Qatar vs Ecuador Tips: Preview & Predictions For World Cup Opener

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Qatar vs Ecuador Tips: Preview & Predictions For World Cup Opener
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Qatar vs Ecuador Predictions:

Qatar will benefit from passionate home support when they take on Ecuador in the opening game of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday.

Betting sites have installed them as 11/5 underdogs to make a winning start to proceedings following a disappointing run of results in the build-up to the tournament.

Ecuador are the 7/5 favourites, while the draw is commonly priced at 2/1, so the bookies are expecting a tight clash at Al Bayt Stadium.

We have analysed the key betting markets for the World Cup opener and provided tips for each of them.

Who Will Win The First Game Of The 2022 World Cup?

Ecuador deserve their status as narrow favourites after securing automatic qualification within a very strong South American qualifying group.

La Tri ended up with seven wins, five draws and six defeats from 18 games, which left them fourth in the table - ahead of talented teams such as Peru, Colombia and Chile.

They conceded around a goal per game, but only one team in the group outscored them, and that was a Brazil side led by Neymar.

Ecuador now look capable of securing a place in the Round of 16 after group rivals Senegal lost talismanic forward Sadio Mané to injury.

They just need to finish in the top two in Group A. The Netherlands are expected to win it, but Ecuador could seize second place, so they will be determined to avoid defeat in this game,

Qatar played three friendlies in anticipation of this tournament - a 1-1 draw with Jamaica, a 2-0 defeat to Canada and a 2-2 draw with Chile - which does not bode particularly well for their chances.

Ecuador may have enough quality to win it, but draw no bet looks like a safer option on World Cup betting sites, as you then get your stake back if it finishes all-square.

Tip: Ecuador Draw No Bet - 4/6 With William Hill

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Back Both Teams To Score In Qatar Vs Ecuador

Qatar have cobbled together a pretty strong team, which features several players born in other Middle Eastern and African countries.

They won the 2019 Asia Cup at a canter, and they were very entertaining when they were invited to take part in North America’s CONCACAF Gold Cup last summer.

The Qataris scored 12 goals in four games at that tournament before losing 1-0 to the USA in the semi-finals, and they certainly have the firepower to cause problems for Ecuador’s defence.

It should be noted that both teams to score has failed to land in six friendlies for Ecuador in the run-up to the World Cup - there were four 0-0 draws and two 1-0 wins for Ecuador - but that could all change when the tournament starts.

The Qataris will be desperate to put on a show for their home fans, while Ecuador have some talented forwards too, so both teams to score looks like a tempting bet at 11/10 on football betting sites.

Tip: Both Teams To Score - 11/10 With William Hill

Who Could Score The First 2022 World Cup Goal?

Félix Sánchez Qatar Manager

Almoez Ali is the star of the show for Qatar. He was born in Sudan, but he moved to Qatar as a child, and he has spent most of his career there.

Ali has banged in 42 goals in 85 games for his country, including a nine-goal haul in their Asia Cup triumph a few years ago.

He was also the top scorer in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, and he looks well priced at 7/2 with betting apps to get on the score sheet in this game, as he is quick, he boasts excellent movement off the ball and he is a sharp finisher.

Enner Valencia, the former West Ham and Everton striker who now plays for Fenerbahçe, is expected to lead the line for Ecuador, although Cruz Azul’s Michael Estrada was their top scorer in qualifying.

They are priced at 5/2 and 7/2 respectively to find the back of the net in this match, and they might be worth backing if you want to use some of your World Cup free bets on the opening day.

However, the best player on the pitch may well be Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, who was on target in the Seagulls’ 5-2 victory over Leicester in September, and he is an 8/1 outsider with Bet365 to score.

Tip: Almoez Ali To Score Anytime - 7/2 With Bet365

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Is There Value In The Cards Markets?

Yes, there is a clear dutching or arbitrage opportunity on this game. Betway is offering 11/10 on over 3.5 cards and Paddy Power has 11/10 on under 3.5 cards.

That means you can back both sides of the bet and end up in profit regardless of how many cards are shown.

Neither of these teams are among the dirtiest teams at the World Cup, and it is likely to be a relatively clean game, but there are a couple of defenders that could get caught out.

Karim Boudiaf is priced at 6/1 with Bet365 to be shown a card, whereas other betting sites are offering just 12/5. 

He has already picked up four bookings in 12 games in the Qatari domestic league this season, so that may be worth a sprinkle.

Tip: Karim Boudiaf To Be Booked - 6/1 With Bet365

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Martin Green

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