Can the United States Men’s National Team score a point in Mexico?
A tie Thursday night at the Azteca in Mexico City will go a long way to ensuring the USMNT qualifies for the World Cup without having to worry about the fourth-place playoff. The USMNT enters Thursday’s match (10 p.m. ET, Paramount+) tied with Mexico on 21 points for second place in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings.
Canada, at 25 points, is the heavy favorite to win the group. The Canadians head to Costa Rica on Thursday as Costa Rica is a point behind Panama for fourth. Panama has 17 points and hosts Honduras on Thursday. Honduras has been the weakest team in the group.
The top three teams in the group automatically qualify for the World Cup while the fourth-place team has to head to a playoff with the winner of Oceania. The USMNT should get a top-three spot with three points over its last three matches — especially if one or all of those points comes against Panama on Sunday in Orlando. The U.S. can clinch a top-three spot with a win over Panama no matter what Panama does in its other two qualifying matches and as long as Costa Rica doesn’t score nine points in its final three matches.
Panama is four points behind the United States. A USMNT win on Sunday and losses to Mexico and Costa Rica on March 30 puts the U.S. on 24 points at the end of the qualifying cycle. Six points from Panama’s matches against Honduras and Canada means Panama finishes with 23 points.
Simply put, the biggest match of the upcoming week is on Sunday in Orlando. That doesn’t mean the Mexico match is meaningless — it’d go a long way for the USMNT’s confidence to get a point without Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest on the road and a win makes qualification with a tie against Panama a very good possibility — but it’s also worth considering in the context of betting. If the USMNT finds itself with an uphill climb in the second half on Thursday night, coach Gregg Berhalter could play to keep his key players fresh for Sunday when things really matter.
Here are the odds for Thursday’s set of CONCACAF qualifiers along with what you need to know for the final two qualifying matches. We’ll also give you a glimpse of what you need to know if you want to bet other World Cup qualifiers across the globe this week. As always all odds are from BetMGM.
(Final two opponents in parenthesis)
Canada, 25 points (vs. Jamaica, at Panama)
United States, 21 (vs. Panama, at Costa Rica)
Mexico, 21 (at Honduras, vs. El Salvador)
Panama, 17 (at United States, vs. Canada)
Costa Rica, 16 (at El Salvador, vs. United States)
El Salvador, 9 (vs. Costa Rica, at Mexico)
Jamaica, 7 (at Canada, vs. Honduras)
Honduras, 3 (vs. Mexico, at Jamaica)
Jamaica vs. El Salvador (over/under 2.5 goals)
El Salvador (+333)
Panama vs. Honduras (2.5)
Mexico vs. United States (2.5)
United States (+333)
Costa Rica vs. Canada
Costa Rica (+200)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed up the UEFA qualifying schedule for the next week.
Twelve teams were set to play for three World Cup spots on March 24 and March 29. Both Russia and Ukraine were part of those 12 teams, thought he Russians have been kicked out of the competition. Poland, Russia’s opponent on March 24, has gotten an automatic berth in the Path B playoff championship against either Sweden or Czech Republic.
Ukraine, meanwhile, will play Scotland in Path A in June. The other Path A semifinal between Wales and Austria is set for Thursday. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Ukraine and Scotland game in June.
Path C, meanwhile, looks like the toughest group of the bunch. Italy plays North Macedonia on Thursday while Portugal plays Turkey. If the two marquee teams win, then we’ll get a Portugal vs. Italy game to make the World Cup on March 29.
Here are the odds for the semifinals being played on Thursday.
Italy vs. North Macedonia (over/under 2.5 goals)
North Macedonia (+1450)
Wales vs. Austria (2.5)
Sweden vs. Czech Republic (2.5)
Czech Republic (+300)
Portugal vs. Turkey (2.5)
There are two rounds of CONMEBOL qualifying remaining. The top four teams in the 10-team group advance to the World Cup while the team in fifth place advances to a playoff.
Three teams are assured of at least a playoff. Brazil (39 points) and Argentina (35) are in the World Cup no matter what and need to play a rescheduled fixture against each other. Ecuador (25 points) is guaranteed at least a playoff berth.
Uruguay currently occupies the fourth spot on 22 points while Peru (21) has the fifth spot. Chile is right outside the top five with 19 points.
Uruguay and Chile play each other on Tuesday while Ecuador hosts Argentina.
Brazil, 39 points
Paraguay vs. Ecuador (over/under 2.5 goals)
Brazil vs. Chile (2.5)
Colombia vs. Bolivia (2.5)
Uruguay vs. Peru (1.5)
Argentina vs. Venezuela (2.5)
Iran and South Korea have already clinched World Cup qualification through Group A while the third spot in the group is up for grabs. The No. 3 team in the group plays the No. 3 team in Group B in a qualifying playoff.
In Group B, Saudi Arabia (19 points), Japan (18) and Australia have all guaranteed themselves at least a playoff berth as Oman is in fourth on eight points. But the top two spots in the group are still up for grabs. Saudi Arabia plays Australia on Tuesday while Japan plays Australia on Thursday.
Australia vs. Japan (over/under 2.5 goals)
South Korea vs. Iran (1.5)
South Korea (-105)
Vietnam vs. Oman (2.5)
Lebanon vs. Syria (2.5)
China vs. Saudi Arabia (2.5)
Saudi Arabia (-225)
Iraq vs. United Arab Emirates (1.5)
Africa’s World Cup qualifying starts out with 10 groups of four teams. The 10 winners of those groups are then drawn together into five two-legged matchups. The winners of those five matchups are the five representatives for the continent in the 2022 World Cup. One of the matchups is Egypt vs. Senegal — that was the title game in the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.
The first leg of the matchups is on Friday and the second is on Tuesday.
Egypt vs. Senegal
Cameroon vs. Algeria
Ghana vs. Nigeria
DR Congo vs. Morocco
Mali vs. Tunisia