USA vs Wales World Cup Match Preview and Picks

Updated: 83 Sport

Calabrese is previewing the USA-Wales World Cup Match, complete with betting recommendations and the latest sportsbooks betting odds for this matchup in Qatar.

USA vs Wales World Cup Match Preview and Picks

Photo: Shutterstock/rarrarorro

Michael Calabrese US Content Manager

Experienced sports journalist, College sports expert and broadcaster, hailing from Pennsylvania

The USNMT open their Qatar 2022 account against Wales today at 2pm Eastern vs Wales, showing live on FOX. Betting sites have a host of betting options as the first World Cup event that has been available for online beting with legal sportsbooks in the US outside of New Jersey who were operating in 2018

Wales vs. USA (Group B)

2:00p ET on FOX

Here are the latest betting odds for the opening match between the United States and Wales at the 2002 World Cup in Qatar. 

USA vs Wales Betting Odds

USA +130 43.5%
Wales +205 32.8%
Draw +185 53.1%

USA vs Wales Total Goals Odds

Over 2.5 +135 42.6%
Under 2.5 -200 66.7%

After missing the World Cup in 2018, the United States Men’s National Team returns to the grand stage with arguably their most talented roster to date. Thirteen of the Americans 26 players are rostered in one of Europe’s top five leagues. Five of those players currently playing in the English Premier League, most notably Christian Pulisic for Chelsea. 

For all of the overseas experience on this roster, the USMNT still enters as one of the youngest teams in the 32-team field. According to US Soccer, the USMNT starting eleven will average an age of “23.82, almost two years younger than the next closest team, Ghana at 25.67.” That youth has translated to up-and-down play from Team USA. They acquitted themselves quite well in CONCACAF Qualifying before a dropping a friendly to Japan and playing Saudi Arabia to a 0-0 tie in September. 


Value Value
United States 277,400,000€ England 1,260,000,000€ Difference -982,600,000€
United States 277,400,000€ Wales 153,850,000€ Difference 123,550,000€
United States 277,400,000€ Iran 59,525,000€ Difference 217,875,000€

Wales qualified for the World Cup against stiff competition and enter with a load of international experience against the very best in the world. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are both elite players, and they have either scored or assisted on nine of Wales’ 13 goals in their last two major tournaments (Euro ‘16 & ‘20). But Wales does have a concerning resume when you dig into the advanced metrics. The Dragons finished second in UEFA Group E, edging out the Czech Republic and Estonia for second place behind Belgium. In their four matches with Belgium and the Czech Republic, they had a -1.27 expected goal differential (xGD). In their “win-and-you’re-in” match with Ukraine, the Dragons won 1-0 to secure their first World Cup trip since 1958. 

As for this match, the critical “game within the game” may take place at midfield. Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen were set to be placed under tremendous pressure from Berhalter’s 4-3-3 system. But breaking news has just revealed the Joe Allen is out for the World Cup opener with a hamstring injury. That really amplifies the US’s advantage. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah, now healthy, form one of the best midfields in the entire World Cup field. After missing their friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia, Musah returns and will play a critical role breaking presses for the Americans. Expect Wales to come out in a 5-3-2 or a 4-4-2 deep low block against the Americans. Regardless of their strategic decisions, the fact that they don’t press, should translate to a lot of shots for the Americans. Allowing so many shots explains why Wales has kept just a single clean sheet in their last nine matches dating back to March.

Betting Angles:

Here are the pick of the wagers I will be looking at, as well as combining them into a same game parlay

Draw (+185)

During their 14 World Cup Qualifying matches, the USMNT averaged 1.70 expected goals per 90 minutes, while only allowing just .72 xG. And given Wales potential weakness at midfield and their preferred pace of play, I foresee a match teeming with scoring opportunities. The loss of Miles Robinson (Achilles) provides Wales and Gareth Bale with additional opportunities to find the back of the net. And finally, given the nature of the Group Stage and the likelihood that both teams will be vying for second place in Group B behind England, it’s conceivable that we see some conservative play late should they enter the 80th minute tied. Neither country wants to lose and face a situation against England where they would almost certainly have to win to qualify for the Knockout Round.

Over 8.5 Corners 

Strategically it would make sense for both Wales and the United States to seek out corners given how good Bale (Wales) Weston McKennie (U.S.) can be when given the opportunity. The combination of Wales pace and the nature of the American’s high-pressing strategy has the potential to create a lot of corners on its own. 

Anytime Goal Scorer: Gareth Bale (+230)

With my main bet in this match predicting a tie, I’ll need Bale to do the heavylifting for the Dragons. He’s used to it at this point in his career. He leads Wales in shots (25), goals (five), and assists (four) in the calendar year. The five-time Champions League winner and three-time La Liga winner with Real Madrid seemingly rises to the occasion whenever the lights are shining their brightest. He’s Wales all-time leading scorer by a long shot (40) and he’ll have the record for senior caps by the end of this tournament. As Bale goes, so goes Wales. At most sportsbooks, Bales and Jesus Ferreira (USA) have the shortest odds as anytime goal-scorers. I’ll take advantage of any number north of +220.

Squad Comparison

USNMT Squad Players, Ages and Values

Squad Player Age Team Value Proportion Of Overall
10 Christian Pulisic 24 Chelsea FC 38,000,000€ 13.70%
7 Giovanni Reyna 20 Borussia Dortmund 35,000,000€ 12.62%
11 Brenden Aaronson 22 Leeds United 30,000,000€ 10.81%
8 Weston McKennie 24 Juventus FC 21,000,000€ 7.57%
6 Yunus Musah 19 Valencia CF 20,000,000€ 7.21%
4 Tyler Adams 23 Leeds United 17,000,000€ 6.13%
2 Sergiño Dest 22 AC Milan 16,000,000€ 5.77%
26 Joe Scally 19 Borussia Mönchengladbach 12,000,000€ 4.33%
21 Timothy Weah 22 LOSC Lille 12,000,000€ 4.33%

Wales Squad Players, Ages and Values

Squad Player Age Team Value Proportion Of Overall
4 Ben Davies 29 Tottenham Hotspur 20,000,000€ 13.00%
9 Brennan Johnson 21 Nottingham Forest 20,000,000€ 13.00%
3 Neco Williams 21 Nottingham Forest 18,000,000€ 11.70%
8 Harry Wilson 25 Fulham FC 17,000,000€ 11.05%
20 Daniel James 25 Fulham FC 16,000,000€ 10.40%
6 Joe Rodon 25 Stade Rennais FC 9,000,000€ 5.85%
15 Ethan Ampadu 22 Spezia Calcio 9,000,000€ 5.85%
12 Danny Ward 29 Leicester City 8,000,000€ 5.20%
24 Ben Cabango 22 Swansea City 8,000,000€ 5.20%

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