FIFA World Cup predictions: 2 longshot futures offerings worth a bet

Expect strong showing from this South American nation

FIFA World Cup longshot futures bets
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his side's opening goal against Paraguay during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at General Pablo Rojas stadium in Asuncion, Paraguay, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. The Associated Press

With the FIFA World Cup only six days away, we’re here to outline our two best longshot future bet predictions.

Although the likelihood of winning the tournament rests with one of the favorites, a midseason competition might just allow for greater variance. Thus, I’ve identified two teams, both at 50/1 or higher, that could make a surprise run in Qatar.

Odds come courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing.

Longshot Future Bet No. 1

Uruguay (+5000)

Uruguay reached the quarterfinal of the 2021 Copa America and I expect they’ll have a strong showing in Qatar.

Most of this nation’s strength rests in defense, especially through the center of the park. Center-halves Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez form a strong, experienced duo while defensive midfielders Lucas Torreira and Rodrigo Betancur provide cover for the back line.

That strength showed at the Copa America, where Uruguay surrendered only three total expected goals across their five fixtures. Plus, just in one match against Argentina, manager Diego Alonso’s squad surrendered only 0.8 expected goals, per fbref.com.

But, don’t think for one second this Uruguay side is a one-trick pony. Although this team generally defends better, Uruguay also arrives in Qatar with an outstanding attack.

The two names most will immediately recognize are Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde add youth to the strike-force. In their past four games against fellow tournament competitors USA, Mexico, Canada and Iran, Uruguay has generated 1.27 expected goals per 90 minutes.

Plus, in five Copa America matches, Uruguay created 1.42 expected goals per 90 minutes.

Although I expect this team to defend much better than it attacks, expect a deep run at the FIFA World Cup for Uruguay coming out of a relatively weak Group H.

Longshot Future Bet No. 2

Senegal (+8000)

Anything beyond the Round of 16 is an accomplishment for this team, but I can’t believe the disrespect here.

Much like Uruguay, Senegal is a team that brings an outstanding defense to Qatar and has the ability to shut down powerful attacks. Defender Kalidou Koulibaly and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (both of Chelsea) are the names most will immediately recognize here, but midfielders Idrissa Gueye (Everton) and Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingham Forest) are valuable defensive midfielders.

Although the competition has proved relatively weak, the underlying metrics on Senegal’s defense have proved strong lately. Just across its past 15 competitive matches, manager Aliou Cisse’s squad has permitted only three opponents to create more than one expected goal.

Further, in seven fixtures at the Africa Cup of Nations — a tournament Senegal won — Senegal allowed only 3.57 TOTAL expected goals, including only 0.59 against Egypt in the final.

Offensively, this side is anchored by Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane, who has 92 caps to his name. However, there’s young blood riddled throughout the attack, including Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and Monaco’s Krepin Diatta, that could provide a boost at this tournament.

Plus, in those same past 15 fixtures, opponents have held Senegal under one expected goal only once. On average, Cisse’s attack has generated 1.62 expected goals per 90 minutes in those matches.

Time will tell how Senegal fares against better competition, but this team is a good bet to reach the knockouts and (potentially) make a deep run.

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Vegas Insider

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