Will Mo Salah Be Healthy Enough to Carry Egypt?

Will Mo Salah Be Healthy Enough to Carry Egypt? article feature image

The Odds

  • To Win the World Cup: +21500
  • To Win Group A: +600
  • To Advance to Round of 16: +150

Bet to Watch

Egypt +0.5 goals (-115) vs. Russia on June 19

Egypt enters the World Cup with the biggest question mark, as superstar midfielder Mohamed Salah is battling a shoulder injury and racing to get fit in time. Coach Hector Cuper has had the right mentality, saying that Egypt can’t rely on any single person and will have another player ready if Salah isn’t healthy. In reality, though, Salah’s importance is up there with just about anyone, and his injury in the Champions League final instantly moved World Cup lines more than 30 cents.

Fortunately for Egypt, they’re in perhaps the weakest group in the tournament, but they do have to play Uruguay in the opening match and are big +588 underdogs to pull off the upset. The second game against Russia will be pivotal before they wrap up the group stage as favorites over Saudi Arabia.

I took Egypt to advance from Group A at +160 odds back in February, aiming to beat the horde of bettors jumping on the Salah train, but that hasn’t exactly amounted to anything. The odds on their futures and group matches did come down over the following months but are essentially back to where they were following his injury, and in some instances even higher.

Egypt are strong defensively but will need the creativity, composure and scoring ability (44 goals in 2017-18 for Liverpool) that Salah brings to the table. It’s hard to know how healthy he’ll be for any match, but the game against Russia is the most important to win/draw nonetheless.

A loss to the host side would make it nearly impossible to advance from the group, so a bet on Egypt +0.5 goals (-115) captures both necessary results. Obviously, Salah is key, but I think The Pharoahs could still get a result if he’s ruled out. You’ll want to stay on top of his status because odds will be on the move whether he’s upgraded or downgraded.

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