2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Playoffs: Projections & Best Bets for Australia vs. Peru, Costa Rica vs. New Zealand (June 13-14)

2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Playoffs: Projections & Best Bets for Australia vs. Peru, Costa Rica vs. New Zealand (June 13-14) article feature image

Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

It all comes down to this moment in FIFA World Cup qualifying, with only two spots left up for grabs before the tournament later this year in Qatar.

The matches feature Australia taking on Peru and Oceania champion New Zealand facing CONCACAF side Costa Rica.

The winner of the Australia vs. Peru matchup will be paired with France, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D, while the winner of the New Zealand vs. Costa Rica battle heads to the Group F quartet featuring Germany, Spain and Japan.

While none of the four teams will likely make any noise come in Qatar, it’s still a massive accomplishment to get this far for these four nations.

Australia vs. Peru

Australia Odds+370
Peru Odds-130
Over/Under2.5 (+135 / -200)
Day | TimeMonday | 2 p.m. ET
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This is a fascinating matchup for a lot of different reasons. First off, Peru played a much more difficult schedule in South America than Australia did in Asian qualifying.

However, in terms of talent level, these countries are even with Peru's total squad transfer value sitting at $65.67 million, while Australia is at $55.41 million dollars, per transfermarkt.com.

The crazy part about this match is Peru really shouldn't be here. The nation drastically over-performed in World Cup qualifying, finishing with a -5.4 xGDiff and lost the xG battle in seven of its last eight matches. In fact, Peru was third to last in South America through World Cup qualifying and Copa America, allowing 1.68 xG per contest.

On the other hand, Australia was incredibly dominant throughout Asian World Cup qualifying, averaging a +0.80 xGDiff per 90 minutes. It’s also coming off beating the United Arab Emirates in a 2-1 win via a third-place playoff, highlighted by a stunning go -ahead goal from Ajdin Hrustic.

Model Projections & Best Bet

Given Peru's over performance, I can't get to -130 for it on the moneyline, so I’am happy to take Australia getting +0.5 goals via the Asian Handicap at +115 and would play it down to +100 odds.

Pick: Australia +0.5 (+115)

Costa Rica vs. New Zealand

Costa Rica Odds-155
New Zealand Odds+500
Over/Under2 (-110 / -120)
Day | TimeTuesday | 2 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Welcome to my own personal Hell.

Costa Rica is 90 minutes away from being maybe the most fraudulent team in history to make to the World Cup. Its defense ran insanely lucky during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, allowing only eight goals in 14 matches off of a whopping 18.56 expected goals.

Having Paris Saint-Germain standout Keylor Navas as your goalkeeper does help, but its ultra-conservative, park-the-bus style of play allows its opponents to create a ton of chances and high-quality ones as well.

The reason this match is troubling for me isn’t only because of Costa Rica, but because there is no xG data available from New Zealand's qualifying matches in the Oceania region, where it outscored opponents by an 18-1 margin.

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New Zealand played a June 5 friendly against Peru in Spain, where it suffered a 1-0 loss and then settled for a 0-0 draw with Oman on June 9 leading up to the match..

Meanwhile, Costa Rica has been playing CONCACAF Nations League matches as recently as June 5 and now has to travel halfway around to the world to Doha for this match.

In terms of talent level, these squads are pretty even. Per transfermarkt.com, New Zealand's total squad value is $22.85 million, while Costa Rica is only at $17.65 million.

Model Projections & Best Bet

Note: Due to there being no data from New Zealand's World Cup qualifying matches, I complied its expected goals from friendlies dating back to March 2021.

Given the over-performance and incredibly passive style of play, there’s no reason why Costa Rica should be as big of favorite as it is.

Therefore, I am going to back New Zealand getting +0.5 goals at +120 on the Asian Handicap and would play it down to -110 odds as my top selection.

Pick: New Zealand +0.5 (+120)

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