World Cup Projections: Analytics Point Towards These France vs. Morocco Bets

World Cup Projections: Analytics Point Towards These France vs. Morocco Bets article feature image

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images. Pictured: Badr Benoun.

The 2022 World Cup semifinals are here. Underdogs Morocco join France, Argentina, and Croatia – each of whom were World Cup finalists in either 2014 or 2018.

Many questions loom around these two games. Will we see a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final where France beat Croatia 4-2? Will Argentina and France meet in a clash of the titans? Or will Croatia or Morocco — or maybe both — pull off stunning upsets?

Let's turn to the numbers to find out.

My World Cup 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.

Without further ado, here are my best bets according to my model projections for the World Cup semifinals.

World Cup Projections

All bets are 1 unit unless stated otherwise

Argentina vs. Croatia (2 p.m. ET, Tuesday)

  • Argentina are 49.0% to win in regulation and 57.3% favorites to win prior to a possible penalty shootout.
  • There’s a 16.9% chance this game goes to penalties.
  • Overall, Argentina are favored to advance at 65.7%.
  • Argentina have averaged 1.34 non-penalty xG while Croatia have allowed 1.27 xGA in the World Cup.
  • Two of Argentina's nine goals have come via penalty kicks.
  • If Croatia can come in just a little bit better than expectations project, they have a real shot to advance.
  • Best Bet: Croatia to advance (+210 via Caesars)
  • Bet to: +200
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France vs. Morocco (2 p.m. ET, Wednesday)

  • France are 53.4% favorites to win in regulation and 62.1% to win prior to a possible penalty shootout.
  • There’s an 18.2% chance this game goes to penalties.
  • Overall, France are favored to advance at 71.2%.
  • Expect a low-scoring game thanks to Morocco's stingy defense, which allows only 0.82 xG per game.
  • France are averaging just 1.43 xG per game in their last four games.
  • France will dominate the ball, but this game comes down to whether or not France can break down Morocco's defense.
  • If they can't, then Morocco have a shot to advance by either scoring a goal against the run of play or winning in penalties.
  • Simulations are showing value on a low-scoring game, penalties and a Morocco upset.
  • We'll bet Morocco to advance, with 0.25 units on either team to win in penalties and 0.1 units on Morocco to win in penalties.
  • For more bets on this game, follow me in the Action App.
  • Best Bets: Morocco to advance (+340 via DraftKings) | Either team in penalties (+600 via FanDuel) | Morocco in penalties (+1300 via FanDuel)
  • Bet to: +300, +550, and +1200 respectively

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