World Cup Betting Guide: Saturday 12/3/22
The group stage of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup is now behind us, and while the opening 48 matches in the competition provided no shortage of memorable moments, the knockout rounds always push the excitement -- and the drama -- to another level.
Sixteen nations still dream of earning the title of world champions, though that number will be trimmed to just eight over the next four days.
That process begins in Doha Saturday with a pair of intriguing matches involving two of world soccer’s bluebloods and a pair of dangerous underdogs.
For more on what to expect on the first day of the Round of 16, read on, and be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for all the World Cup odds and more.
Netherlands (-235 to advance) vs. USA (+190)
Khalifa International Stadium | Ar-Rayyan, Qatar | 10 a.m. EST
America! Four years after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Gregg Berhalter’s Yanks have done the nation proud in their return to the sport’s biggest stage.
After going unbeaten in a difficult group that featured England, Iran, and Wales, the USMNT have reached the knockout round for the sixth time in program history, and there’s optimism they can extend their stay in Qatar for at least another match.
Much of that hope stems from the formidable way they’ve defended at this tournament.
The US has yet to concede from open play, allowing only a Gareth Bale penalty -- a run that includes a shutout of an English side that scored a tournament-high nine goals in their other two group matches.
They’ve not been surviving on a bevy of saves by Matt Turner, either. Tim Ream and Co. are allowing just 6.3 shots per game, the fourth-fewest among the 32 teams assembled on the Arabian Peninsula.
Similarly, the Dutch -- who, like the US, were a shock non-participant at Russia 2018 -- also went unbeaten in their opening three matches in Qatar thanks to an equally staunch defensive record.
Like the Americans, Louis Van Gaal’s side has conceded just once thus far, but they haven’t impressed on the other end against what universally was considered the weakest group in the field.
The Oranje managed only eight shots on goal combined against Senegal, Ecuador, and Qatar, highlighted by a paltry expected goal (xG) total of 0.1 in their 1-1 draw with the Ecuadorians.
In short, in this matchup of defensive-minded sides, don’t expect a lot of scoring in this match… even though the last meeting between these two was a 4-3 friendly victory for the Americans in 2015.
Going Deeper: numberFire’s projections have the Netherlands’ win probability at 66.4%. In 11 games this calendar year, the Dutch are 8-0-3, with every match in that span against a team that qualified for Qatar. Even if they’ve not looked great in this tournament, they’re favorites in this one for a reason.
Call To Action: Neither side has been particularly sharp offensively, and both have proven difficult to break down, so expect a tight, low-scoring affair Saturday morning. With that in mind, neither side presents great value to advance straight up, so consider backing either team to move on in extra time (+550) or on penalties (+450). Note that three of the eight Round-of-16 matches in the 2018 World Cup went to extra time, and all three were decided on kicks from the spot.
Argentina (-1800) vs. Australia (+1140)
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium | Ar-Rayyan, Qatar | 2pm ET
Here are the blind resumes of the two teams involved in this Round of 16 match:
Team A has allowed the fewest shots per game (3.7) of any team in Qatar and has kept two clean sheets en route to a pair of victories. Offensively, Team A has scored in all three group-stage matches. Their lone loss came in the opening match of group play after their opposition erased a one-goal deficit.
Team B has made the most interceptions (34) of any team in Qatar and has posted two clean sheets en route to a pair of victories. Offensively, Team B has scored in all three group-stage matches. Their lone loss came in the opening match of group play after their opposition erased a one-goal deficit.
See?! The Argentines and the Aussies aren’t all that different! Take the Socceroos at +1140!!
Those crossovers. Like an Australian Allen Iverson. As it stands, Australia heading to knockout rounds