By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
It’s never too early to throw down a couple of 2022 World Cup bets!
And now that the groups are set, gamblers have a better idea of which countries to wager on ahead of Qatar.
Since the World Cup will be here before we know it, and these odds are certain to change, here are three pool play wagers to make right now — with odds courtesy of FOX Bet.
Brazil is so dominant in the group stage that you have to go back nearly a quarter of a century to find the last time it lost a game. And even then, it was an irrelevant third game, having already locked up a spot in the knockout stage.
The Canarinho are loaded and should have no problem dispatching Serbia in the opener. The second game against Switzerland will determine the Group winner.
The Swiss midfield duo of Sheridan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire) and Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) are formidable, and if the offense can steal an early goal, the impregnable defense could upset Brazil. That’s not a bet I’d make.
Brazil is in top form, going 6-0-3 in its last nine qualifying matches, outscoring opponents by a staggering 21-3 aggregate. The core is aging but dominant.
We’ll know early if this bet comes through because the Netherlands opens with Senegal and then have two easy matches. A win against Senegal — a team we’ve written about as a sleeper — would lock up the group, as Qatar is arguably the worst team in the entire World Cup, and Ecuador is a bottom-tier opponent.
If you want to play the motivation card, Netherlands not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and a surprising loss in the Round of 16 at Euro 2020 will do the trick.
Netherlands has at least two of the best three players in the bracket — Frankie de Jong and Memphis DePay, who both play for Barcelona — and possibly the fourth and fifth, too — defenders Virgil van Dijk and Nathan Ake, who play for Liverpool and Man City, respectively.
This bet is a little juicy, but Netherlands are very likely to finish as the group winner.
If you’re going to tie up some of your bankroll this early, you can’t go wrong backing Lionel Messi and the reigning Copa America champs. The only thing missing from La Pulga’s trophy case is a World Cup title, as they lost 1-0 to Germany in the 2014 Final.
Argentina has a tougher bracket than Netherlands or Brazil, with always-dangerous Mexico looming in Game 2. And as we’ve chronicled before, this is an aging Argentina squad, with Messi turning 35 this month, forward Sergio Aguero turning 34 this month, and forward Angel Di Maria already 34. The man to watch is 24-year-old Lautaro Martinez, who will take the torch from Messi as Argentina’s next great player.
The match with Mexico will be one of the biggest in the group stage and decide this bet.
Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports betting analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Draft. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, “Coming Up Winners,” in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010.
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