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Argentina vs France Odds, Picks, Predictions | World Cup Match Preview

Argentina vs France Odds, Picks, Predictions | World Cup Match Preview article feature image
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Juan Mabromata/Getty. Pictured: Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.

Argentina vs. France World Cup Odds

Sunday, Dec. 18
10 a.m. ET
FOX
Argentina Odds +162
France Odds +187
Draw +220
Over/Under 2.5 (+137 / -175)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (+100 / -134)
Odds via bet365. Get the latest World Cup odds here.

After a grueling month of play, the World Cup final has arrived. Argentina vs. France represents the pinnacle of the world’s premier sporting competition, and it’s hard to argue that this is not the rightful final.

Argentina’s road to the final got off to a wild start when they fell to Saudi Arabia in their opening group stage match. They proceeded to win their next two games before beating Australia and escaping a tough affair with the Netherlands. A rout of Croatia booked Argentina’s final spot.

France had a smooth route to the finale. Les Bleus won their opening two games and took their foot off the gas pedal in their third group game with Tunisia. Then, they won all three of their knockout round games in regulation.

Action Network’s soccer experts BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo deliver their best World Cup final bets below.

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Argentina Facing Tough Tactical Outlook

Argentina were the more impressive of the two teams in the semifinals, creating over 2.5 xG against a pretty solid Croatian defense. Argentina controlled just 40% of possession in that match, yet they did amazing things with the ball.

Le Abiceleste did an outstanding job of creating overloads on one side of the pitch, which allowed them to switch the play and have a lot of space for their fullbacks. Their outside backs have been making a ton of overlapping runs down the channels – which has been very successful in terms of creating chances – but it also leaves them a bit vulnerable in transition.

You look at the teams that they’ve kept a clean sheet against (Mexico, Poland & Croatia) versus the teams that have scored against Argentina (Saudi Arabia, Australia & the Netherlands), and you can see a common theme. Teams that are able to counter quickly can give Argentina problems.

France are the best counter attacking team in the world because that is how they are set up to play. They do their most significant damage outside with Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele, so if Argentina are going to try and create overloads on the flanks, they’re going to likely get caught too far up the pitch, which is going to leave them with a lot of one-on-one situations in transition against Mbappe or Dembele.

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Can France Continue to Utilize Their Strengths?

France have conceded in every match but one in this World Cup, and they were pretty fortunate to not allow one to Morocco in the semifinal. The Moroccans created more than one xG, and it would have been more if not for the elite individual defending of Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate. France don’t apply much of any pressure on the ball; they don’t press, and they’re more than comfortable allowing the opponent to move the ball into their half of the field.

Argentina’s main problem going forward in the group stage was Messi not having a ton of space to operate and having to come away from the goal to get involved. France struggled with giving Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, Morocco’s Sofyan Ambrabat and Poland’s Piotr Zielenski too much time on the ball to conduct the attack. If Messi has that much space and time, France’s defense will have problems in this final.

Manager Didier Deschamps has opted for a more high-event approach all tournament, and the market is still overvaluing Les Bleus’ defense. However, that has tradeoffs in a positive way, and the French attack has been the best at this tournament.

Mbappe can cause nightmares for everyone, particularly an aggressive back line like Argentina’s. He’s putting up superhuman ball progression and shot numbers. Additionally, what Antoine Griezmann isn’t offering in terms of pressing he’s more than making up for in and around the penalty area. His free roam creativity and crossing ability makes France extremely difficult to contain going forward.

France are also getting excellent overlapping production from Theo Hernandez up the left wing from his left back position. Argentina’s weakest area defensively is their full backs, and France have much better wide attackers than any team Argentina have seen in this World Cup. We’ve seen France struggle to keep teams out when leading, and we’ve seen France turn up the attack when trailing in Qatar.

Don’t expect France to have a ton of the ball on Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped their attack from being elite, and it shouldn’t in this match either.

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Argentina vs. France Picks

Cunningham: There is definitely a path for both offenses to have a lot of success here. A common theme in Argentina’s matches is once the first goal goes in and they are afforded space in behind, then Messi and company can pick you apart. The same can be said for France – when they are able to just sit in and counter, they’re incredibly dangerous because they have the best player in the world.

With the attacking talent that both teams have, this total is far too low. I have 2.6 goals projected for this final, so I love the value on the over 2 at -120.

Pick: Over 2 (-120)

Dabbundo: This total is lower than a normal match because of the stakes surrounding it and both teams taking a more conservative approach in theory. However, all it takes is one moment of quality and one goal to turn this match into a more back and forth affair.

Neither defense has played that well at this tournament, and both attacks have areas of weakness they can exploit in the other team’s defense. Whether it’s France conceding at least one goal or one xG in every match or Argentina struggling to hold onto leads, there should be moves and countermoves available to both attacks.

Regardless of who does score first, there’s likely to be a tactical counter available to the other side. Both teams have too much depth and attacking quality to keep the other out for 90 minutes. I like both teams to score at even money and the over two goals at -120.

Picks: Both Teams to Score (+100) | Over 2 (-120)

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