Sunday World Cup Qualifier Odds, Pick, Prediction for Panama vs. USA: Expect Both Nations to Find Goals (Oct. 10)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: United States standout Ricardo Pepi.
- The United States and Panama meet Sunday in a key World Cup qualifying match in the CONCACAF region.
- The Americans enter this contest fresh off their 2-0 win over Jamaica, while Panama dominated in a 1-0 setback at El Salvador.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the game below and gives his top pick.
Panama vs. USA Odds
|Over/Under||1.5 (-185 / +130)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 6:05 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+ | fuboTV|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.|
The United States looks to take another step toward securing a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup when it visits the Panama side that qualified for 2018 in Russia at its expense.
The Americans enter this latest fixture tied with Mexico atop the final-round standings with eight points from their opening four matches.
Panama suffered its first defeat Thursday — a 1-0 loss at El Salvador — after matching the U.S. with five points from its September qualifying matches.
The Americans won these teams’ last meeting in a 6-2 friendly rout played in March of 2020 in Austria. The Yanks also earned a 1-0 triumph in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage in their last match in sanctioned competition.
Panama Continues Roster Transition
Los Canaleros will celebrate the four-year anniversary of their qualification for their first-ever World Cup when they host the United States.
Much of the squad has turned over since then. Six of the 14 players who featured during a 2-1 win over Costa Rica that clinched Panama’s place in Russia saw the field in Thursday’s loss in San Salvador.
With Panama’s relatively recent footballing growth, its leagues lack the tradition of some others in Central America. And in pushing to improve its national team, the federation has encouraged players to go abroad.
The result is a roster that pulls from as many different divisions as any in the CONCACAF Octagonal — including clubs in MLS, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, Japan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Costa Rica.
According to Transfermarkt, only three players on the current roster are based domestically.
Rolando Blackburn leads Los Canaleros in the final round of qualifying with two goals.
Gabriel Torres, who led Panama with three goals in 2018 qualifying, made his first appearance of the 2022 cycle final round with a 13-minute shift off the bench on Thursday.
Can Pepi Continue Success for United States?
While the Americans’ 4-1 win in Honduras may have been more historic in terms of final score and venue, Thursday’s performance against Jamaica was easily their steadiest of qualifying so far.
The U.S. clearly controlled play from start to finish, even if they struggled to create clear-cut chances before halftime.
Ricardo Pepi continued his emergence with his second and third goals in just the 18-year-old’s second international appearance. And the Americans created 1.9 expected goals, while conceding only 0.3, according to Opta.
Already without Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna in their front four, midfielder Weston McKennie, left back Antonee Robinson and goalkeeper Zack Steffen won’t be making the trip to Panama.
However, the latter trio could play against Costa Rica next Wednesday in Columbus.
McKennie is dealing with a sore quadriceps. Robinson and Steffen were left behind to avoid a 10-day quarantine upon their return to their respective England-based clubs, since Panama is on the UK’s “red list” in regards to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Betting Analysis & Pick
We haven’t really seen this version of Panama play this version of the U.S. But we have seen how Panama approached their match against another road favorite in Mexico.
Under manager Thomas Christiansen, Panama came out on the front foot and took a deserved lead over El Tri.
Los Canaleros have also showed a willingness to play somewhat surprisingly open matches against Honduras and Qatar at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
As for the Americans, they have not really adopted a pragmatic or conservative posture at home or on the road yet. They’ve also conceded to underdogs in Canada at home and Honduras on the road. And they’re without center back John Brooks, who is nursing back issues.
I’m not sure we get a truly high-scoring encounter here, but I think there’s at least an even chance both teams find a goal.
That makes yes on both teams to score the play for me here at +130 odds and a 43.5% implied probability.
Pick: Both Teams To Score — Yes (+130)