World Cup Prop Picks For Argentina vs Croatia, France vs Morocco
Chris Brunskill/Getty. Pictured: Olivier Giroud.
If the World Cup quarterfinals showed us anything, they reinforced that the teams remaining in the tournament are who we thought they were.
Argentina scored twice and held on despite conceding late. Croatia fought from behind. France won despite conceding. Morocco continued to defend exceptionally. Everything we’ve seen before, we saw again.
While recency bias can be a weakness in handicapping, it can also be a strength in international soccer. Some names carry a lot more clout than others. That doesn’t always match up with who each squad is during an individual moment.
For our best semifinal World Cup Picks, we look at trends over the course of the tournament and see where we can exploit the prop market.
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World Cup Picks
Argentina vs. Croatia: Croatia to Score Last (+220 via bet365)
Croatia have now scored the last goal inside 90 minutes in five of their last six 90-minute games and in two of their five games at this tournament.
Argentina have conceded the last goal on three occasions this tournament, including both of their previous knockout round matches.
Some of those patterns probably owe to random chance, but some probably owe to mentality, and some to how each side’s tactical approach changes after a goal.
Given that the moneyline is probably skewed too heavily in Argentina’s favor, the +220 price on Croatia to score the last goal in 90 minutes is too high to pass up.
By betting it, you’re backing a 31.3% implied probability on a wager that has hit 50% of the time between these teams in Qatar.
Argentina vs. Croatia: Both Teams to Score (+120 via bet365)
A wager on both teams to score has paid out exactly 50% of the time in these teams’ 10 games in this tournament, and in six of their last nine knockout matches dating back to the 2018 World Cup.
It’s also a bet that is trending overall in the knockout phase, cashing in 8-of-12 games so far. Argentina’s ability to score early goals is exactly what is needed to bring a capable but cautious Croatian side out.
So take +120 odds and an implied 45.5% probability.
We are probably due a tournament where this wager cashes in both semifinals, but the next wager in France vs. Morocco offers a higher payout and may be equally likely.
France vs. Morocco: Morocco to Score 1 Goal Exact (+160 via bet365)
If there’s a way that 2022 France compares negatively against the 2018 World Cup champions, it’s on defense.
Les Bleus have conceded exactly a goal in all of their matches so far in Qatar. They kept four clean sheets four years ago in Russia.
That’s at least partly owed to absences in the spine of their team. Midfielders Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante were ruled out before the tournament, and center back Lucas Hernandez got hurt in the opening match.
Morocco’s excellent defense has perhaps overshadowed their exceptional efficiency on the counter.
Despite not holding more than 42% of the possession in any match, the Atlas Lions have scored five goals, created 4.5 expected goals (xG) and have an xG difference only slightly in negative territory, at -0.3.
So, take advantage of a favorable prices and play Morocco to score one goal here at +160 odds and an implied 38.5% probability.
France vs. Morocco: France to Win By 1 Goal (+240 via Bet365)
Since 1998, the last three teams that have come into a semifinal as even money favorites or shorter — France ’98, Brazil ’02 and Netherlands ’10 — have won their matches by exactly one goal.
Theoretically, that means you should back both favorites to win by one in this round, but the extent to which oddsmakers are favoring Argentina against a team that reached the 2018 final isn’t quite rational.
And remember, Croatia also demolished Argentina 3-0 in the 2018 group stage.
France might also be favored too strongly, but Morocco remain far more unproven than Croatia. It’s safe to consider Les Bleus as legitimate odds-on favorites, even if the numbers should be a little lower.
As such, playing France to win by exactly a goal at +240 odds and an implied 29.4% probability might be the best value on the board.