The World Cup kicked off earlier today with Ecuador’s win over the hosts, but Monday feels like the real start to the tournament. We have three matches on tap with the United States making their return after missing the 2018 World Cup.
There are no future bets for Day 2, just a different play on each of the three Monday matches.
Feel free to hop on the bandwagon with me or get in my mentions about how dumb my picks are. Either way, know your limits, enjoy yourself, and enjoy the first full day of World Cup action.
Iran gets a goal
England enters the World Cup 0-3-3 in their last six matches. That run includes a four-goal shellacking from Hungary. The defense has been a cause of concern with a rash of injuries and poor form across the backline for the Three Lions.
Betting markets are always going to overvalue England and undervalue those outside the traditional powers – they shouldn’t. Iran has players plying their trade in top European leagues. Just a few weeks ago, Karim Ansarifard (AC Omonia) scored on mighty Manchester United in the Europa League and Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto) netted a goal against the vaunted Atlético de Madrid defense. There is attacking quality for Iran that should not be underestimated.
Now, I would still wager on England winning the match. But there is a goal to be had for Iran.
- Both Teams Score (+170) – 1 unit
Netherlands and Senegal Under
When Senegal matches up with an opponent of similar or greater strength, it often leads to low-scoring cagey affairs. Senegal will have no qualms about sitting deep and absorbing pressure. The defensive spine of Kalidou Koulibaly and Édouard Mendy will be a tough nut to crack.
On the other end, Senegal is missing their one elite difference-maker in Sadio Mané. I am expecting a 1-0 type of match where Senegal hangs tough but just can find the tying goal. If they do find a goal, the Senegalese formidable defense should still keep the total match goals under 3.
- Under 2.5 goals (-145) – 1 unit
USA prevails in a slugfest
I tend to not bet on teams that I love and follow intently. It generally leads to overthinking and bad bets. For the World Cup and the United States, I will make an exception.
There is plenty to be concerned about with the U.S. in this tournament. The squad lacks World Cup experience, Walker Zimmerman’s backline partner is still an open question, and the Yanks struggle to break down a compacted defense. All that said, this team has found answers right when the doubts grow the loudest.
Wales is beatable. So beatable that the Red Dragons have lost five of their last seven matches. In four of those five losses, they conceded multiple goals – albeit in matches against Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
The U.S. is likely not to score multiple goals in this one. Unlike in their own region, there won’t be a significant set-piece advantage. A breakthrough goal will most likely need to come from open play. Having a healthy Giovanni Reyna is a luxury that this team did not have through all of qualifying. He may just be the one who finds that little moment of brilliance needed to unlock Wales.
If you are feeling more adventurous, wager on the USA to keep a clean sheet as well. A lot has been made about Wales’ counterattacking ability, and rightfully so. The athleticism and vision of Tyler Adams should help put out some of those fires.
- USA – Win (+155) – 1 unit
- Correct Score 1-0 (+575) – 0.5 unit