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2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Best Bets & Projections, Featuring Canada vs. Christian Pulisic & USA (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Best Bets & Projections, Featuring Canada vs. Christian Pulisic & USA (Jan. 27-Feb. 2) article feature image
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John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: United States standout Weston McKennie.

The United States is in action during the latest international break, with the hope of securing a spot in this year’s World Cup. The Americans have home matches against El Salvador and Honduras, along with a huge showdown north of the border against Canada.

Team USA has five qualifying games left and needs to pick up at least seven points to book its trip to Qatar. The schedule is highlighted by a March date with Mexico at Estadio Azteca.

Elsewhere, there are World Cup qualifying matches going on in Asia and South America.

If you are new to our soccer coverage here at the Action Network, we have our own World Soccer Ratings that are used to help calculate the projected lines and totals below. You can expect our projections for all World Cup qualifiers from every confederation all the way leading up to the World Cup in November.

Note: These projections do not take into account injuries or suspensions

CONCACAF Projections

Best Bets

Costa Rica vs. Panama

Costa Rica Odds +115
Panama Odds +255
Draw +210
Over/Under 1.5 (-190 / +160)
Day | Time Thursday | 9:05 p.m. ET
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This line makes no sense to me. Costa Rica has been, for lack of a better word, terrible during World Cup qualifying. They have nine points from eight matches and only won the expected-goals battle twice. In fact, they have a -3.77 xGDiff and have only averaged 0.92 xG per game.

So, why is Costa Rica favored over a Panama team that completely dominated them back in September 2021? Sure, that match ended in a 0-0 draw, but Panama really deserved to walk away with all three points. Panama held a 1.45-0.11 xG edge and outshot them, 18-4, while also holding 56% possession.

Costa Rica does have Paris Saint-Germain standout Keylor Navas in goal, but outside of him, there isn’t much talent on the squad, as Brian Ruiz and Joel Campbell are way past their prime.

On the other hand, Panama is sitting in fourth place and has been pretty impressive throughout qualifying. They obviously got that huge upset win at home over the United States, but also drew Mexico and defeated Jamaica and Honduras away from home. Overall for qualifying, they have a +0.65 xGDiff and allowing 1.02 xG per match.

I actually have Panama projected as a slight road favorite against Costa Rica, so I love them getting +0.5 on the spread line at -140 odds via DraftKings and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Panama +0.5 (-140)

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Canada vs. USA

Canada Odds +180
USA Odds +140
Draw +230
Over/Under 2.5 (+120 / -155)
Day | Time Sunday | 3:05 p.m. ET
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Listen, I understand Alphonso Davies is going to miss this match, but this line is a little crazy. It’s not surprising the United States continually gets overvalued in the market, but the reality the nation hasn’t been anywhere close to as dominant as this number is suggesting.

The USMNT has been fantastic in World Cup qualifying when they get to play at home. In four home matches, the Americans are 3-1-1 with a +4.5 xGDiff.

However,  when they’re away, they’re 1-2-1 with only a +1.42 xGDiff. Now, they have to face the best team throughout qualifying so far in the frigid temperatures in Canada.

The first meeting between these two in September ended in a 1-1 draw and you could make the case the USMNT deserved to win, holding 72% possession and outshooting Canada, 11-6, in the showdown.

How many goals have they scored for club & country in 2021?

6⃣6⃣

Jonathan David 🍁 #CANMNT ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
Ligue ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
UCL ⚽️⚽️⚽️

Cyle Larin 🍁 #CANMNT ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
Lig ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
Cup ⚽️⚽️
UCL ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/sWbLYU4I43

— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) December 9, 2021

However, the xG battle was only 1.66-1.52 in favor of the Americans. Jonathan David and Cyle Larin will be in the lineup for Canada, so they’ll still have a strong lineup and home-field advantage, plus the game has been sold out.

I have Canada projected as a favorite at home, so I love their Draw No Bet line of +105 odds.

Pick: Canada — Draw No Bet (+105)


CONMEBOL Projections

Note: Brazil and Argentina have already qualified for the World Cup 


Best Bets

Bolivia vs. Chile 

Bolivia Odds +180
Chile Odds +170
Draw +215
Over/Under 2.5 (+130 / -170)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
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This line doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Without a doubt, Bolivia is the worst team in South America, even though they’re only one point behind Chile heading into this round of qualifiers.

Through 18 matches in World Cup qualifying and Copa America action this past summer, Bolivia allowed opponents to create 42.94 xG, which is 2.39 xG per match. They have very little talent on the squad, as they only have one player with a transfer value at more than $1 million and their total squad transfer value is $11.91 million, per transfermarkt.us.

On the flip side, Chile gas a total transfer value of $105 million. So, the talent gap between these two is pretty large.

Bolivia played Chile twice in 2021, once each in World Cup qualifying and Copa America competition. They drew them in qualifying and lost in Copa America, but Chile completely dominated both contests, with a combined 5.44-1.67 xG advantage.

The golden age of Chilean soccer, with Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal way past their prime, might be over. However, there are a few exciting players, including Ben Brereton Díaz.

Born in Stoke, scoring for Chile.

Big Ben Brereton makes it 1-0 💥 #CopaAmerica

(🎥 @TUDNUSA)pic.twitter.com/QGuyjhRgIX

— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) June 18, 2021

Díaz, who’s a striker for English Championship side Blackburn Rovers, only recently joined the Chilean national team and his story of how he got there is fascinating. He’s already bagged 20 goals in 27 appearances for Blackburn, putting them in a position for promotion back to the Premier League.

Chile is currently sitting in sixth place in the table, so it needs all three points if it has any hope of qualifying for the World Cup. I have Chile projected at -102, so I love their Draw no Bet line of -115 odds.

Pick: Chile — Draw No Bet (-115)


AFC Projections

Note: South Korea is without their two best player Son Heung-min & Hwang Hee- chan due to injury.


Best Bets

Saudi Arabia vs. Oman

Saudi Arabia Odds -260
Oman Odds +750
Draw +370
Over/Under 2.5 (+120 / -145)
Day | Time Thursday | 12:15 p.m. ET
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Saudi Arabia is a highly overrated team in Asian qualifying. Sure, they’re unbeaten throughout qualifying and have outscored their opponents by a 31-7 margin, but the xG metric tells a different story.

Saudi Arabia only has a +8.64 xGDiff in 14 matches, so to say they’re due for some negative regression is an understatement. There also isn’t much talent on the squad, as they’re total transfer value is $8.65 million, per transfermarkt.com.

They faced Oman once already in qualifying and walked away with a 1-0 road win, but the nation was really unlucky not to get a point. Oman won on xG — 1.28-1.10 — and outshot Saudi Arabia. Oman has also lost by multiple goals once throughout qualifying, so I think this line is a tad inflated.

I only have Saudi Arabia projected at +124, so I like the price on Oman getting +1 on the spread line at +130 odds to get a result.

Pick: Oman +1 (+130)

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