France vs. Argentina, 10 a.m. ET, FOX
- France +140
- Argentina +255
- Draw +210
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It took a very late game-winner against Nigeria in the final group match in order to advance, but Argentina somehow found a way to progress. They have not played well in any of the three games so far despite having a plethora of talent available, and coach Jorge Sampaoli has struggled to find the right strategies and lineups. Against France, they’ll need to have a clear and direct plan of attack.
France were the winners of Group C, beating Peru and Australia before drawing with Denmark in the final group match. They weren’t the most convincing in any of those games but looked more like a team than Argentina, and have defended much better as well (1 goal conceded vs. 5).
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Argentina does have a few things going for them, starting with the fact that they have Leo Messi. If they can get him the ball in better positions, the attack will open up much quicker and the build-up won’t be so stagnant. Easier said than done as N’Golo Kante will have an eye on him.
Another positive is that they looked done and defeated against Croatia, but still found a way in the end to respond and beat Nigeria. Sure, they were -200 favorites to do so, but Germany were -500 to beat South Korea and got blanked, 2-0, with their tournament on the line. Nothing can be taken for granted in the World Cup.
La Albiceleste could be without midfielder Enzo Perez, and I wonder if we’ll see Angel Di Maria stay in the lineup out wide. I’d imagine Gonzalo Higuain gets another start up top, but that leaves Sergio Aguero and Paolo Dybala on the bench once again.
Les Bleus may be without defender Samuel Umtiti but are otherwise healthy. They are -145 favorites to advance past Argentina (+125), but they may need extra time to do it.
Oddsmakers are expecting a tight, low-scoring match but public bettors are not. More than 80% of bets is on over 2 goals, but odds have shifted toward the under (-101 to -110). Sharper bettors believe that this could be a 0-0 or 1-0 result in 90 minutes, and at worse a 1-1 finish.
Fewer goals certainly helps the draw, yet only 9% of tickets has been placed on it. Both Argentina (+255) and France (+140) are getting about 45% of the moneyline bets, so the draw is also a great contrarian angle to take here.