2022 World Cup Group A Betting Odds and Expert Predictions
Group A odds to win the group:
The World Cup is just days away, and the group stage betting lines are now open. There are numerous ways to attack the markets, and plenty of money can be made during the group stage. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the competitors.
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Ecuador is participating in the fourth World Cup in their country’s history, last qualifying in 2014 in Brazil. However, their best finish was in 2006, where they lost in the Round of 16. Ecuador is heading to Qatar with the second youngest squad in the tournament and are hoping the youthful jubilance can carry them deep into the knockout stages. Ecuador is led by veteran Enner Valencia, who will be hoping to link up with youngster Gonzalo Plata. While off-field issues have marred the success of this team, Ecuador finished fourth in qualifying and should feel they have a legitimate chance of qualifying from their subpar group.
Netherlands were dealt a dream World Cup draw when they needed it most. After finishing second in 2010 and 3rd in 2014, Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. However, getting drawn into the group of Qatar, Pot B dweller Netherlands will be overjoyed, having avoided the perennial heavyweights. Led by Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay, Netherlands will be hoping their easy group can propel them to a first-place seed, and a date with Wales or USA in the knockout stage. While they may not have the talent to compete with the world’s best, an easy group and first knockout stage game may be enough to keep this squad healthy and rested. Anything short of a Quarter-Finals appearance will be seen as a huge failure for the Dutch team, and 7+ points feels well within reach in the group stage.
Qatar will be competing at their first ever World Cup, thanks to the fact that they are the hosts. Leading up to the 2022 World Cup, there has been immense criticism for awarding Qatar the World Cup in the first place, as the nation is ranked 50th in the world. Adding to the dismay, the human rights violations witnessed during the construction of the stadiums is obscene. However, Qatar will be looking to leave the off-field issues in the past and put up a solid performance in Group A. Midfielder Akram Afif is Qatar’s best player, but the talent is simply not there. The group stage is just 3 games long, so anything can happen, but I expect Qatar to struggle to achieve a single point at home.
Senegal are competing at their third World Cup and will be looking to match their quarter-final appearance in 2002. Senegal were dealt massive injury news as Sadio Mane may not be able to participate, despite being named to the squad. While Mane is certainly Senegal’s best player, all hope is not lost without him. Senegal still possesses a very talented squad, with a multitude of star potential in every position. A trio of Premier League stars in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, and Idrissa Gueye will be looking to solidify the spine of the team, and explosive winger Ismaila Sarr will look to spring counter attacks. Senegal certainly will be entering Group A in the underdog role to Netherlands, but an achievable second-place finish over Ecuador would be good enough to advance. Even without Mane, Senegal are the clear second place team in Group A.
Group A looks to be one of the more predictable groups in Qatar. Netherlands appears to be a lock for the No. 1 spot, while Qatar should bow out in fourth place. The coveted second place spot will go down to the final day and will be decided in the pivotal Ecuador vs Senegal match on November 29. From a betting aspect, there is certainly money to be made. At first glance, Qatar to finish bottom at -175 and Netherlands to finish top at -210 appear to be locks. However, if the standings are Netherlands 6, Ecuador and Senegal 3, and Qatar 0 after two games, Netherlands may rest their players in the final game, allowing Qatar to get out of the basement.
The best bet in Group A is Senegal to qualify, at -110 odds. I expect Senegal to beat Ecuador on the final day, securing their spot in the last 16. At -110 odds, there is solid value for Senegal to cash our ticket, as they are the superior team to Ecuador. Additionally, a sprinkle on Senegal to win the group at +500 represents incredible value. If Senegal can get even a single point against the Dutch, they will have a great chance of securing the coveted top spot. I do believe Netherlands will go on to win the group, but the -210 price tag leaves them unplayable.
Group A Predictions:
Netherlands 7 Points
Senegal 7 Points
Ecuador 3 Points
Qatar 0 Points
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