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Wales vs. Ukraine Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet FIFA World Cup Qualifying Playoff Match (June 5)

Wales vs. Ukraine Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet FIFA World Cup Qualifying Playoff Match (June 5) article feature image
Credit:

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images. Pictured: Ukraine fans and players celebrate a goal.

Wales vs. Ukraine

Wales Odds +160
Ukraine Odds +185
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+135 / -190)
Day | Time Sunday | 12 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN2 | ESPN+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Under the most impossible of circumstances, Ukraine kept its World Cup hopes alive when it earned a 3-1 win against Scotland 3-1 in Wednesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff match.

Now, the underdog nation makes the short trip over to Cardiff for Sunday’s match against Wales, with the winner heading to the World Cup in Qatar.

Wales defeated Austria back in March to book its spot in this high-stakes contest and looks to book its first World Cup appearance since 1958. The winner will join Group B, which includes England, Iran and the United States.

So, if you are a USA fan, this match is especially pertinent to you.

Wales

The favorite’s underlying metrics in the European Championships and throughout World Cup qualifying haven’t been up to par with some the rest of Europe’s teams. At the Euros, the nation finished with a -3.75 xGDiff, and outside of a win over Turkey, it was thoroughly dominated in every other game.

That has been the same story throughout qualifying. Wales was in a pretty difficult group with Belgium, Czech Republic Belarus and Estonia. The country was dominant in matches against Belarus and Estonia, putting together a +4.22 xGDiff in four outings.

WHAT A FREE KICK FROM GARETH BALE 🎯 pic.twitter.com/zeC8MAVihL

— Action Network Soccer (@ActionNetSoccer) March 24, 2022

However, in the games against Belgium and Czech Republic, they had a -1 xGDiff overall. Then, Wales hosted Austria for a World Cup qualifier playoff and despite securing a 2-1 win, it only won the expected-goals battle by a 1.12-0.90 margin.

Typically, Wales likes to set up in a defensive formation, like the 3-5-2 setup it played against Austria, which sometimes turns into a 5-3-2 or 4-4-2 in a game.

The reason is it wants to protect the weakest part of its squad, which is the back three of Ethan Ampadu (Venezia), Joe Rodon (Tottenham) and Ben Davies of Tottenham. It worked against a ball-dominant team like Austria, which likes to counterattack, but Ukraine is conservative and defensive in its tactics, so it’ll be interesting to see who holds more possession.

Ukraine

Despite a war going on in its country, playing only its second competitive match under a new manager and 60% of its roster not seeing regular action the past three months, Ukraine looked sharp against Scotland.

Ukraine deserved the win, but the expected-goals battle was closer than the actual score line, with Ukraine finishing with a 1.90-1.52 xG advantage.

Scotland (1.52) 1-3 (1.90) Ukraine

— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) June 1, 2022

What was interesting was that Ukraine was able to hold 58% possession of the ball, which is what it has done against lower-quality nations like Kazakstan, Finland and North Macedonia. So, if Ukraine is able to hold a majority of the possession against Wales, it should be able to create a large share of the chances against weak Welsh defense.

Ukraine struggled throughout the European Championships and World Cup qualifying, putting up a -6.91 xGDiff against France, Netherlands, Sweden, England, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, Wales doesn’t fall into that category considering I have it ranked as only the 25th best country in Europe.

Model Projections & Best Bet

I have this match projected at what the oddsmakers have as of writing, so this would most of the time be pass for me.

However, given the stakes of the match and Wales conservative nature, I’m backing the Double Result of Draw in the first half with Ukraine winning the match in the second half at long +525 odds at BetMGM as my top pick.

Pick: Double Result — Draw/Ukraine (+525)

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