off his best-ever season for Manchester City, netting over twenty times for the 2017-18 EPL title winners. If you think that England are going to draw a complete blank at the competition, then you can get 25/1 (26.00) on just that happening.

All eyes will soon be on Gareth Southgate’s squad selection for the finals, and the former under-21 boss may spring some surprises when it comes to selecting the twenty-three men who’ll be heading to Russia. If you fancy a shock selection that has a good chance of paying off then go for Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon at around 8/1 (9.00). The youngster is likely to be patrolling England’s left flank in the not-too-distant future, and Southgate may decide to take Sessegnon along to Russia for the experience.