What can we expect from the US men’s national team as the World Cup approaches? Former Sportzshala Senior Fellow Paul Carr, now TruMedia Senior Director of Content and covering his fourth Men’s World Cup, Sportzshala FC host Dan Thomas and Sportzshala broadcaster and analyst Dalene Cuff offer their tips and betting suggestions for the United States first game and beyond. , what to do. expect from them in the tournament as a whole.
Let’s start from the very beginning, with the first USA vs. Wales, where Sam’s Army win line is +160, and both teams win +550. Do you like Gregg Berhalter’s wards to open the tournament strongly or are you waiting for disappointment behind the gates?
Dalene Cuff: It’s hard to keep bias from leaking out here. Both teams know how critical this game is given how this group is set up. Since 1998, when 32 teams entered the tournament, 84% of the teams that win the first match are eliminated from the group. Wales are not a dynamic attacking side, despite having an aged Gareth Bale and plenty of balls in the box looking for the head of the big Kieffer Moore. While there are great young attacking talents in the US, they have not caught on in recent months. They are also the youngest team in the tournament and with the nerves involved I don’t know what we will see. I think this match is low scoring, but less than 2.5 has no value at -205. I was thinking about emotional hedging with Wales Draw No Bet +105. But I go all-in, the Yankees win +160.
Dan Thomas: I think this tournament will be a struggle for USMNT. I just don’t believe they perform at that level. I think the disappointment will start with the opener. I think it will be hard hours – and the score is 0:0.
Paul Carr: Both teams often struggle to score, but as Dalen said, less than 2.5 doesn’t matter at -205. I’m leaning towards the US because I think they have more dangerous strikers and although Wales are solidly on the defensive, they still conceded the expected 1.2 goals per game in qualifying. I play US Draw No Bet at -135 and I don’t mind less than 1.5 at +145 either.
With odds of +10,000, it’s a long way to think that the Americans can win the entire tournament, but victory in Group B is a bit more realistic at odds of +550. What do you think? Can they win the group against England again like they did in 2010, or is a play-off (-120) the best they can hope for?
Carr: In a small tournament, +550 (maybe) to the second best team for winning the group is worth the price. As 2010 showed, one break or bounce turns a group on its head. I don’t think -120 is a great price to move across the US. If we assume for simplicity that England always advances, I don’t think the US also advances more than half the time. The difference between the US and Wales and even Iran is not that big. The only group game I like here is Iran, which is moving forward from +333. On the pitch, Iran has a strong defense, conceding five goals in 16 qualifying matches, and arguably Porto’s best non-English forward Mehdi Taremi. The gap between Iran’s price and US/Wales prices should not be that big.
Cuff: Betting on winning all of this is a waste of money. A quarter-final run would have been impressive and a huge success. But I have already said in previous posts that England is disappearing from me. I don’t think their recent form and Garett Southgate’s great defensive approach will deliver results like they did in the last two major tournaments. I’m more worried about the Wales opening than what the Yankees can do in an England game where all the pressure is on the Three Lions. I’m definitely playing in the US to qualify, but I’m going to add a bit to the group win given its value.
Thomas: I don’t think they leave the group. I haven’t seen anything from them that gives me confidence that they can get results even when they play against players like Iran and Wales.
Obviously, your answer above probably gives us a hint to the next question, but inquisitive minds want to know if you think there is any reason to take any action on the USMNT in the second and third games of the tournament? They are +470 against England and +102 against Iran, with potential promotion on the line in this undeniably tense final match.
Carr: Considering how much one injury, card or goal can change the motivation in subsequent games, I’m not interested in playing in future matches until the first set is done. One team could already be relegated, losing a key player, or dealing with god knows what else. I would like to get as much information as possible before making calls about the games of the second and third groups.
Cuff: I’m not currently investing in the second or third game; I need to see how the whole group looks in uniform and at the table before playing.
Thomas: The game with Iran is probably their best chance to score three points and I know it sounds like a broken record, but I don’t think they can do even that.
Much of the hype leading up to Qatar is (rightly) centered on Christian Pulisic, who is currently the +300 favorite to lead the US in tournament goals. Is the choice of chalk the right one to make here, or will you try to shoot someone else?
Cuff: I think this US team has evolved and is not so dependent on Pulisic scoring. Combined with this, each opponent’s game plan will focus on stopping them. I think in the future it is possible to play much better than the top scorer, but if I had to play I would look at Tim Weah with +1200. He is one of our most dynamic strikers, who I think is ready to break through in the tournament.
Thomas: This is going to sound terrible and I hope I’m wrong, but I could see they don’t score at all in the tournament which is very important at +1600.
Carr: Dan hates America, doesn’t he? It is clear that Pulisic is losing, in part because he takes the penalty. The difficulty in choosing anyone else is that we are guessing the composition of Gregg Berhalter. Jesus Ferreira or Josh Sargent upstairs? Weah, Brenden Aaronson or Gio Reina vs. Pulisic? I think Ferreira will start in at least two games, so I’ll take him at +450 given how Berhalter’s system is designed to channel chances to the centre-forward and that Ferreira was shooting every 32 minutes in qualifying. At higher odds, I don’t mind Weston McKenny at +1600 with his ability on set pieces and late in the box.