England vs. United States preview: how we’re betting Friday’s FIFA World Cup match

Team USA seeks shock result against group favorites

Iran vs. United States predictions
Tim Weah of the United States, celebrates after scoring during the World Cup, group B soccer match between the United States and Wales, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. The Associated Press

The marquee fixture of Group B is nearly upon us and we’re here to offer an England vs. United States prediction.

Following the first match, England sits atop this group with three points after a 6-2 thrashing of Iran. As for the United States, they dropped points following a late Gareth Bale penalty, which saw Wales earn a draw against team USA.

For Friday’s match, England is a -175 favorite on the three-way moneyline. Those wanting to take the United States to win the match will get +450 while the draw is priced at +310.

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England vs. United States Best Bet

England Alternate Goal Line (-1.5, +150)

Call me anti-American all you want, but I expect the United States could be in for a long afternoon at the FIFA World Cup against England.

Although there’s certainly an optimistic point of view to be taken with the United States in that they allowed only 0.76 non-penalty expected goals against Wales, my bigger concern is with their attack.

Against Wales, a strong US attack put only one shot on target and created 0.79 expected goals against a Welsh defense that, frankly, isn’t very good.

Plus, in four combined qualifying efforts against Austria, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, teams worse than the US in the world rankings, Wales allowed 1.8 xG per 90 minutes, according to footystats.org.

All of that is to say that you’re now telling me the United States is going to prove capable of breaking down an England defense that looked iron-clad for the first hour against Iran? I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it.

Some will point to the fact that Iran, a worse team than the United States, created 1.75 expected goals against England. However, for the first 60 minutes of the match, England’s opponents generated only 0.15 expected goals.

What does that mean? It took England going up 4-0 for Iran to be able to generate any kind of offense when the game was already decided.

Meanwhile, that first hour saw the England offense completely dominate. In that same window, manager Gareth Southgate’s attack created 0.89 expected goals along with 1.67 expected goals on target (xGOT), per fotmob.com.

Additionally, there’s a clear change of game state that further informs a struggle from the United States. Against Wales, the US dominated possession and still finished with a 59 percent share of the ball despite their second-half struggles.

However, they’re now facing an England side that held 78 percent possession against Iran and held at least a majority of the ball in a majority of their seven European Championship fixtures.

Without the ball, I question whether the United States can generate enough chances to keep up with an outstanding England attack.

Given the United States’ underlying defensive metrics against quality opposition — 1.21 xGA per 90 in their past six fixtures against Canada and Mexico — back England to win by multiple goals and put a stranglehold on the group.

Personally, I’ll back this market at +125 or better. Alternatively, lay a goal with the favorites at -130 or better.

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