The FIFA World Cup has arrived. A few months later than usual, but still here. And the RotoBaller team has you covered for all of your World Cup needs. Throughout the competition, we’ll be providing DFS articles, game previews, and betting picks.
To get things started, we’ll be previewing a different group each day until the big game on Sunday, November 20th. We’ll predict how each group will turn out, what to expect from each country, and offer our top picks for each country involved. To track them, we’ll use units for each betting pick, with a maximum of 10 units played for any pick and a total of 25 units played for each group.
Group B has some intriguing matches with top seeds. England, looking to repeat their only World Cup victory from 1956, will face off against neighbors Wales (playing in a World Cup for the first time in 54 years), Iran, and the United States of America, who are returning after missing out on qualification in 2018. With all four nations currently ranked in the top 20 of the FIFA world rankings, it is expected to be a competitive group.
Preview of England, Odds, Best Bet, and Predictions
England does not enter the tournament in good form, despite reaching the semi-finals four years ago and losing the European Championships final on penalties last year. They finished bottom of their UEFA Nations League group, with no wins in six games, and manager Gareth Southgate under fire for his tactics.
England has one of the best groups of young and exciting attacking players in the world, though the team’s tactics have somewhat stifled them. Last year, their success at the European Championships was built on their defense, which kept five clean sheets in seven games. However, they only managed one in six Nations League games, conceding ten goals in total, with the majority of their likely starting defensive unit in poor form for their clubs.
If they win their group, they may be able to avoid one of the top countries until the Final. But there are a lot of variables to consider, and England’s recent form makes me doubt they’ll advance past the quarter-finals.
Favorite game: Elimination stage – Quarter-finals (+250) 3 units
England should be able to get through the group, and if they win, they should avoid facing the Netherlands in the second round. But I’m not convinced they’ll advance past the last eight, and without some luck in the draws, they’ll likely face their first major test in the quarter-finals, where they could fall short.
Preview of Iran, Odds, Best Bet, and Predictions
Iran (20th) is the highest-ranked Asian country, but it’s fair to say they haven’t faced the same level of competition as the majority of the other top 20 countries. They have a friendly win over Uruguay and a draw with Senegal this year, and as the old adage goes, you can only beat what is in front of you. Only Japan (58) scored more goals in their 18-game qualification campaign than Iran (49) did, but 24 of those goals came in two games against Cambodia.
Iran has never advanced past the first round of a World Cup and has never scored more than two goals. It’s difficult to see them accomplishing either this time. This is the closest thing Iran has had to a home World Cup, and they should be well supported, which could give them a boost to a famous victory. Even so, in what appears to be a tough group, that may not be a realistic hope.
I don’t see Iran leaving the group, and while they may gain a point, I see them returning home with nothing to show for their efforts.
Favorite play: Finishing last in the group (-120) 7 units
Even if Iran wins, they could still finish bottom of the group, and with their first game against England, unless a massive upset occurs, they’ll have to chase points against Wales and the United States. If their recent goal-scoring slump continues, it’s difficult to see how Iran can avoid finishing last in Group B.
Wales Odds, Best Bet, and Predictions
Wales will compete in only their second World Cup, and the first in over a half-century. They had to earn their place in Qatar the hard way, drawing with Belgium in their final group game to make the playoffs, then beating Austria and Ukraine. Their recent European Championships performance should boost their confidence, as they reached the semi-finals in 2016 (topping their group with England) and the knockout stages in 2021.
They enter the tournament ranked 18th, but were drawn in pot four after their final playoff qualification game was delayed, so they will feel cheated that they weren’t in pot three and had a slightly easier group. They will, however, remain confident that they can advance, and their recent success at the European Championships should serve them well.
Getting to the World Cup is a fantastic achievement for Wales, and while I don’t expect them to be embarrassed, I do expect them to go home with one win.
Gareth Bale (+175) is Wales’ leading scorer. 5 units
Despite his problems with Real Madrid, Bale has always performed for Wales and is regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play for the country. With 40 goals in 108 games, he is the nation’s all-time leading scorer, and he only needs two more caps to break the record for appearances. He scored both goals against Austria and was also credited with the goal against Ukraine, propelling Wales to the World Cup. Expect him to catch at least one fish in Qatar.
Good luck with your World Cup wagers, and always bet responsibly!
Preview, Odds, Best Bet, and Predictions for the United States of America
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, American soccer needed a new direction, and Greg Berhalter has certainly contributed to that. They finished third in qualifying behind Canada and Mexico, narrowly beating Costa Rica to third (and avoiding a playoff match against New Zealand) on goal difference. They should be confident, however, after winning the Gold Cup in 2021.
The United States has a young team, with 14 of their 26 players being 24 or younger. They have players in the squad who have played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea, AC Milan, Juventus, Valencia, and Borussia Dortmund. Many of them are from that young group, so while they may lack experience in years, they should not be overlooked and will be optimistic about making it through the group stage.
Expectations for the United States going into a World Cup haven’t been this low in a long time, and I think they’ll do well enough to advance to the second round. But I don’t see them going any further.
Favorite game: Over 3.5 total points in the group stage (-155) 10 units
It’s difficult to predict who will advance to the second round from this group, but the US should be able to pick up at least four points from their three games. If they beat Iran, they’d only need a draw against Wales or England to advance, and given that they face Wales in the final group game, most scenarios will see the US needing at least a point in that game to advance, there shouldn’t be any dead rubbers.