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World Cup Talk

World Cup Group B Betting Preview: England, Iran, USA, Wales

by Matt McAfee
Updated On: November 11, 2022, 7:09 pm ET

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Group B will be a competitive group featuring England, Iran, the United States and Wales. The Three Lions are favorites to win and the other three nations can all realistically advance to the knockout stages. The group kicks off November 21st with England taking on Iran followed by the United States facing off against Wales.

England 

Manager Gareth Southgate has the strongest squad and will be expected to win every match in the group stage. The core of his team are tested, having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 tournament and the final of Euro 2020. Harry Kane will captain the side and lead the line. He's the favorite to win the tournament's Golden Boot for a good reason. The rest of the team is a nice blend of youth and experience made up mostly of stars from the Premier League. Only one player in the squad plays outside of England, the Borussia Dortmund starlet Jude Bellingham. England can play in two different systems, a traditional 4-3-3 which takes advantage of their attacking talent on the wings or a 3-4-2-1 which adds protection for Jordan Pickford's goal. In the group stage I expect to see Southgate deploy the 4-3-3 and then shift to the more defensive formation in the knockout stages.

England Group B Odds

To Qualify: -1100

To Win: -250
 

Iran

The top ranked team in Asia hasn't had an easy build up to the tournament. Manager Dragan Skočić was sacked this summer after leading them through qualifying. The federation brought back previous manager Carlos Queiroz who coached the team during the 2018 tournament. It's impossible to write about Iran's prospects without acknowledging the political turmoil going on in the country. I'm not going to go into details about the situation in a betting article, but it's a major distraction and has caused some dissent amongst the playing squad. If there were no distractions off the pitch, I'd really like Iran's chances to advance from the group. They have a pair of dangerous forwards in Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Terami who will cause opposing defenses plenty of problems. Queriroz hasn't had much time to implement his tactics but they played a defensively sound version of a 4-5-1 in recent friendlies against Uruguay and Senegal.

Iran Goup B Odds

To Qualify: +300

To Win: +1900
 

United States

Manager Gregg Berhalter selected a talented and youthful squad. The only player with World Cup experience is DeAndre Yedlin which will likely be the USA's biggest weakness. Righting the wrong of failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament was the first hurdle. Now its time to see what the next generation can do. The strength of the team is the midfield trio of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah. It's a versatile group which should be able to win battles in the center of the park which will be important in protecting a suspect defense. Further up the pitch, Christian Pulisic is the main man and will have help in the form of talented attacking players Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna. Considering the options available in defense, I think the US will do well to advance from the group. There are some outstanding goal scorers in Group B and I don't foresee any clean sheets for Matt Turner in goal. An attacking 4-3-3 will give this team it's best chance to advance.

United States Group B Odds

To Qualify: -105

To Win: +550

 

Wales

There were no major surprises when manager Rob Page named his squad for the tournament. He largely went with the same group who got them to their first World Cup since 1958. Now on the wrong side of 30, stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are not the same players they once were but will still be relied upon to provide the goals. The squad also features several exciting younger players who will be deployed around them. Neco Williams, Brennan Johnson and Dan James provide plenty of energy and can do the hard running for their counterparts. I suspect Wales to deploy their favored 3-5-2 formation in all matches because it provides extra coverage in front of Danny Ward's goal. Defensive stability will be paramount if Wales are to advance from the group.

Wales Group B Odds

To Qualify: +105

To Win: +550

Bottom Line and What I'm Betting

England to win the group at -250 is fantastic value. They are at least -170 in every match and should finish the group with at least 7 points but likely will win all three. I also love the value of Harry Kane to win the Golden Boot at +750 and have made a bet on him. The United States to advance at -105 is good value but if you want to back the Stars and Stripes I would recommend betting the Straight Forecast market of 1st England/2nd USA at +220 instead.

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Matt McAfee

Matt McAfee (@matkafee) is a contributor for NBC Sports Edge and a professional sports handicapper for Goldboys.cash. He’s a Gooner who one day hopes to have a glass of red and talk football with Arsene Wenger.