2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions, Preview: Our 4 Best Bets for USA & Christian Pulisic vs. Mexico (March 24)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: United States standout Christian Pulisic, right, and his teammates.
Things will be at a fever pitch Thursday when Mexico welcomes the United States to Estadio Azteca for their crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
These bitter rivals have yet to lock up their respective spots for the world’s biggest sporting event, taking place later this year in Qatar, but each have one foot in the door in pursuit of this ultimate goal.
El Tri and the Americans have 21 points apiece through 11 qualifying matches in the CONCACAF region, trailing leader Canada (25 points) in the hexagonal.
Our Action Network soccer analysts have been waiting for this showdown for months, so they’re pumped to unveil their best bets ahead of this affair. Check out below where they’re leaning and how they think things go in Mexico City.
Mexico vs. USA Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+125 / -175)|
|Day | Time||Thursday | 10 p.m. ET|
|Location||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City|
|How To Watch||CBS Sports Network | Paramount+ | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Our Mexico vs. USA Best Bets
Former USMNT forward Herculez Gomez sent out a tweet Wednesday that posed a simple question to soccer fans around the world that asked, “Who needs this win more?” As of this writing, 62 percent of the close to 2,200 people who chimed in with a vote said it was the Americans.
Well, we’re going to have to respectfully disagree because I’m with the 38 percent in the El Tri corner. Yes, a win could actually punch the Americans’ ticket to Qatar and take away some (not all) of the pain and terrible memories of the 2018 qualifying debacle that has haunted U.S. soccer and its fan base.
Mexico, usually the dominate nation in CONCACAF qualifying, has been anything but that of late. Sure, they’re tied on points with the U.S., but they’ve been a shell of themselves the entire process. And I’m confident in my opinion that a third consecutive loss to the Americans could lead to Mexico boss Tata Martino getting his walking papers as he exited Azteca at the end of the night.
So, yeah… for those reasons, this is a make-or-break moment for El Tri in their attempt to regain footing ahead of the World Cup.
Mexico has a massive edge playing at Azteca, where it has only lost twice in 55 qualifying matches. And now Martino’s men face their foes from the north who are missing starters Weston McKennie and Sergiño Dest, along with Brenden Aaronson, giving them a huge personnel edge ahead of this clash.
That said, I’m taking a swing on a Single Game Parlay pairing Mexico to win outright with the total staying under 3.5 combined goals at +140 odds.
I just don’t see how the Americans will be able control things box to box minus McKennie, who is arguably the underdog’s most important player outside Tyler Adams. El Tri should be able to dictate the show, with one goal likely being enough to secure all three points on home soil.
And let’s keep it real, friends. In form or not, this is a prideful Mexico side looking for revenge that hasn’t lost a home qualifier since the 2013 cycle. Throw in the ugly fact the U.S. is winless in nine of its last 10 road qualifying games and this is the perfect spot for Mexico to inch closer to Qatar.
The Pick: Single Game Parlay — Mexico ML & Total Under 3.5 Goals (+140)
I entered this match thinking much like my colleague, Avery Zimmerman, that Mexico would be the clear play. However, the more I looked, the more I saw a side with at least as many questions as the U.S. has, particularly at home.
El Tri has already dropped points at Estadio Azteca to Canada and Costa Rica, and nearly did the same to Panama before a very dodgy penalty saved them. And for a young U.S. squad, this is the one match it’ll play all cycle where more pressure is on the opponent.
The losses of McKennie, Dest and Aaronson are most harmful going forward. They probably take a shock American win off of the table.
Yet, so long as Tyler Adams is on the field, this team should have a historically average chance of earning a point.
The U.S. has drawn Mexico in three of six previous away qualifying trips. All three of those were tied at the half. Additionally, both of Mexico’s home draws this cycle — out of five home games — were knotted at 45 minutes, as were both of the Americans’ two away draws.
So for one of my two plays (the other being located in my preview in the above link), I’m leaning into a wager for Half Time/Full Time and both halves ending in a draw at +360 odds via PointsBet (implied 21.7% probability) as my top pick.
The Pick: Draw/Draw | Half Time/Full Time (+360)
I want to buy into the fact this is a new era for the U.S., but even with all of the talent and new energy this roster has, the -115 odds are too short of a price for the host Mexican side.
The Americans have won just one game ever at Estadio Azteca, which came in a 2012 friendly. So, even the most successful sides in the federation’s history haven’t been able to get over the hump in World Cup qualifying.
Mexico’s implied probability of 53.5% in this fixture simply doesn’t reflect the impact Mexico City has had on the United States in the past and it makes the hosts clear play.
Though El Tri hasn’t dominated to the tune of winning every game at Azteca thus far in qualifying, it hasn’t lost a match. And having been beaten by the U.S. the last time around, we can expect a Mexican side eager to correct that in a time when a win would push it incredibly close to an automatic berth.
I’ll take this price on Mexico.
The Pick: Mexico ML (-115)
FIFA 2022 World Cup CONCACAF Standings
Yes, the USMNT has won three consecutive matches against Mexico, but all were played in the U.S. soil. The Americans haven’t played at Estadio Azteca since World Cup qualifying in 2017. So, to say Mexico and its fans will be looking for revenge would be an understatement. That being said, I believe the price on Mexico is a tad too high.
The United States’ underlying metrics have been improving, especially on the defensive side. In seven of their last eight World Cup qualifying matches, the Americans held their opponents under 1.0 expected goals, including the 2-0 win over Mexico back in November that was a dominant performance.
The U.S. outshot Mexico, 18-8, in that meeting and held a 2.19-0.73 edge in the xG battle. Most importantly, the USA pressing worked, putting up a PPDA of 8.5 in the key victory.
The USMNT needs to attack Mexico’s weakness, which is its defense. Pretty much all of defenders are playing in Liga MX, outside of Néstor Araujo, who’s a below-average defender for La Liga side Celta Vigo.
Mexico’s defense has performed well when it doesn’t have to play the U.S. or Canada. In the games against those countries, the Mexican defense has allowed 4.9 xG, compared to just 5.54 xG in eight contests against the rest of the CONCACAF hexagonal nations.
I have Mexico projected at +146, so I love the price on the USMNT getting +0.5 on the spread line at -115 odds and will make it my top pick.
The Pick: USA +0.5 (-115)