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 Monday, November 21st.
(Note: all records are listed in win-loss-draw format rather than win-draw-loss; FIFA world rankings are in parenthesis.)
Iran (20) vs. England (5)
England enters the World Cup ranked third in numberFire’s power rankings. Iran is 30th.
The World Cup futures odds at FanDuel Sportsbook put England in the top five to win it all (+800) with Iran tied for last (+55000).
Across relevant qualifying matches, Iran maintained an opponent-adjusted goal differential of +1.9, but England checked in at a +3.1, according to my data. England finished UEFA qualifying sporting an undefeated 8-0-2 record.
Iran scored double-digit goals (14 and 10) in two games against Cambodia (177th in the world). Naturally, adjustments need to be made for those results.
With England a heavy -310 on the moneyline, it’s hard to back that with much expected value.
The preferred route is England -1.0 (+110).
numberFire's model also likes this game to go over 2.5 total goals (+130).
Netherlands (8) vs. Senegal (18)
A legitimate contender, the Netherlands (+1400 to win the World Cup) will meet with a mid-tier opponent, Senegal (+12000), in each side’s opener.
Senegal, though, will be without star player Sadio Mane, so this one projects to be much more one-sided than it would have otherwise.
numberFire’s model views a substantial gap between the two and projects a 2.02 to 0.69 win for the Netherlands.
The model likes the Netherlands moneyline (-180) and for them to cover (-1.0 at +170).
Wales (19) vs. United States (16)
Both the United States' and Wales' championship odds are +15000, putting them in the middle of the pack for the World Cup. The United States does have slightly higher odds to advance from Group B (-105) than does Wales (+105).
The United States ended qualifying with an opponent-adjusted goal differential of +1.6, according to my data.
Wales qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, earning a +1.4 adjusted goal differential in the process.
This Group B matchup features a +195 draw line, and the United States is +150 to win.
numberFire’s model projects a final score of 1.05 to 0.80 in favor of the United States, which makes Wales +1.0 (even at -210 odds) a five-star suggestion.
This game should be considered around 42.6% likely to stay under 1.5 goals, making that bet a target, as well (under 1.5 goals is +154 but should be around +135).