Portugal v Morocco Betting Tips and Picks

  • Portugal v Morocco
  • Saturday, December 10, 2022, 10:00 ET
  • At the Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

Portugal takes on Morocco in Saturday’s first World Cup quarter-final and it faces a tough challenge against the resolute North African team.

Who do Bettors Favor?

According to the best-rated online sportsbooks Portugal is the strong favorite with World Cup bettors to win this quarter-final after its impressive performance in the Round of 16 against Switzerland. Fernando Santos’ team is rated as -150 chances to win in normal time, while Morocco is priced at between +460 and +485 and the draw is a +270 chance.

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World Cup Quarter-Final Betting Briefing

Portugal and Morocco have met twice at World Cups, winning one apiece. Their first game was at the 1986 World Cup when both were drawn in the same Group. Morocco started off the Group with goalless draws against Poland and England, before clinching its progression to the second phase with a 3-1 win over Portugal, which enabled it to top the Group, leaving Portugal bottom.

It was another 32 years before their paths crossed again, this time in the Group stage of the 2018 World Cup. Morocco had lost its opening game to Iran and then slipped to a second defeat against Portugal, for whom Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal in the fourth minute. This time it was Morocco who finished bottom of the Group and Portugal who went through.

This quarter-final game is therefore the most significant match ever between these two nations and the reward of a semi-final place is at stake. Portugal has been that far in a World Cup twice before: in 1966 and again in 2006, but has never reached a World Cup final.

For Morocco, getting into the semi-finals would be a remarkable and history-making achievement. This is the first time that the nation has ever reached the quarter-finals, and that record would be broken in turn, but it would also represent the first time that an African nation has reached the semi-finals.

Post-Ronaldo Era Begins Now

When Portugal manager Fernando Santos opted to start the Round of 16 game against Switzerland with Ronaldo on the bench, the world gasped. It was an enormous gamble. Santos wasn’t just gambling with Portugal’s place in the tournament, but also with his reputation and authority over the team.

Fortunately for both team and manager, it paid off and Portugal produced a team display that has not been seen since the days of Luis Figo and Rui Costa. In particular, the fact that Ronaldo’s direct replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick seems to definitely signal the end of the Ronaldo era and the beginning of what looks like being an exciting new period for Portugal.

It also seems as though the rest of the team, whatever respect they may have for Ronaldo, are not going to side with him over the manager. Young stars like Ramos, Rafael Leao and Joao Felix, along with players at their peak such as Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva are the future.

Remarkable Morocco Face Another Test

Sacking a manager three months before a World Cup is not a recipe for success, but it has not done Morocco any harm and this remarkable group of players now faces another test with little pressure and every confidence of causing another upset.

On closer examination, however, there are a couple of factors in its favor. Morocco is the most reliant of all the minor at this World Cup on diaspora talent. Of the 26 players in Walid Regragui’s squad, 14 play their football outside Morocco and Achraf Hakimi (PSG) and Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) have experience of playing at the highest level in European football.

There is also huge support for Morocco here. Roughly 15,000 Moroccans are said to live in Qatar with many thousands more arriving to cheer their team on, and that has helped create a home atmosphere and to inspire Morocco’s feats of resilience so far.

World Cup Quarter-Final Match Betting

It would be no surprise if Morocco adopted its successful tactics from the Spain match for this World Cup quarter-final against similarly gifted opponents, and the combination of resolute defense, energetic pressing and swift counter-attacks could prove to be effective once again.

Still, Fernando Santos is a more experienced and wily coach than Luis Enrique, and has more incisive attacking players in his squad. If his team fail to get an early breakthrough, he will have other plans up his sleeve and will have had plenty of time to find a weakness in the Morocco system.

Although neutrals may be supporting Morocco, the game would probably benefit from an early Portugal goal, but either way, Portugal has the attacking talents and the confidence to unlock the Morocco defense and they look the best pick in the match betting markets.

PortugalTo beat Morocco
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Chris Boline

Chris Boline is a renowned sports journalist with a lifelong passion for the industry. Originally from Reno, Nevada, he is a key business development figure in college athletics, with over a decade of experience with the NBA G League, Los Angeles Chargers, and Mountain West Conference. Boline holds an MBA from the University of Nevada. He has received MVP and "Best of" honors from the NBA/Sacramento Kings, Nevada Press Association, and more. His work has been showcased statewide and nationally. Boline has established himself as an expert in MLB and legal sports betting developments. When he's not immersed in the world of sports, Chris finds joy in exploring nature's wonders.