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Belgium vs Canada Odds, Pick & Prediction | Value With Yet Another Underdog

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DeFodi Images/Getty. Pictured: Thibaut Courtois.

Belgium vs. Canada Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 23
2 p.m. ET
FOX
Belgium Odds -182
Canada Odds +500
Draw +320
Over/Under 2.5 (-138 / +110)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (-125 / -106)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.

Canada will make their second ever appearance at the World Cup in 2022, kicking off play against Belgium on Wednesday. The Canadians finished at the top of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying hexagonal and will like their chances of sneaking into the knockout round through a relatively open Group F. 

Belgium are the group favorite coming into this tournament based on their past success with this golden generation of players. After a quarterfinal showing in 2014, a Euro quarterfinal in 2016, a World Cup semifinal in 2018, and a Euro quarterfinal in 2021, this is the last chance for this generation to win a trophy or make a final.

The Belgians and Canadians both enter this match with major questions amongst the attacking ranks. Canadian star Alphonso Davies is in doubt for this match and may only be fit to play part of it. Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has already been ruled out of the first two matches of the group stage.

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding this group and this match, and the market has moved solidly toward the Canadians. Whether or not the Canadians still have value is heavily dependent upon the status of Davies, however.

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Belgium Have Tactical Questions to Address

Belgium’s squad survived the Euros because Lukaku was in excellent form and neither Finland nor Russia presented much of a challenge to their possession in midfield.

Roberto Martinez has always set up Belgium to be a conservative side, but they’ve never been great when they don’t have the ball under him. When they played Denmark, Portugal and Italy, however, the Belgians’ inability to beat a counter-press was exposed.

The Italians and Danes exposed them with their pressing ability in particular, while Portugal were able to sustain the majority of possession despite not scoring a goal from more than 1 xG. Another 16 months have passed since that Euro tournament, and the same problem has emerged for Belgium.

Canada are likely to cede possession and sit deeper. Does Belgium have the attacking firepower to take advantage without Lukaku? Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world, but the production around him is quite uncertain. Michy Batshuayi and Eden Hazard are the expected front three but De Bruyne. Hazard and Batshuayi both have been in poor form for the last season-plus at the club level.

There’s also a question as to how good the Belgians will be upon losing possession. The two-man midfield of Youri Tielemans and Axel Witsel has plenty of passing and ball progression, but not a lot of tackling and ball winning. Witsel is 33 and past his prime, while Tielemans is in the 25th percentile in interceptions, per FBref.com.

Canada’s Star is The Key

On paper, Canada have the worst overall talent in this group and are lined as the fourth-best team, based on odds to advance.

But, the Canadians had a clear style of defend and counter-play that served them well against the Mexicans and Americans during CONCACAF qualifying.

There are questions about how they’d break down an opponent, but the Canadians won’t be asked to do that against possession-first sides like Belgium and Croatia.

The plan was built around Lille star Jonathan David as the finisher, Bayern superstar Alphonso Davies as the one man counterattacking weapon and Tajon Buchanan as the supplemental runner when required.

However, Davies’ injury throws a wrench into this tactical plan. Canada run a real risk of getting stuck in their own half of the field if they don’t send enough numbers forward, and they could also get caught out if they send too many players forward against better attackers of other teams in this group.

Canada didn’t concede more than one goal in any match in World Cup Qualifying and they kept seven clean sheets. They conceded less than 1 xG per match in qualifying, so it’s not as if they were a fluke or a team that rode hot goalkeeping to a stellar defensive record.

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Belgium vs. Canada Pick

Canada opened as a +1.5 goal underdog on the spread at most books before anti-Belgium sentiment came in from bettors and pushed the line downward. The age profile of this Belgian team raises major concerns about whether the end has already come for the golden generation. 

Two of the three starting center backs for Belgium — Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen — are over 33 and well past their primes. The fullbacks have always been an issue too with lacking quality and I don’t know that Belgium have the attacking quality to sustain attacks in the final third without Lukaku.

De Bruyne is excellent, but the Canadian defense will keep the Belgians at bay and make this match highly competitive. If Davies can give anything at all off the bench, he could run at tired legs in the second half and potentially do even more damage in transition.

The Pick: Canada +1 (-110)

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