World Cup Betting Guide for Thursday 12/1/22: Can Germany Convert as a Huge Favorite Over Costa Rica?
We all know that the World Cup doesn’t come around every year, and that can make for some difficult projecting.
Team qualifying samples are small, injuries are crucial, and opponent adjustments must be made before projecting out World Cup matches.
Thankfully, we have ways to do that, and numberFire’s World Cup betting model offers up game-specific projections for each stage of the World Cup.
Here are the best bets for World Cup action on Thursday, December 1st.
(Note: all records are listed in win-loss-draw format rather than win-draw-loss. All expected goal data from FBRef.)
Canada (+270) vs. Morocco (+105)
Draw odds: +230
Canada is already eliminated from Group F, so this is a three-team race for the two qualifying spots. Morocco has earned four points thus far and now faces a Canada side that has lost both matches.
Morocco needs just a draw to advance despite owning what I have as the second-worst offense in the World Cup by opponent-adjusted expected goals (xG) per match (0.46). They've earned points behind a strong defense, permitting 0.63 adjusted xG per match, a top-six mark.
Given a bad offense and good defense for the favored side, this one seems like it'll play close to even if Morocco does convert on their advancement opportunity (and a draw will do). For that reason, Canada +1.0 (-150) rates out as the best option here.
Croatia (+165) vs. Belgium (+165)
Draw odds: +230
This matchup is totally even between Belgium and Croatia, each of whom is +165 to win. Draw odds are pretty high at +230.
A win will see either side advance, so we can expect a bit of urgency in this matchup.
Belgium (0.79 adjusted xG per match) ranks only 26th among World Cup offenses through two matches. Croatia (1.67) ranks fourth while also boasting the third-best defensive output (0.37 xG allowed with adjustments).
The best value here is under 2.5 goals (-136). Belgium has struggled to find the back of the net without Romelu Lukaku, although Lukaku may be fit to start in this one, and Croatia's defense is on point. My model thinks the under should be -155.
Japan (+750) vs. Spain (-270)
Draw odds: +380
I'm hesitant to call Spain a big favorite with Germany lurking in the next match preview, but they're still a big favorite versus Japan.
A win gets Spain the top spot in Group E, but a draw alone is enough for them to move on.
Japan advances with a win and is eliminated with a loss; a draw plus an unlikely Costa Rica win would eliminate Japan.
Unsurprisingly, Spain rates out well in adjusted xG allowed (0.43 per match to rank them fourth), but they're also sixth (1.54) offensively. Japan is about average offensively (1.07) and defensively (1.14).
numberFire's model thinks Japan should be projected for only 0.47 goals in this match, and with the impetus for a Spanish win, they should be able to put up enough goals to cover. Spain -1.0 (+110) is a five-star suggestion by numberFire's model.
Costa Rica (+1900) vs. Germany (-1000)
Draw odds: +850
Germany has earned just a single point through two matches. They must win and have Spain convert as favorites with a win. If Japan beats Spain, Germany can still advance with a win provided that they overcome an eight-goal deficit by goal differential.
Point being: Germany needs a win no matter what, and they should have the offensive urgency cranked up to 11.
My numbers have Germany as the best offense in the World Cup (2.85 adjusted xG per match) despite just a single goal in each match. A breakthrough seems to be lurking against a Costa Rica team that has barely registered on the xG scale (0.0 and 0.1 in their respective matches to date). Defensively, they're 28th in adjusted xG (1.66).
numberFire's model still likes Costa Rica +3.0 (+100) due to the sheer number on that spread (the model is projecting a final score of 2.49 to 0.31).
Data-wise, Germany over 3.5 goals (+132) is actually a fine bet, too, as wild as it sounds.