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Morocco vs Spain Odds, Pick, Prediction: How to Bet the Round of 16 Match

Morocco vs Spain Odds, Pick, Prediction: How to Bet the Round of 16 Match article feature image
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Marc Atkins/Getty. Pictured: Sergio Busquets.

Morocco vs. Spain Odds

Tuesday, Dec. 6
10 a.m. ET
FOX
Morocco Odds +550
Spain Odds -167
Draw +275
Over/Under 2.5 (+120 / -150)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (+120 / -163)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.

Morocco and Spain meet on Tuesday in a rematch of a 2018 group stage fixture that otherwise has surprisingly little history for two nations in such close proximity.

That 2-2 draw on the final day of group play four years ago was only the teams’ third meeting all time. It might apply even less to this rematch than you think. While many of Morocco’s current squad featured in that game, only four of the 14 Spain players who took part that day are in the squad now.

In a condensed World Cup schedule, this is one of only two round of 16 games where each team will be on five days of rest coming in. That will be welcomed by Morocco, who have seen 11 players play 180 minutes or more in the group stage to Spain’s seven.

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Morocco Relatively Consistent For International Side

Morocco opened the tournament with a scoreless draw against Croatia that suggested neither side might be long for the tournament.

In hindsight, both teams’ willingness to settle for a point and avoid digging an early hole proved wise. In Morocco’s case, it provided the confidence to pull off one of the most famous results in their history, defeating Belgium 2-0 on matchday two.  Romain Saiss and Zakaria Aboukhal scored the goals, which both came after the 70th minute.

Then they struck early against Canada, with Chelsea star Hakim Zayech scoring on four minutes and Youssef En-Nesyri adding his first of the tournament 19 minutes later. The latter goal may be especially heartening for the North Africans, given En-Nesyri hadn’t scored for Sevilla in La Liga this season.

In an African international soccer landscape that can see extremely conservative matches, Morocco has been the continent’s most consistent attacking team of late.

25 goals scored in their World Cup Qualifying effort was second behind Algeria. Their 1.5 goals scored per 90 minutes was second behind Cameroon at the 2022 African Cup of Nations, and their eight total goals tied for third despite exiting at the quarterfinal stage.

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Spain Are a High Variance Team

It’s difficult to know exactly what to make of Spain’s group stage performance.

La Furia Roja destroyed Costa Rica 7-0 with surgical precision, but the Central Americans’ low block was always going to be vulnerable once the Spaniards and their patient passing game got an early goal.

In a 1-1 draw with Germany and a 2-1 upset defeat to Japan, the weaknesses of Spain’s ball dominance resurfaced. An average of 73% possession between those games translated into just 1.6 xG created.

In the small window of group play, the Costa Rica match may feel like the outlier. However, expand the frame to include all of 2021 and 2022 and you’ll see a clear pattern of mostly underwhelming offensive performances combined with the occasional explosion.

Spain have scored exactly one goal in 13-of-23 competitive fixtures over that span. They’ve also scored three or more goals five times.

Alvaro Morata is the only Spanish player with a goal in the tournament outside of their 7-0 romp over Costa Rica, striking once in all three group games. Ferran Torres added a brace against the Ticos.

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Morocco vs. Spain Pick

The odds here reflect Spain’s overall pedigree and recent run to the Euro 2020 semifinals. If you were basing odds on the teams’ respective performances in Qatar, the favorite wouldn’t change, but the price would come down a lot.

Given all the chalk we saw in the first two days of the knockout phase, you might be tempted to hold your nose and back Spain anyway. You shouldn’t – at least not blindly.

Groups A through D were the chalkier groups in this tournament. It’s not surprising that the knockout phase involving those teams would carry on the same way.

And yes, Spain may have the pedigree, but their squad lacks the experience edge that typically comes with pedigree and often makes an outsized difference in short tournaments.

Given all that, you have to find a way to back Morocco in some form here. For me, the best value is on the North Africans holding Spain to a single goal at +185 odds and an implied 35.1% probability.

It’s a bet that has paid off in more than half of Spain’s competitive fixtures since the start of 2021, including four wins and 2-of-3 group matches at this World Cup.

You could also go more conservatively, playing the Asian handicap somewhere between Morocco +1 and +1.5.

The Pick: Spain to score 1 goal (+185)

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