Thursday CONCACAF Gold Cup Odds, Picks, Prediction: Qatar vs. United States Betting Preview (July 29)
Omar Vega/Getty Images. Pictured: Gyasi Zardes.
- The United States and Qatar meet Thursday evening for the semifinal of the Gold Cup.
- Both sides had scares in the quarterfinal round, with the Americans getting by Jamaica and Qatar past El Salvador.
- Ian Quillen explains below why he thinks the U.S. will likely find it easier to finish in front of net.
Qatar vs. United States Odds
|United States Odds||-110|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+110 / -135)|
|Day | Time||Thursday | 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||FS1 | Univision | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Wednesday night via DraftKings.|
The United States men’s national team looks to reach a third consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup final when it meets guest nation Qatar on Thursday in a semifinal-round match in Austin.
The American men had to work hard for their 1-0 quarterfinal win over Jamaica, with Matthew Hoppe’s header deciding things in the 83rd minute.
Qatar also had its own nervy quarterfinal moments, nearly squandering a three-goal lead in a 3-2 victory over El Salvador. The 2022 World Cup hosts have been the tournament’s most productive offensive team, scoring 12 times in four matches.
The USMNT has also been solid at both ends of the pitch. The Americans boast a tournament-best +8 goal differential.
Qatar Making Habit of Squandering Leads
The defending Asian Cup winners have backed up those credentials with some stylish attacking.
Almoez Ali is the tournament-leader with four goals, including a brace against El Salvador. Ro-Ro and Akram Afif are two of three players with three assists.
Yet Qatar rode their luck against El Salvador, helped by a soft penalty for a third goal that was upheld despite video review. That game echoed their group opener, when they thrice gave back the lead in a 3-3 draw with Panama.
Qatar hasn’t always had these defensive struggles, keeping clean sheets in six of seven matches en route to winning the 2019 Asian Cup on home soil. But they’ve conceded at least once in all seven matches against FIFA top-50 opposition since then — four times in friendlies and thrice as a guest side at the 2019 Copa America.
Theoretically their 2-0 group win over Honduras would suggest an ability to give a better defensive performance, but that effort came with Honduras missing star winger Alberth Elis from the start with an injury. Starting center forward Romell Quioto also left with an injury before the end of the opening half-hour.
United States Emerged From Jamaica Scare
Although the closing line had the U.S. as overwhelming favorites against Jamaica, their narrow margin of victory shouldn’t have been surprising.
Jamaica has a history of recent Gold Cup success. The loss to the Americans snapped a run of three consecutive semifinal appearances, with Jamaica reaching the final in 2015 and 2017. Their roster is stocked full of players based in MLS and the English Football League Championship.
In fact, I’d argue the U.S. performance Sunday night was easily its best of the tournament, employing one of the best tactical plans of manager Gregg Berhalter’s tenure.
There were early scares. But the Americans clearly improved as the game wore on, thanks in no small part in strategic insertions of striker Gyasi Zardes and midfielder Cristian Roldan after halftime.
Berhalter also had a long leash on Hoppe, who had some ragged edges to his performance but also an undeniable emotional intensity that fueled the U.S. effort. It culminated in the 20-year-old’s first international goal.
Matthew Turner’s strong tournament in goal also continued, and he’s now saved the U.S. roughly four goals according to one xG compiler. That could also be taken as a warning sign for the American defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The win-or-go-home nature of knockout play can often depress scoring. But not always. I am not sold it will here.
This is an American team assembled with an eye on learning lessons for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, and a Qatar side attempting to prepare for its World Cup hosting duties. They’re going to try and play their best football first and adjust toward getting a result as the match progresses.
Even with their relative lack of experience, the U.S. getting a goal against Qatar is almost formality. And American squads of varying strengths have generally excelled offensively in the semifinals, scoring at least once in nine consecutive semis and at least twice in six of the last eight.
With Zardes, Roldan and fullback Reggie Cannon possibly moving from substitute to starting roles, the ingredients are there for multiple goals.
I’m slightly less sold on Qatar’s ability to find a goal against what will easily be the most competent defensive team they’ve faced this tournament. That said, it’s also true this is the best attacking team the Americans have faced, in part because of Canada’s injuries.
Yes on both teams to score at -105 odds and a 51.2% implied probability is a decent value. The team total on the U.S. over 1.5 goals at +100 and a 50% implied probability is a better one.
If you’re conservative, I could even advocate for the U.S. team total over 0.5 goals at -450 odds. That’s an 81.6% implied probability for an occurrence I’d consider at least 90% likely.
Pick: United States Team Total Over 1.5 Goals (+100)