Picks for U.S.-Wales in World Cup Opener

Picks for U.S.-Wales in World Cup Opener

Picks for U.S.-Wales in World Cup Opener

Heading into their first World Cup in eight years, the U.S. men face Wales, England and Iran, in that order, in Group B play.

With the U.S. now the favorite to beat Wales, following are our betting preview and picks for the game.

Can the U.S. Defeat Wales?

The Americans are expected to beat Iran and struggle against England, making this their biggest game at the World Cup. After the three Group B games are completed, we’ll likely look back at this game as the definitive tournament moment for the U.S.

We think the U.S. can win, as it's more talented than Wales. In fact, besides Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, Wales has few if any players who'd crack the Americans' starting lineup.

Jesús Ferreira is set to be the main man for the U.S., having scored seven goals in 15 caps already for his country. There are concerns about Christian Pulisic, who continues to sit on the bench for Chelsea, but Giovanni Reyna and Brenden Aaronson have played well in Europe this season.

The Americans' talent on offense is obvious, but the team's defensive skill should make the difference here. Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson are reliable goalkeepers, and with Antonee Robinson, Sergiño Dest, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Walker Zimmerman at the back, the U.S. has possibly its best-ever defensive setup at a World Cup.

The U.S to win or tie against Wales is -290 with FanDuel.

Can Wales Beat the U.S.?

Wales is a pale imitation of the team that almost made it to the Euro 2016 final. Bale remains its main source of goals, but after barely playing for Los Angeles FC this season, he heads into the World Cup with three goals in 13 games. It's the second-lowest tally in his career.

Worse for Wales, it failed to win a game in the Nations League, losing five of the six matches in the competition over the past year and registering a tie with Belgium in its third game. The team did look much better in its attempts to qualify for the World Cup, beating Belarus 5-1 to set up a playoff battle with Austria, then Ukraine.

Wales' playoff final win over Ukraine that secured its World Cup spot was its only shutout of 2022.

Both teams not to score in this game is now at -136 as a result, and Wales is +210 just to win the match. The sportsbooks don't expect Wales to have much World Cup success. Bale to score anytime is at +220, however, and the LAFC superstar scoring first is at +500.

Wales to win and the U.S. to score is +650 with FanDuel.

Our Best Bet for the Game

This could be Ferreira's breakout year.

The striker had 18 goals this season in the MLS; the only American to outscore him was Brandon Vázquez. What’s more, Wales allowed 11 goals in six Nations League games. Given that it also lost to Poland twice in that competition, it’s tough to see it defeating the U.S.

Jesús Ferreira to score, the U.S. to win and over 2.5 goals in the game is +756 as a same-game parlay with FanDuel.

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