The wait is almost over, as the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in three days!
So prepare to be thrilled as we watch the globe’s top athletes battle it out for an exciting four weeks on FOX.
Group play among the 32 teams opens in Qatar Sunday, Nov. 20, and will last for nearly two weeks. As teams prepare to compete to reach the knockout stage, I have you covered with my five best bets you should place before the group stage begins.
Let’s dive in (all odds via FOX Bet).
The home nation has a massive uphill climb to get a win, but Ecuador might be their best chance. Unfortunately, Qatar isn’t really battle tested as their games leading up to the World Cup were against inferior teams.
If you think the big Senegal injury opens the door for Ecuador to sneak out of the Group, bet it now before they win the opener.
England comes in as a heavy favorite in this match and to win the tournament.
The pressure on this squad will be the most since David Beckham patrolled the midfield. Can prolific goalscorer Harry Kane carry this team?
With England’s Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker nursing injuries, I expect them to look ahead against an inferior Iran team. A flat performance here from the Three Lions with the USMNT looming next would not surprise me.
PICK: Draw +310 at FOX Bet
I listed Senegal as one of my tournament sleepers this summer, but that’s over now that their best player, Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane, will not play in the World Cup.
The Netherlands finished third in the 2014 World Cup but missed 2018. They have the most talent in Group A, led by scorers Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong, so there’s a chance they roll here.
There aren’t many European teams hotter than the Netherlands coming into the World Cup. They are unbeaten in all eight matches in 2022, including wins over Denmark, Belgium twice, Wales twice and Poland.
I like the Netherlands to cruise, so grab them to win. And if you are feeling frisky, sprinkle a little on De Jong to score. +525 is juicy.
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Wales, which qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, is battle-tested, having faced the likes of Belgium, Netherlands and other World Cup teams in 2022. That’s the good news. The bad news? They went 2-5-1, with wins over Ukraine and Austria. And neither of those teams qualified for the World Cup.
Everyone knows star Gareth Bale, one of LAFC’s heroes in the MLS Cup. But the U.S. has a more talented roster with more depth. Will the youngest team in the field — the USMNT — come out playing with reckless abandon and surprise Wales? Or will they come out nervous and tight, with the lack of experience being a major factor?
The youngest team in the 2018 World Cup, Nigeria, lost its opener 2-0 to Croatia. Belgium, the youngest team in the 2014 World Cup, won its first game 3-0 against Panama and advanced all the way to the semifinals, losing to France.
I like the United States to pull out a 2-1 victory here, so I will make an exact score bet. The wager is definitely worth a sprinkle, especially at 9-1 odds. If you want to go a safer route, take the USMNT to just win, at +145 at FOX Bet.
In the last 12 group stage games, Argentina has lost once and that was to Croatia in 2018. Croatia ended up finishing in third place in the World Cup.
This match presents a massive mismatch, but it’s not a game I want to gamble on. Argentina is going to win, so then the question becomes, by how much?
The books will juice all Lionel Messi props, so the smart move is to bet on a guy I think has a chance at the Golden Boot. I like Lautaro Martinez to score a goal — +3300 at FOX Bet to win the Golden Boot — so plus money seems juicy here.
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