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World Cup Semifinal Best Bets: Back This France vs. Morocco Play

World Cup Semifinal Best Bets: Back This France vs. Morocco Play article feature image
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Markus Gilliar/Getty. Pictured: Aurelien Tchouameni and Ibrahima Konate.

The World Cup semifinals have arrived, with Argentina taking on Croatia and France squaring off with Morocco.

While the Action Network’s team of soccer experts have broken these games down in a number of ways – you can find projections here and props hereJohnathan Wright and Matthew Trebby are providing you with their additional best bets for the two fixtures below.

Read on for the bet to make on Lionel Messi as well as a Single-Game Parlay that presents solid value.

World Cup Semifinal Best Bets

Argentina vs. Croatia: Lionel Messi Over 1.5 Shots on Target (+100 via PointsBet)

Johnathan Wright: At 35-years old, Messi’s fifth and final World Cup has been his best. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is leading the field in shots per game with five.

48% of those five shots have been on frame, equating to 2.4 shots on target per match, which is first among players who have played in three or more games. There are no signs that the PSG frontman will see any decrease in his numbers against Croatia.

While the Checkered Ones have been extremely tough to beat defensively, conceding just 0.6 goals per outing, they are allowing 13.2 shots per game. That is the most allowed out of all the teams remaining and the same number that the Netherlands averaged. Messi just recorded five total shots against them, and two of those were on target.

Croatia are also giving up 13.8 fouls per game (ninth-most), meaning Messi will likely be put in the position to record at least one of his shots on target from a free kick, making this even odds wager even more valuable.

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France vs. Morocco: Single-Game Parlay | France to Qualify & Both Teams to Score – No (-121 via FanDuel)

Matthew Trebby: This matchup reminds me of the Euro 2016 semifinals.

Iceland had just embarked on an incredible journey to the semifinals, having just knocked off England in a stunning upset. Then, they ran into France, the pre-tournament favorites and hosts.

This year, France are a level above Spain and Portugal – Morocco’s prior two opponents – as good as Spain and Portugal are. The French had a +5.5 xG difference in the group stage, but they have been made to look human with just a combined 2.3 xG from their wins over Poland and England.

Part of that is down to the French’s style, as well as England’s quality. Gareth Southgate’s men played all but 24 of the more than 100 total minutes playing from behind, so they were always going to finish ahead in the xG data.

France were fortunate that Harry Kane sent his second penalty to the moon, but they were resolute in defense and only allowed 0.9 non-penalty xG.

Like how France came out hot against Iceland just over six years ago, I expect Didier Deschamps’ team to control this game, regardless of whether they’re playing from ahead or behind.

Morocco have created many chances in this tournament, but the sustainability is not there. They created just 2.4 xG in the group stage but out-performed that against Spain and Portugal. It seems very possible, perhaps almost likely, that they’re shut out by the best defense they’ve faced in this tournament.

This is the best way to get close to even money while betting on France, who are the tournament favorites among the remaining four teams.

Same-Game Parlay: France to Qualify & Both Teams to Score (No)


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