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Saudi Arabia vs Mexico Odds, Prediction, Pick | Can El Tri Survive and Advance?

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico Odds, Prediction, Pick | Can El Tri Survive and Advance? article feature image
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Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Sami Al Najei.

  • Mexico are favored to beat Saudi Arabia at the World Cup.
  • Will the odds-on favorite secure an important win?
  • Read on for Anthony Dabbundo's match preview.

Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 30
2 p.m. ET
FS1
Saudi Arabia Odds +375
Mexico Odds -145
Draw +300
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -110)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (-125 / +106)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.

After two matches at the World Cup, Mexico and Saudi Arabia find themselves at the bottom of Group C. Mexico need a victory to advance to the knockout round, while Saudi Arabia will almost certainly need all three points, barring Poland beating Argentina.

Mexico have made a habit out of advancing from the group stage, which they’ve done at the last seven World Cups. Getting out of this group will be a difficult task though, given their precarious goal difference situation with Poland (four goals behind) and Argentina’s expected victory.

An even bigger problem for Mexico is how poor they’ve been at this tournament. They’ve failed to score a goal, which is true of Tunisia, Uruguay and them. Now they’ll probably need at least two, and a win, to have any real chance of progressing. Given how Saudi Arabia have played though, the Mexicans are overpriced once again.

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Saudi Arabia in Unexpected Position

The overall talent level of Saudi Arabia might be on the lower end of this tournament, but manager Hervé Renard has coached them into a solid overall side that could’ve easily advance from this group already if bounces had gone their way in the match against Poland. Saudi Arabia lost that match 2-0, but the xG were even. Saudi Arabia missed a penalty, hit the post and missed the rebound to said penalty.

The underlying numbers present an encouraging picture for this side through two matches. Despite playing Argentina in match one, Saudi Arabia have the seventh most attacking penalty area touches and they’ve tallied 1.8 xG. They controlled 63% of the ball against Poland and while Robert Lewandowski ultimately broke them open for an assist and a goal, Mexico don’t have an attacker with anywhere near that level of quality for this match.

They also rank eighth in total passes into the penalty area. Whatever you think of the overall talent level of Renard’s side, they’ve shown they can play with a high line and press opponents. They’ve also shown they can sit deep and defend in a low block if they get ahead.

The main questions for this side come in their penalty area individual defending, but this is the worst attacking group they’ve faced in this tournament.

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Mexico Still Alive Despite Struggles

Only one team in the whole tournament has created fewer xG than Mexico through two matches. They’ve managed just 1 xG, haven’t scored and didn’t really look like scoring in the last 135 minutes of action. Mexico had a solid first half against Poland and controlled the play, though there wasn’t too much going for them.

Since halftime of that match, they’ve really struggled to produce much of anything going forward. If you zoom out and consider their CONCACAF qualifying performances, that gives another reason for pause. They failed to beat Canada and the United States in qualifying, and the Canadian defense has looked especially vulnerable in this tournament.

Even against the poor defense of Costa Rica, Mexico scored once in two matches. They had the third best underlying numbers in the qualification process and don’t really have a true striker. With Raul Jimenez unable to start and play a full match, and his ineffectiveness when on the pitch in a sub role, there’s just not a lot of shots in the Mexican side.

Mexico are middle of the pack in passes into the penalty area and actually rank seventh in crosses into the area, but when there’s a striker-sized hole in your attack, you end up with plenty of final third entries and few shots and chances to show for it.

They’ve had 25 attacking penalty area touches despite having more of the ball against Poland. Now they have to be more aggressive to go for the victory, and that could leave them exposed down the other end.

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Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico Pick

Through two matches, it’s clear that Saudi Arabia have been the better side than Mexico. You can’t entirely throw out priors in this case, which suggest that Mexico has more talent and is the better side. But Mexico’s injuries, aging squad profile and lack of game-changing attacking talent make them a very vulnerable favorite here.

Mexico haven’t really had to go attack and send numbers forward by taking more defensive risks yet. That changes on Wednesday, and the defense could get more exposed as they push for the win. Saudi Arabia are the better coached and more versatile side here.

This match should be lined closer to a tossup in my view and I’ll take Saudi Arabia +0.5 at +100 or better, while also sprinkling on the moneyline at a big underdog price. Don’t be surprised if Saudi Arabia pull off yet another upset.

The Pick: Saudi Arabia +0.5 (+130) | Saudi Arabia ML (+375)

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