England vs Iran Odds, Picks & Predictions | Match Preview

England vs Iran Odds, Picks & Predictions | Match Preview article feature image

Rob Newell/Getty. Pictured: Harry Kane and Harry Maguire.

England vs. Iran Odds

Monday, Nov. 21
8 a.m. ET
England Odds
2.5 (+120 / -150)
Iran Odds
2.5 (+120 / -150)
Odds via bet365. Get latest World Cup odds here.

Play in Group B kicks off on Monday as England face off against Iran in the first of three games scheduled for the slate.

England are the clear odds-on favorite to win this group and clearly have the most talent on paper, while Iran is lined as the biggest underdog in the group to advance to the next round.

Because of the gulf in talent on paper, the -300 moneyline price on this match for England is the largest price in this entire group. England enter the World Cup with expectations of making a deep run and even potentially winning the tournament.

They came within penalty kicks of winning the Euros last summer on home soil, but they're a long way from London in the brutally hot Qatar conditions.

Add in that England are dealing with injuries and they could have a slow start to this tournament.

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England Built on Strong Defense

England have played two major international tournaments under Gareth Southgate. They made the semifinal of the 2018 World Cup before losing to Croatia, and then lost to Italy in the Euro final last summer.

They enter the tournament with a weird dichotomy. On one hand, this is the deepest and most talented squad that the Three Lions have taken to the World Cup in perhaps their history. On the other hand, they enter in poor form with zero wins in their last six matches.

This summer's Nations League was an absolute disaster for Southgate and the England team. They lost to Hungary twice, lost to Italy and tied them and then managed two draws with Germany. Nations League is one step up from a friendly, but the warning signs are there for England.

I'd expect to see England lineup in a back four for this match because they'll be expected to have a dominant share of possession. Southgate typically opts for a back four when they have a major talent gap. He doesn't have Kyle Walker or Reece James in this match, which means Kieran Tripper will likely get the nod at right back.

Trippier has value going forward but isn't nearly as good of a sweeper back line defender as Walker or even James. England usually has their issues when the attack fails to link with the midfield to create enough scoring chances.

Mason Mount is the likely central attacking midfielder for the Three Lions, but he enters this World Cup in middling form. Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane will be a difficult front three to contain.

England had the best defensive xGA per match in all of Europe. On paper, this is an excellent defensive team, but center back Harry Maguire isn't in top form either right now.

Iran Not an Easy Out

Iran makes their third straight World Cup appearance and Carlos Queiroz is back in charge once again. He managed them in 2014 and 2018, and although he had left the team, the FA opted to bring him back for this tournament.

They haven't gotten out of the group in the last two World Cups, but they were highly competitive in 2018. A 1-0 loss to Spain, a 1-1 draw with Portugal and 1-0 win against Morocco showed that Iran fancies contending low-event games.

Iran have three wins in their last six matches coming into the World Cup. Their pre-tournament friendly results suggest some reason for optimism for the squad as well. They beat Uruguay 1-0, tied Senegal 1-1 and lost 2-1 to Algeria. None of those teams have the talent that England have, but Senegal and Uruguay are sides that are expected to make the knockout stages of this tournament.

The manager may have just been re-installed, but not much has changed for Iran since he took over. They play a defensive 4-4-2 formation that aims to take away as much space as possible between the two defensive lines of four. Iran's attack is heavily reliant on Porto's Mehdi Taremi. They use him as the primary outlet for transition attacks.

Instead of going up against the elite defender Walker, Taremi might be able to find more joy against Trippier on Monday. Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun is unlikely to start as he recovers from injury, but the question is whether Iran's defense has enough quality to deal with England's talent.

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England vs. Iran Prediction

The forecast is 82 degrees and high humidity for the match at 4 p.m. local time in Qatar. Videos have surfaced online of the England players struggling to deal with the difficult playing conditions and that's sure to play a role in this World Cup.

Iran will be more adapted to playing in these conditions, but Iran will also be defending without the ball and thus running more in this match.

England only scored two goals in the entire Euro group stage against the Czech Republic, Croatia and Scotland. The defense also isn't in the same individual form, even if the system remains solid defensively.

The Three Lions will struggle to break down the deep low block from Iran, while Taremi finds some success counterattacking up England's weaker right side due to their injuries. England could overwhelm Iran with their talent, but Iran have proven their tournament underdog mettle and will be quite compact defensively.

Take Iran against the spread.

The Pick: Iran +1.5 (-140)

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