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2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Best Bets & Projections for CONCACAF, Featuring Mexico vs. USA (March 24-27)

2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Best Bets & Projections for CONCACAF, Featuring Mexico vs. USA (March 24-27) article feature image
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: United States goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

The United States Men’s National Team faces its final three tests in its attempt to secure a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this year in Qatar.

It’s very simple for the US: don’t collapse. The Americans have a huge rivalry match against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Thursday, followed by Sunday’s home game in Orlando against Panama. They close out their fixtures with Tuesday’s road affair at Costa Rica.

The interesting part about their opponents is that all trail them in the hexagonal standings and sit within five points with three matches to go.

However, it starts with the 10 p.m. ET showdown against Mexico, where the USMNT will be going for its fourth consecutive win over its bitter rival.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC PUTS USA ON HIS BACK! 😤🔥

(via @USMNT)

pic.twitter.com/NDwvlZlAOu

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 13, 2021

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.

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CONCACAF Model Projections

Best Bets

Mexico vs. USA

Mexico Odds -115
USA Odds +333
Draw +220
Over/Under 2.5 (+125 / -175)
Day | Time Thursday | 10 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS Sports Network | Paramount+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

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.

#USMNT 2, MEXICO 0

* Absolute domination in the last 60 min. Goodness.
* Not sure the US has EVER tilted the field this well against Mexico.
* Eyeballs thought Weah was man of the match by far. Stats backed that up tenfold. pic.twitter.com/J9VbeNz5Lx

— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) November 13, 2021

However, Weston McKennie, Brenden Aaronson and Sergino Dest are sidelined with injuries, which are obviously is big blows for the Americans. However, Gio Reyna returns, which provides the USA with another outstanding attacking option to go along with Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi, Timothy Weah and Yunus Musah. Goaltender Zack Steffen is also back with the team.

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.

Pick: USA +0.5 (-115)

Costa Rica vs. Canada

Costa Rica Odds +200
Canada Odds +140
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+165 / -225)
Day | Time Thursday | 10:05 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Canada is on the doorstep of qualifying for its first World Cup since 1986. It’s pretty simple for the Canadians: defeat Costa Rica on Thursday and they qualifyfor the World Cup. With that in mind, the hexagonal leader is severely underpriced against a highly overrated Costa Rican squad. 

Without a doubt, Canada has been the best team during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. With three matches to go, the Canadians already have a +5.5 xG differential and a defenseonly allowing 0.98 xG per match.

In fact, the backline had shaky performances in their first two qualifying matches against Honduras and the United States, allowing 3.35 xG in those games. However, in their last nine matches, the Canadians have only conceded 7.41 xG and just one opponent has created more than one xG overall.

The pass 🔥 The finish ✨

Jonathan David doubles Canada's lead. 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/H3d18acyC0

— Watch Mexico vs. USA on Paramount+ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 28, 2022

Through 11 contests, Costa Rica has a +1 actual goal differential, but a -4.56 xGDiff overall. What has been overperforming is its defense, which has allowed seven actual goals from 15.56 xGs, which is insane.

Even in its last three World Cup qualifying matches, Costa Rica kept three clean sheets against Panama, Mexico and Jamaica, but allowed 4.42 xGin those outings. There also isn’t much talent to speak of on the Costa Rica roster outside of Keylor Navas in goal. They certainly don’t have the talent to matchup with guys like Jonathan David and Cyle Larin.

I have Canada projected at -236 on the road at Costa Rica, so I like the Draw No Bet line at -140 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Canada — Draw No Bet (-140)

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