Morocco vs Portugal Odds, Pick, Predictions | World Cup Match Preview

Morocco vs Portugal Odds, Pick, Predictions | World Cup Match Preview article feature image

Markus Gilliar/Getty. Pictured: Bruno Fernandes and Goncalo Ramos.

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Morocco vs. Portugal Odds

Saturday, Dec. 10
10 a.m. ET
Morocco Odds+475
Portugal Odds-260
Over/Under2.5 (+120 / -150)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(+105 / -143)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.

Portugal and Morroco face off Saturday morning for a spot in the World Cup semifinals.

Morroco were the only underdog to advance to the quarterfinals from the round of 16, refusing to be hypnotized by Spain's passing triangles and hanging on to a 0-0 result before dismissing the 2010 champions in penalty kicks, 3-0.

While Portugal's progression beyond the round of 16 is less surprising, their 6-1 rout over Switzerland was by far the best performance they have shown so far and one of the best collective displays of the tournament.

Can Morocco continue their Cinderella story and become the first African nation to advance to the final four of a World Cup, or will Portugal strike magic twice and assemble another near-perfect performance?

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Morocco Putting on a Tactical Show

Morroco's 'park the bus' strategy has paid off beautifully. While averaging only 33.2% of the ball per match, they have given up just one goal in four matches.

And even though opposing teams are controlling a majority of the ball in Morocco's defensive third, the Atlas Lions are allowing just 1.25 shots on target per match.

How, you may be wondering? It's because they cover ground like no other. Against Spain, the Lions covered close to 91 miles as a team, according to

It is a tactic that is not very pretty to watch, but one that Morroco will need to continue, as goal scoring has not come easily to them. Even though they have bigger names like Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi, the Atlas Lions haven't scored in over 200 minutes.

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Portugal Unlocked a New Gear With Younger Generation

Portugal unlocked a whole new gear in their thrashing of the Swiss in the round of 16.

Manager Fernando Santos' decision to bench 37-year old megastar Cristiano Ronaldo for 21-year old Goncalo Ramos turned out to be one of the best coaching decisions of the tournament thus far. Ramos netted a hat trick, the first player to do so in a World Cup since 2002, and dished out an assist in his first international start.

It wasn't just Ramos' goal contributions that made this decision a home run, but the fact that he changes their entire offensive identity. His movements make Portugal more dynamic and open up space for other attackers like Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix. They were both directly involved in two of Ramos' goals, providing an assist each.

And although Ronaldo is now coming off the bench, that doesn't take away from how he is one of the greatest players ever to play the sport. A fresh and energized Ronaldo, subbing onto the pitch late in the match, is a massive boost against a Morocco defense that just played 120 minutes.

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Morocco vs. Portugal Pick

Morocco will park the bus for another 90 minutes and hope they can conjure some quality from their attackers to score on the counter.

However, Portugal are a far more direct and purposeful team in possession than Spain. Having to turn it back on again after going all out for 120 minutes on just four days rest means a lapse in concentration is bound to occur for the Atlas Lions.

Look for the Portuguese to take advantage when that lapse comes. Take them on the moneyline.

The Pick: Portugal ML (-150)

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