United States vs. Costa Rica Odds, Pick, Prediction: Will USMNT Prevail in Critical World Cup Qualifier?

United States vs. Costa Rica Odds, Pick, Prediction: Will USMNT Prevail in Critical World Cup Qualifier? article feature image
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Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: USMNT striker Ricardo Pepi.

  • The United States men's national team hosts Costa Rice in a pivotal World Cup qualifier on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
  • The USMNT is a big favorite in this match, and we're taking a unique betting angle for it following USA's loss to Panama this past weekend.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down his USMNT vs. Costa Rica pick below.

United States vs. Costa Rica Odds

USMNT Odds -215
Costa Rica Odds +550
Draw +310
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -140)
Day | Time Wednesday | 7 p.m. ET
Location Columbus, Ohio
How To Watch ESPN2 | UniMás | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

For the second consecutive month, the United States is facing enormous pressure in the final match of a World Cup qualifying window when it hosts Costa Rica on Wednesday in Columbus.

This time, the Americans began the window with a 2-0 home win over Jamaica in arguably their best qualifying performance. Unfortunately, they followed it with clearly their worst, a lifeless 1-0 loss in Panama that saw them fail to register a shot on goal.

Costa Rica is not earning points at the rate they did in their successful 2018 cycle, but after opening the window with a dour 0-0 draw in Honduras, the Ticos’ experience and relative depth shone through while rallying to a 2-1 home win against El Salvador.

Costa Rica was the only team to sweep the United States in the 2018 CONCACAF cycle. On Matchday 2 of that Hexagonal, Costa Rica won 4-0 at home in a game that got U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann fired. On Matchday 8, they won 2-0 away to set the stage for the Americans’ failure in Trinidad and Tobago a month later.

USMNT Hoping to Rebound on Home Soil

Manager Gregg Berhalter made seven changes to the starting XI from the Jamaica win against Panama. Whether the goal was to add fresh legs early or be able to change the game with late substitutes, they didn’t work.

The Americans failed to force Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia into a single save. They also conceded a goal on a corner kick, an area where the USMNT has historically excelled in CONCACAF play.

If there’s a bright spot, it’s that attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson and striker Ricardo Pepi should be able to play the full 90 minutes if needed. Both came off the bench but made minimal impact on Sunday.

Left back Antonee Robinson is also available after not traveling to Panama due to COVID-19 restrictions, having returned to his club in England.

Midfielder Weston McKennie could also return. He didn’t travel to Panama because of a mild quadriceps injury.

Experienced Costa Rica Looks to Play Spoiler

The Ticos may have the oldest concentration of key players in CONCACAF, but they have proven a tough out.

After falling behind early, Costa Rica rallied to a 2-1 home win over El Salvador Sunday on an equalizer from 36-year-old Bryan Ruiz and a penalty from 33-year-old Celso Borges.

Although Ruiz and Borges might be playing more minutes than ideal for players of their age, manager Luis Fernando Suarez has managed workloads well overall. Of the Ticos’ midfielders and forwards, only Borges and Joel Campbell have played more than two-thirds of Costa Rica’s 450 total minutes. Borges’ role as a holding midfielder is less labor-intensive than others in the front six or seven.

Perhaps the price for that rotation is a lack of cohesion in attack. Costa Rica’s two non-penalty goals through five games are tied for second fewest in the Octagonal.

Betting Analysis & Pick

The Costa Rica of the 2022 cycle clearly isn’t as talented as the Ticos of the ’14 or ’18 cycle, but this team knows exactly what it is. This is a team that will try to out-organize and disrupt opponents, and then lean on a veteran to produce on one of their few chances.

Even without injured Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna, the Americans aren’t short on talent, but it’s hard to tell what their basic identity is.

I think the Americans probably get a result, but that lack of guiding principles might make it closer than it needs to be, and enough of a question not to play them on an expensive moneyline.

Also, unlike in September, the U.S. doesn’t have the obvious depth edge here to be able to run and hide late.

So, I’m playing that the total goals finish at 1 or 2, on a goal bands wager with +105 odds and a 48.8% implied probability on DraftKings. Basically, it’s playing the under, but at a better price in exchange for the chance of losing on a scoreless draw.

Pick: Total Goals — 1 or 2 (+105)

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