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 Friday, November 25th.
(Note: all records are listed in win-loss-draw format rather than win-draw-loss.)
Wales (+105) vs. Iran (+300)
Draw odds: +210
In the opening match for Wales, they played to a 1-1 draw against the United States, but the expected goal data suggested they were the better side. The expected score tally was 1.5 to 0.8 in favor of Wales.
As for Iran, they also played better than the final score suggested. In their opener, England got the better of them with a 6-2 score, but the expected score was 2.1-1.4 in England's favor.
Wales ranks 19th in the FIFA world rankings; Iran is 20th, so that measure has them close. My adjusted goal data from relevant qualifying rounds shows a gap that favors Iran (+1.97) to Wales (+1.40).
That -- plus the numberFire model -- points to Iran +1.0 (-140). numberFire's algorithm thinks that's a five-star (i.e. five-unit) play.
Qatar (+500) vs. Senegal (-165)
Draw odds: +270
Qatar was overmatched in their opener and fell 2-0 to Ecuador with an expected goal output of just 0.3 on their end. Ecuador had an expected goal tally of 1.2. Qatar, though, entered the World Cup with the second-worst adjusted goal differential from qualifying.
Senegal fell 2-0 to the Netherlands despite an expected score of 0.9 to 0.7 in their favor. Senegal, 18th in the FIFA World Cup rankings, must navigate this matchup without star Sadio Mané yet again, but the data here suggests they can do it.
My model has the draw odds the exact same as the listed draw odds (+270) and thinks Senegal themselves are overvalued at -165 to win.
The preferred route is for this one to stay under 2.5 goals (-154). My model has those odds at -170.
Netherlands (-125) vs. Ecuador (+370)
Draw odds: +250
As we can piece together by now from previewing the other matches so far, the 2-0 wins by both the Netherlands and Ecuador -- despite expected goal differentials of -0.2 and 0.9, respectively -- were somewhat misleading results.
There's a big gap between the two in terms of FIFA ranking (the Netherlands is 8th and Ecuador is 44th), but Ecuador played really tough competition in qualifying and has an adjusted goal differential from those matches (+1.80) not too far off from the Netherlands' (+2.02).
In spite of that, numberFire's model is trusting the long-term skill gap between the two and thinks the Netherlands moneyline (-125) is the way to go.
England (-175) vs. United States (+490)
Draw odds: +220
Fresh off of a 6-2 romp over Iran (albeit with an expected score of 2.1 to 1.4), England are up against a United States team that could be pressed for a win after a 1-1 draw with Wales in their opener.
The United States has a 51.4% probability to advance to the Round of 16, per our model, with England's chances sitting at 95.7%.
At -175 odds, it's hard to be totally enamored with the England moneyline, yet that's how numberFire's model leans (it's a two-star play).
A low-scoring affair makes sense unless the US gets out over their skis to press for a win. The data suggests the under (2.5) should be around -120 odds but is bettable at -104.