- Wales v USA
- Monday, November 21, 2022, 14:00 ET
- At the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Doha
Wales are Underrated against USA
Wales take on the USMNT in their opening game of World Cup Group B and they look underrated in the betting markets for this crucial clash.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks the USMNT are the strong favorites with bettors. You can’t back Gregg Berhalter’s team at much higher than +155 for this game, while Wales are rated at anything between +196 and +215, with the draw priced at +210 across the board.
|Wales v USA|
World Cup Group B Betting Briefing
World Cup Group B has the potential to be a surprisingly competitive section. Although it looks on paper as though England should dominate, their form in recent months has not been great and they are up against two rivals in Wales and the USMNT, who could be tough to overcome for different reasons.
If England do fall short of expectations, then these two rivals will hope to take full advantage so this opening game could be crucial in determining that battle. Whichever team wins this game will be in a strong position with an outside chance of winning the Group and earning an easier second-round tie against the runners-up from Group A.
Wales Determined to Make a World Cup Mark
Wales are making only their second World Cup appearance, having last played on the biggest stage in 1958 in Sweden, the tournament in which Pele made his first appearance. A seven-game unbeaten run after they lost their opening qualifying match against Belgium was enough to get them into the playoffs, where they came through tough games against Austria and Ukraine to qualify.
While Gareth Bale is still the obvious star of the team, there is a different feel to this Wales lineup from the team that did so well at Euro 2016. Manager Rob Page prefers a 4-4-2 formation and focuses on fast attacking wide play and ball retention in the center of midfield, while defensively, Wales are a lot more cultured these days, with three of their center-halves playing outside the UK.
The bulk of the players in the Welsh squad will be from the Championship, but there are some Premier League stars, including Harry Wilson and Dan James, along with veteran Joe Allen and another experienced midfielder in Aaron Ramsey, who is now with Nice after spells with Juventus and Rangers.
USMNT Hard to Predict
Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT squad will be one of the trickier teams to predict in this tournament. Their qualifying campaign was largely underwhelming, characterized by solid performances at home and poorer efforts outside the US. They eventually qualified in third place, but that may not be a true reflection of their abilities, given Berhalter’s policy of rotation, and the absence of European-based players for some of the qualifiers against minor nations in CONCACAF.
Another factor in their unpredictability is the youth of the squad. The most recent squad Berhalter picked for two friendly games against Saudi Arabia and Japan had an average age of 24.2. That lack of experience could be a problem, but if they start well, the fearlessness of youth could take over.
The USMNT generally plays with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with plenty of pace out wide, and while Christian Pulisic is the obvious standout talent, there are a number of players who have experience in top-level European club football including Giovani Reyna, Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest.
World Cup Group B Match Betting
While both teams would prefer to ease their way into the tournament, this is a must-win game, particularly for the USMNT. Defeat against Wales would leave them needing to get something out of their second match with England, and that level of pressure will present a tough test.
For Wales, however, this is an ideal opportunity to earn at least a point going into a game against Iran that they expect to win, and they won’t have any difficulty finding motivation for their final Group B match against England, which promises to be an exciting clash.
FIFA rankings and the betting markets suggest that the USMNT have the advantage here, but I’m not sure that is the case, and the presence of Gareth Bale in the Wales squad could tip the balance. His ability to score from set pieces and to pull off a moment of match-winning magic will give Wales a fighting chance against any opponent, so in what could be an entertaining encounter between two enterprising teams, I think Wales are the best pick.
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