USA vs. Iran Odds & Projections: What Are USA’s Chances to Advance into World Cup Knockout Stage

USA vs. Iran Odds & Projections: What Are USA’s Chances to Advance into World Cup Knockout Stage article feature image

DeFodi Images, Richard Heathcote/Getty. Pictured: Tyler Adams and Ramin Rezaeian.

After a nervy 0-0 draw with England, where the USA actually produced more chances than the Three Lions, the Stars and Stripes must win on Tuesday against Iran to advance.

What are the USA's chances to advance against Iran, and what are some early best bets to keep an eye on? My World Cup projections and simulations can help guide us.

My projections simulate each game 250,000 times and are powered by my colleague BJ Cunningham‘s offensive and defensive power ratings for each team. Using his power ratings, I use something called diagonal-inflated bivariate poisson to simulate the scoring distribution for each game.

For the 2022 World Cup so far, my picks have netted us 13.0 units after another profitable day on Friday.

So, are the US favored to advance? Let's find out.

USA vs. Iran Projections

My simulations show USA are a slight underdog to advance, with only a 45.7% chance to beat Iran. While USA winning is the plurality result, there's enough chance of an Iran win or draw to temper American expectations to advance.

Iran have averaged only 30% possession through two games, so the Americans should dominate possession.

The question is whether the USA can put the ball in the back of the net.

Will Goals be Scored?

Fortunately for the Americans, my simulations show they are an 80.9% favorite to bag at least one goal.

In fact, this game has some surprising shootout potential if either side scores early.

If Iran scores first, the USA will absolutely be pressing to bag two goals. On the flip side, if the Americans score first, Iran must press for an equalizer.

To get a little math-y, that's part of why the "bivariate" part of "diagonal-inflated bivariate poisson" is so important in modeling these games. Team goals aren't fully independent poisson processes.

So while there's thin value on the over, there's certainly early value on over 3.5 goals at +300. My simulations show fair value on that at +253, with a 28.4% chance of happening.

I think the general consensus is this game will be tight and low scoring with Iran packing it in, so I don't mind waiting for a better price, even though there's value here.

How to Bet Iran

If we remove draws from my simulations, Iran have a 34.9% chance to win in non-draw scenarios. That equates to +187 odds.

USA are highly likely to dominate, but Iran are better than books are giving them credit for.

Iran draw no bet has early value at +200 at FanDuel, but again I think we can wait this out as money should pour in on the Americans.

How to Bet the USA

Unfortunately because sportsbooks are juicing the Americans, there isn't a ton of value to be had.

One spot we can rely on is the Americans' superior talent plus the correlated goals scenario.

Because of this, there's actually value on the Americans to win by an exact scoreline of 3-2, 4-2 or 5-2 at FanDuel.

My simulations give this a 4.6% chance of happening, which equates to +2065 fair odds. That means there's some thin value at +2200.

If you want a real gamble on the Americans, I don't mind a small sprinkle on it because again, it's not likely to last. I'm putting 0.1 units on it myself because the edge is small.

Pick: USA to win 3-2, 4-2, or 5-2 (Bet to +2200)

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