Two extremely fun World Cup groups take the field today as Groups E and F begin play.
Group E has affectionately been dubbed this year’s “Group of Death” as it features two European powers in Spain and Germany, plus the likes of Japan and Costa Rica. It’ll be a hotly contested group, as both Japan and Costa Rica will be priming themselves for an upset.
In Group F, Canada hopes to spring an upset amidst world No. 2 Belgium and 2018 finalists Croatia.
Check out all of today’s picks below, of which there are many.
- The Sporting News soccer betting guide
- A central hub for all daily picks & individual match betting guides through the 2022 World Cup
Morocco vs. Croatia prediction, best bet
- Kickoff time: 5 a.m. ET
- Prediction (Win/Draw): Draw
- Best Bet: Morocco double chance
- Odds: -130 (BetMGM)
While Croatia will possess the majority of the ball, Morocco are a side that oozes talent. In what should be a defensive battle, the Atlas Lions will be a handful to deal with. Taking underdogs Morocco to pull out a result and set Croatia on their way to group stage elimination is a smart play here. While Luka Modric is still a top player, the attacking options around him are not quite worthy of breaking down this Moroccan side. Of the five World Cup runners-up since 2002, one failed to reach the knockout stage in the subsequent tournament, one was eliminated in the Round of 16, and two finished third. Croatia will have their work cut out for them to buck the trend. — Kyle Bonn
Germany vs. Japan best bet, prediction
- Kickoff time: 8 a.m. ET
- Prediction (Win/Draw): Germany
- Best Bet: Over 9.0 corners
- Odds: +100 (FanDuel)
- Best Bet: Jamal Musiala to score or assist a goal
- Odds: +115 (FanDuel)
While it might be a little hard to trust the over in this match, as goal scoring chances could be kept somewhat under wraps, the end-to-end action will still be there. Benefitting young Bayern Munich winger Jamal Musiala is a popular pick for Best Young Player at the World Cup, and it should start early on.
Still just 19 years old, Musiala has 12 goals and 10 assists for Bayern this season across all competitions, and with the attacking injuries to Germany, there’s no reason he won’t be in the lineup. Musiala’s 9.77 xG+xA in Bundesliga play ranks him second amongst all German top flight players with at least 3.0 in both categories, behind only Vincenzo Grifo of Freiburg. Germany legend Lothar Mattheus called the kid “Messi-like,” while Owen Hargreaves said that Musiala reminds him of Kaka. Feed me Musiala goal contributions. — Kyle Bonn
Spain vs. Costa Rica prediction, best bet
- Kickoff time: 11 a.m. ET
- Prediction (Win/Draw): Spain
- Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals
- Odds: +110 (BetMGM)
- Best Bet: Costa Rica +1.5 goals
- Odds: +110 (BetMGM)
While Spain should emerge victorious, Costa Rica will muck the game up, and the favorites do not have a host of players that can handle that well. While they don’t feature enough firepower to breach the Spain defense, they certainly do have enough CONCACAF in them to frustrate the European side.
Spain have been held to just one goal recently against both Portugal and Switzerland in Nations League play, and their expected goals total didn’t suggest they were unlucky with their low haul. I believe there’s a good chance that Spain could drop points in this match, but I don’t trust it enough to back it with a bet. What I do trust is Costa Rica’s ability to keep it close. — Kyle Bonn
Belgium vs. Canada prediction, best bet
- Kickoff time: 2 p.m. ET
- Prediction (Win/Draw): Belgium
- Best Bet: Both teams to score
- Odds: -115 (BetMGM)
- Best Bet: Jonathan David anytime goalscorer
- Odds: +300 (BetMGM)
- Best Bet: Kevin de Bruyne to score or assist
- Odds: -140 (FanDuel)
These are two high-quality attacking sides with enough firepower to each find the back of the net. For Belgium, the attacking quality is obvious. When the Red Devils were held off the scoresheet against the Netherlands in Nations League play in late September, it was the first time they had been kept from scoring in any match dating back to June of 2018 when they drew 0-0 with Portugal, a stunning run of 53 matches without being shut out.
Kevin de Bruyne, their main threat, leads the Premier League with 7.05 expected assists. The next closest person is Kevin Trippier with 4.66. He also scores goals, to the tune of 15 Premier League strikes last season, and three this year. Canada can run with Belgium, though.
Les Rouges have rarely been shut out in matches of meaningful stakes, and Belgium can be breached. Belgium’s defense has kept just two clean sheets in their last 13 matches dating back to October of last year, only keeping out African minnows Burkina Faso and a floundering Poland side that still managed to generate 1.14 xG despite holding just 31 percent possession. Canada have a number of dangerous players, but Jonathan David is the most dangerous. He has a sensational 22 goals in 35 international appearances, including seven goals in his last 17 appearances. Against a Belgium side that can concede on occasion, he could be a critical component of any Canada charge. — Kyle Bonn
|Both teams to score||-115||-127|
|Jonathan David anytime goalscorer||+300||+297|
|Kevin de Bruyne to score or assist||-140 (FanDuel)||—|
The Group C chaos was extremely detrimental to yesterday’s picks, downing the day in a big way. The World Cup is full of upsets, and the day was ruined thanks to a few of unexpected occurrences.
Saudi Arabia’s upset was something no one saw coming, as BetMGM claimed it was the biggest upset at a World Cup based on pre-match odds in tournament history. Then, both Denmark and Tunisia played to drab 0-0 draws, stopping a 31-match streak of no scoreless draws at the World Cup.
The Mexico and Poland result was especially frustrating, as the Memo Ochoa save on Robert Lewandowski’s penalty caused both bets from that game to fall. To cap off the day, Australia’s early goal against France set that match up for failure, as it created a need for the Europeans to go into a goalscoring frenzy.
|Picks||✔️ or ❌|
|Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia — Under 2.5 goals
|Andreas Skov Olsen to score or assist (Denmark vs. Tunisia)
|Poland to win (vs. Mexico)
|Poland vs. Mexico — Most goals in 2H
|France to win (vs. Australia) & under 3.5 goals
Soccer best bets records
Records below compiled since the first edition of this post on Monday, October 3.
(+ Won / – Lost)
(60 of 120)
(4 of 8)
2022 World Cup futures picks
With the opening game of the World Cup here, below is a reminder of our World Cup futures selections.
Kyle has gone with tournament favorites Brazil to win the competition, as the Selecao have the most talented and deepest squad in the field. On the back of that pick, Neymar is the selection for Golden Boot winner as the tournament’s top scorer. He’s selected Argentina to win Group C as a favorite, plus Uruguay to win Group H as an underdog to Portugal.
There’s one top team that should fall early, and that’s France who have a soft group, but injuries and poor form could come back to haunt them early in the knockout stage. Finally, the upset picks are Japan to qualify from a difficult Group E, requiring them to pip one of Spain or Germany. Then, he’s gone for Canada to grab an upset in Group F and advance past the likes of Belgium or Croatia.
|✔️ or ❌|
|Brazil to win the 2022 World Cup
|Neymar to win the Golden Boot
|Argentina to win Group C
|Denmark to win Group D
|France to NOT reach quarterfinals
|Uruguay to win Group H
|Japan to qualify from Group E
|Canada to qualify from Group F