2022 World Cup Qualifier Picks: Italy and Portugal Poised to Make Noise in European Bracket

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
2022 World Cup Qualifier Picks: Italy and Portugal Poised to Make Noise in European Bracket

The odds on the 2022 FIFA World Cup are beginning to heat up as we get deeper and deeper into the qualifying rounds. In particular, the European section of the preliminary rounds are starting to churn out some incredible developments.

And so, it makes sense for us to head there for our next batch of 2022 World Cup Qualifier picks. Though we have World Cup Qualifier predictions for all of the games set to take place on Thursday, March 24, we are especially interested in the heavy-favorite status being awarded to Portugal and Italy, only one of whom will eventually qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Are they both powerhouses? And will they win their next qualifying matches without issue?

Before we deliver our answers, let's pore over the latest 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier betting odds:

Match DateFavoriteMyBookieMyBookieUnderdog
3/24/22Italy-526+900North Macedonia
3/24/22Sweden+114+235Czech Republic

As always, you'll want to double-check to make sure these 2022 FIFA World Cup odds hold serve prior to making any of your World Cup picks. All 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier betting lines are subject to move right up until the opening whistle.

When wagering on high-stakes games like this, it's also paramount you know the best spots to invest in online soccer betting. That's where our reviews of the top online sportsbooks come in. They take you through the best soccer betting sites to use—including the best 2022 FIFA World Cup betting sites.

Italy Can Send Message to the Rest of the World with Dominant Win vs. North Macedonia

Many are still wrapping their heads around how only one of Italy and Portugal will qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Try to ignore that feeling for now. It's an issue for another day.

At the moment, Italy needs to most concern itself with the upcoming matchup against North Macedonia. Nobody expects the latter to win. They have one of the world's most lackluster defenses from midfield inward.

But Italy's offense cannot afford to play down to the level of their opponent like they have in the past. They need to send a message to the rest of the world that they're the favorite to not only emerge from this group but put up an actual fight at the World Cup itself, assuming they get there.

Does Italy have the singular star goal scorer to pull that off? We're about to find out.

OSB Prediction: Italy (-526)

Italy To beat North Macedonia

Is Portugal Overvalued Against Turkey?

Portugal's offense has too often devolved into a one-man show that relies on the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo. That may have flown years ago. But he just turned 37 on February 5. He needs more playmaking help.

Diogo Jota is someone who can give it to him. He has improved his touch when ball-handling and off one-timers over his past few matches, and the defensive front from Turkey isn't deep enough to commit multiple bodies to walling off Ronaldo and adequately covering Jota. 

OSB Prediction: Portugal (-278)

Portugal To beat Turkey

Scotland has the Depth to Beat Ukraine

While many don't expect Scotland to sniff the 2022 World Cup, they deserve more recognition for their offensive depth.

Led by Lyndon Dykes and John McGinn, they have one of the best passing duos in this bracket of second-place finishers from the previous World Cup Qualifier round. Given that Ukraine doesn't have much self-creation at the top of their offense, aside from Oleksandr Karavaev, we think Scotland takes this one by a two-goal margin. 

OSB Prediction: Scotland (+129)

Scotland To beat Ukraine

Roll with Sweden to Cruise Past the Czech Republic

Sweden will have to improve their passing from the backfield if they're going to be a real threat in this stage of qualifiers, but they should have the juice necessary to get past the Czech Republic.

The latter doesn't have much offensive firepower of which to speak, and their attacking defense has not done well derailing singular shoot-makers. Even if Sweden itself needs more playmaking, they have a star in Alexander Isak to carry a bulk of the workload. The Czech Republic doesn't have the same luxury as any of its players.

OSB Prediction: Sweden (+114)

Sweden To beat Czech Republic

Wales May Be a Sneaky-Good Bet to Win vs. Austria

After qualifying for basically every previous World Cup, Wales (+177) is in danger of missing out in 2022. Technically speaking, oddsmakers have their hopes of cracking the final cut dying with a loss to Austria (+155).

However, we disagree. Wales is only in this position because it ended up tallying too many draws—a total of three against the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Belgium. The ties against the Czech Republic and Estonia were particularly disappointing, but it says a lot about Wales' defensive improvement that they were able to hang with Belgium.

Equally important: Wales has flashed spurts of offensive upside. Most recently, they demolished Belarus, 5-1. Austria may have a formidable offense of their own, but their goalkeepers have struggled to anticipate shot directions from the weak side of the pitch through many of their matches. We like Wales in this one.

OSB Prediction: Wales (+177)

Wales To beat Austria

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your 2022 World Cup betting:

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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