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Scotland vs. Ukraine Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet FIFA World Cup Qualifying Playoff Match

Scotland vs. Ukraine Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet FIFA World Cup Qualifying Playoff Match article feature image
Credit:

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images. Pictured: Scotland standout Andy Robertson.

  • Scotland takes on Ukraine in Wednesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff match.
  • The winner of the game plays Wales later this week for Europe’s final spot in the World Cup field.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down the contest below and gives his top pick.

Scotland vs. Ukraine

Scotland Odds +125
Ukraine Odds +240
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+135 / -200)
Day | Time Wednesday | 2:45 p.m. ET
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The final spot left available for Europe at the 2022 FIFA World Cup is still to be decided, with winner of Wednesday’s match between Scotland and Ukraine moving on to face Wales in Sunday’s huge contest.

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, this game was delayed from its original March date to allow the Ukrainian team extra time to prepare for a potential World Cup bid. Putting aside the obviously more important situation at home, this encounter is highly fascinating given the little time the team has had to train together since the conflict began.

In contrast, Scotland has a fantastic opportunity coming off a good European Championships showing to set up an all-British showdown for trip to Qatar.

Scotland

It had been a long time since Scotland had been in a major tournament, but proved itself worthy this past summer at the European Championships. The nation drew with England, plus it put up a +1.3 xGDiff in its three matches despite finishing in last place in Group D.

World Cup qualifying has proven though that Euros was not a flash in the pan. Scotland finished in second in its qualifying group with Denmark and Austria, winning its last six matches by a combined score of 10-2 in the process. Overall, Scotland put up a +4.67 xGDiff in qualifying, which is quite impressive considering the Euros was the first major international tournament for Scotland in 23 years.

What a moment for John Souttar 🙌

A pivotal goal on our journey to next week's FIFA World Cup Play-off 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿#SCOUKR pic.twitter.com/DrKZBvhX3l

— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) May 26, 2022

There are some Scottish internationals playing in the Premier League like Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Che Adams (Southampton), John McGinn (Aston Villa) and Scott McTominay of Manchester United.

In terms of stylistic matchups, Scotland is going to set up in some version of a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation and be reliant on its wingbacks. Robertson and others will move the ball up the flanks and supply crosses into the penalty area. Ukraine was near the bottom at the Euros in terms of progressive passes allowed and crosses completed into the area, so this is a good matchup.

Ukraine

Oh, boy. You really have to feel for Ukraine, given what it has gone through. On Nov. 7, its manager and Ukrainian legend Andriy Shevchenko resigned manage Serie A side Genoa. The Ukrainian Federation appointed Oleksandr Petrakov as its new boss and he was in charge for its 2-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in a Nov. 16 meeting.

Then, the war started in February, which put a halt to the Ukrainian Premier League, which is pertinent to this match considering the national team relies on close to 60 percent of its players coming from its domestic league. The players are mainly from Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. So, that means a majority of its roster hasn’t seen regular time in more than three months.

DOVBYK continues his fine form!

After getting Ukraine’s second in midweek v Bosnia

He grabbed a brace in the UPL this evening v Oleksandriya (3-1 FT)

He leads the top scorer chart with

10 ⚽️ & 2 🅰️ in just 14 games! pic.twitter.com/J3fNwSjkGn

— Zorya Londonsk (@ZoryaLondonsk) November 20, 2021

The Ukrainian national team has been training in the Slovenian Alps for quite some time now, so it will have a bit of an advantage over Scotland, which has only had a few weeks of training together.

Now, there is the analytical side of this Ukrainian team. It is drastically over-performing on the pitch. Combining its World Cup qualifying and five matches at the Euros, the country only has a +0.10 xGD overall.

The real reason Ukraine has a positive xGDiff is because it has easily handledon lesser sides like North Macedonia, Kazakhstan and Finland. In eight matches against France, Netherlands, Sweden, England, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine only created 6.95 xG and allowed 13.86 xG overall. So, given the circumstances, this is going be an uphill climb for the Ukrainians.

Model Projections & Best Bet

The sentimental pick is to take Ukraine, given everything going on in the country. However, sometimes you have to be cold and trust the numbers in the betting world. Scotland has a higher total squad transfer value (via Transfermarkt.us), a better xGDiff and the players in its squad have seen regular playing time the last three months.

Since I have Scotland projected at +111, I like the value on it at +130 odds and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Scotland ML (+130)

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