World Cup 2022: Best bets for U.S.-Iran

By Nigel Seeley  (VSIN.com) 

November 28, 2022 03:49 PM
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Best bet for USA-Iran World Cup match

It's a massive World Cup match in Group B on Tuesday when the United States takes on Iran. Can the U.S. win and advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup?

Our soccer handicapper Nigel Seeley and VSiN producer Matt Santos give their best bets for the match.

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Nigel Seeley: Not long now for one of the biggest games in the history of the US Men’s National team. These two teams met on the biggest stage in the 1998 World Cup, with Iran coming out on top in a close-fought 2-1 victory. Gregg Berhalter will be desperate for his side to avenge that and gain a victory that would take them through to the last 16. 

They should be heartened by their excellent performance against England in the 0-0 draw, which followed their opening 1-1 draw with Wales. The USA has gained many plaudits for the display against England, but they did not get the victory their chances deserved; hence they come into this game knowing only a win will do. Berhalter will be pleased he has no injury concerns and certainly has options from the bench in the shape of Dortmund wunderkind Giovanni Reyna and Leeds midfielder Brenden Aaronson. Both could well feature at some point. Despite all the good play, the US has only scored one goal in this competition and needs to start converting chances.

They face an Iranian side managed by the hugely experienced Carlos Queiroz, who knows a draw will get them through. With that in mind, he may look to frustrate the opposition and stick 10 men behind the ball. It has been a dramatic World Cup for Queiroz and his team suffering an embarrassing 6-2 defeat to England in their opener. They bounced back in style with two injury-time goals from Chesmi and Rezaeian breaking Welsh hearts and leaving them second in the group behind England. Queiroz does have a team selection issue in that former Brighton midfielder Jahanbakhsh is out after receiving two yellow cards. Of greater concern surrounds the fitness of star player Azmoun who looked to be really struggling when he came off against Wales in the 68th minute. If he does not make it, that is good news for the US.

This game may well buck the trend of Monday’s goal fests for two main reasons, and that is why I am picking under 2.5 at -175 as the play. The first reason is that the US has only had two shots on target in total in this World Cup, one in each game. Couple that with the fact they are playing a team that only needs to draw and are managed by a wily old fox who will have his team playing very deep and spoiling for 90 minutes. 

I hope the USA can do it, and if they play the way they did against England and are more ruthless in front of goal, then it is certainly possible. It will be tight and tense, and I see a low-scoring game where you will be biting your nails until the very end.

Pick: Under 2.5 Goals -175

Matt Santos: We’ve arrived at the final match of the group stage, and the showdown between the United States and Iran is about as high stakes as it gets, with both teams having a chance to qualify for the Round of 16. For the United States, a win will get them through; for Iran, they move on with a win or a draw.

With Iran only needing a draw to advance, I expect their game plan to be defensive. They’ve scored four goals in the tournament, but those goals have occurred in the second half of each contest, with three of those goals happening during added time after the 90th minute. Iran’s expected goals (xG) in the first half vs England was 0.13, and vs. Wales was 0.18, per FotMob

The United States will come into this match confident after the 0-0 draw vs. England, and I expect them to play more aggressive than we’ve seen so far. I like the USMNT to win the match outright at even money, but the combination of the urgency that they’ll need to play with, mixed with their impressive defensive play so far should lead to early success in this match vs. Iran.

The U.S. should dominate the possession early and get some opportunities to take some shots on goal, which is why I’m also betting United States first half money line at +175 odds, and first half correct score: United States 1-0 at +295 odds.

Let’s also throw some action down on Christian Pulisic to score a goal anytime at +250 odds. Pulisic has had the most attacking involvement by anyone on the USMNT in plays that end with a shot on goal, and nearly got one in the back of the net in the match vs. England.

Good luck with your bets!

Plays

Moneyline - Regular Time: USA (+100)

Moneyline - First Half: USA (+175)

Correct Score - First Half: USA 1-0 (+295)

Anytime Scorer: USA - Christian Pulisic (+250)

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