With soccer fans counting down the hours until kickoff of the World Cup opener between host Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, it’s time to make some 2022 World Cup predictions.
We’ll start by prognosticating about the USA’s chances in Group B (and beyond??). We’ll also throw out a few predictions about which countries will reach the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and, of course, the final on December 18 at Lusail Stadium.
For most fans in the US, how much they enjoy this World Cup depends on how the young but talented roster led by Gregg Berhalter fares in Group B. USMNT supporters are always champing at the bit when the World Cup comes around every four years. The team’s failure to qualify in Russia in 2018 has only piqued anticipation for this year. Having a growing list of players at elite European clubs – Christian Pulisic is one of several on a Champions League team – also helps.
Without further ado, a few picks regarding the USMNT:
Prediction: USA Will Advance From Group B
This team had some struggles in CONCACAF qualifying, but the most talented roster in USMNT history will do what several previous editions have done in finishing second or better in group play. Over three games apiece, it’s hard to imagine the US earning more points than an England roster stacked with Premier League stars. The talent edge Berhalter’s team has over Wales and Iran, though – particularly the latter – should be enough.
The US are slight favorites to go through at most sportsbooks, including DraftKings (-105), Caesars (-120) and FanDuel (-105).
USA's World Cup 2022 Odds
|USMNT's odd to:||DraftKings||Caesars (Code TODAYFULL)||BetRivers||FanDuel|
|Win World Cup||+13000||+10000||+15000||+12000|
|Win Group B||+500||+550||+600||+550|
Here are odds from DraftKings Sportsbook on the USA’s three Group B games:
- November 21, 2 p.m. Eastern: USA (+165) vs. Wales (+195), Draw (+195)
- November 25, 2 p.m. Eastern: USA (+500) vs. England (-165), Draw (+275)
- November 29, 2 p.m. Eastern: USA (+100) vs. Iran (+280), Draw (+230)
All 32 teams’ futures: 2022 World Cup odds
Prediction: Christian Pulisic Leads USMNT in Goals
Another not-so-hot take: the Pennsylvania native comes up big in the spotlight. In the team’s last meaningful game, the penultimate CONCACAF qualifier against Panama on March 27, Pulisic produced a hat trick that included two PKs. He finished with five goals in his team’s 14 qualifiers to lead the squad, and he’s the best bet (if not the most outside-the-box) to do so in Qatar.
On FanDuel, Pulisic is +850 – nine players have shorter odds — to be the first scorer in the team’s World Cup opener against Wales. His anytime scorer price of +390 on FanDuel also offers great value if you like the USMNT’s chances to take down Wales.
Who will be top goalscorer in Qatar: Odds to win 2022 Golden Boot
Prediction: US Hangs With England
I’m not quite ready to call the massive upset, but I expect USA-England to be competitive. As loaded as England are, they played a ton of close games at Euro 2020 last summer en route to the final. In group play of that tournament, the Three Lions beat both the Czech Republic and Croatia 1-0 and drew Scotland 0-0. With that – and England’s struggles in their most recent pre-World Cup matches – in mind, the following bets for USA-England, which bettors can find on DraftKings, look tempting:
- USA Team Total Goals: Over 0.5 (-160)
- Double Chance: Tie or USA (+135)
Let’s conclude with three 2022 World Cup predictions unrelated to the USMNT.
Prediction: Brazil or Argentina Will Represent South America in World Cup Final
The sentimental pick for a lot of fans, and gamblers, is Argentina. Lionel Messi’s recent form for Paris St. Germain, plus his team’s Copa America-winning performance last summer, make Argentina (+500 to win the World Cup on BetMGM) a smart pick, though, even if we set aside one of the biggest storylines of the tournament.
We’re referring, of course, to soccer fans across the planet pulling for the G.O.A.T. (sorry, Cristiano Ronaldo) to finish his international career with a World Cup trophy.
Brazil, on the other hand, have become the clear favorite in recent weeks. The recent squad reveal confirming that Manager Tite will have a deep group of forwards to complement Neymar that includes Gabriel Jesus and Vinicius Jr., to name just a few, has seemingly attracted a lot of money on the Brazilians. The team’s odds to win the World Cup are as short as +320 on FanDuel.
Prediction: One of the South American juggernauts will reach this year’s World Cup final. And as it turns out, yes, it is possible to bet on one of these teams winning the tournament: Winner, Double Chance: Brazil or Argentina is currently +220 on FanDuel.
Prediction: France Comes up Short in Qatar
Of the World Cup favorites on top sports betting apps, France is one team to avoid.
Every squad in this tournament either is – or will be by the end of group play – missing key players. But France starts the tournament without either N’Golo Kante or Paul Pogba in Qatar. Both played key roles in France taking home the 2018 World Cup.
If their absences weren’t enough, it came to light on Tuesday that RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku won’t be available, either, after suffering an injury in training. Another player originally included on France’s World Cup squad, PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe, has also been ruled out. France has replaced Kimpembe with 24-year-old Axel Disasi of Monaco.
The other reason to fade France is the well-documented trend of World Cup winners struggling in the following edition of the tournament. In 2018, 2014 champ Germany was eliminated during group play. The 2010 winner, Spain, also failed to reach the knockout rounds in 2014.
If you need another reason to doubt France, recall their elimination in the round of 16 in Euro 2020, when they lost 3-3 to Switzerland in a game they led 3-1 after 80 minutes.
France Stage of Elimination: Round of 16 is currently priced at +220 on FanDuel.
Prediction: Canada Reaches Round of 16
The FIFA draw did Canada no favors by putting them in a tough group F with Belgium (-190 to win the group on DraftKings), Croatia (+200), and Morocco (+850). The Canadian side, led by Manager John Herdman and Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies, is +1000 to win the group. That seems farfetched, but Canada at +275 to Advance from Group F offers great value.
In four games against Mexico and the US in CONCACAF qualifying, Canada looked like the better side, going 2-2-0 against their neighboring rivals.
With a solid coach and two difference makers for top European sides — Davies and Lille’s Jonathan David, who has scored nine goals in 15 games for the French club — Canada profiles as a team worth backing, World Cup inexperience be damned. Don’t be afraid to bet on a country making just its second World Cup appearance in history.