The much talked about 2022 FIFA World Cup finals get underway this weekend when underdogs Qatar take on Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday. Can the host nation spring a surprise? Let’s take a look with our Qatar v Ecuador world cup betting picks.
Although the two nations aren’t what you would call footballing household names, the eyes of the world will be on this match on Sunday. Originally scheduled to be played on Monday, FIFA decided to move the fixture forward by 24 hours, allowing the game to be played as a stand alone match on the opening day of the competition.
So with a month of top soccer action about to start, here’s all you need to know about the opening match of the tournament.
Both Qatar and Ecuador are in Group A, where they also have Senegal and the Netherlands for company. Those two nations play each other on Monday.
The venue for Sunday’s match is the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, which has a capacity of 60,000. This Stadium will host nine matches in total, including six group games, and one of the semi-finals.
It’s a nice Sunday morning kick-off for folks on Eastern Time. The 11 am start allows for a lie-in and breakfast before the match gets underway. The game will be preceded by an opening ceremony, which starts at 9 am ET.
So, when the action gets underway, what can we expect? Let’s start by taking a look at the match betting.
The best soccer betting sites make Ecuador the betting favorites, but they aren’t totally writing the hosts off. Ecuador are +130 on the moneyline with BetUS. The same sportsbook has Qatar at +260, and the draw at +210.
On the handicap market, Qatar with a +0.5 goal start is -150, Ecuador from -0.5 goals are +130.
A look at the total goals market, shows the spread is set at 2. Over 2 is -120, with under 2 at +100. Alternative total goals’ markets show over 1.5 is +170, with under 1.5 at -200.
In world cup futures betting on Group A, Qatar is +1400 to win the group, and +350 to make it through to the Round of 16. Ecuador is +525 to win the group, and -130 to make it to the next round.
To give you some perspective of the difference in the betting odds, the Netherlands are -900 to qualify, with Senegal at -110. The favorites to win the group are also the Netherlands at -225, with Senegal second at +450.
Onto the betting to win the world cup, and Qatar is +5000 to win the competition. Personally, I think another zero could be placed on the end of those odds, and it still wouldn’t make them worth the wager. Ecuador is +1600.
Brazil still holds the favorites spot with the best world cup betting sites at +400.
These outright winners odds are brought to you by BetOnline. You can read more about this bookmaker and their new customer offers in our BetOnline sportsbook review.
The two teams have met three times previously, with both sides winning one match each, and the third match a draw. All three fixtures were international friendly matches.
In 1996, the sides met twice in a week in Doha, with the first match ending 1-1, and the second match saw Ecuador winning 2-1. Then in 2018, Qatar won 4-3, with the winner coming from Almoez Ali.
Both teams have been playing plenty of friendlies in the build up to the world cup. Qatar has had mixed success. In September they drew 2-2 with Chile, lost 2-0 to Canada, and 3-0 to Croatia’s under 23 team. Whilst in August, they drew 1-1 with Jamaica, drew 2-2 with Morocco’s A team, and they defeated Ghana’s A team by a scoreline of 2-1.
It’s hard to take much from those fixtures really.
As for Ecuador, since drawing 1-1 with Argentina in their final qualifying match in March, they have played six times. It’s fair to say that fans won’t be over excited by the sequence of matches, as four have ended 0-0, and two have finished 1-0 to the Ecuadorians. On a positive note, they have kept six consecutive clean sheets. But from a negative perspective, they’ve only scored twice in six matches.
For my betting pick, although the Ecuadorians don’t inspire confidence, for some reason I can see them winning this match, possibly by a 2-0 margin. I simply don’t see Qatar as a threat on the football pitch, and as poor as Ecuador’s recent friendly results have been, they finished fourth in the South American qualifying group above the likes of Peru, Columbia and Chile.
That means I expect Ecuador to be too strong for the hosts and make them my opening match betting pick. I also like the over 1.5 goals bet at +170 with BetUS, I think it’s worth the risk.