Japan vs. Croatia Betting Tips and Picks

Karl Rasmussen
By , Updated on: Dec 1, 2022 07:00 PM
Japan vs. Croatia Betting Tips and Picks
  • What: Japan vs. Croatia, 2022 FIFA World Cup - Knockout Stages (Round of 16)
  • When: Monday, December 5, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. EST
  • Where: Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar
  • How to watch: Peacock (ESP), Fox Sports (EN), Telemundo

After some miraculous victories during the group stages, Japan emerged as the victor of Group E after taking down Spain and Germany. Finishing in first place sets Japan up for a knockout-stage matchup against Croatia, who placed second in their own group behind Morocco. This will be an intriguing matchup with plenty of betting opportunities in the winner-takes-all showdown. With that in mind, we'll dive into some Japan vs. Croatia World Cup picks.

Before we get going on the Japan vs. Croatia betting picks, make sure to take a look at our soccer betting guide in order to get all the tips and tricks you need. Additionally, take a look at our useful World Cup betting guide which has plenty of information.

Japan vs. Croatia Odds

MyBookieSpreadMoney LineTotal
Japan+0.5 (+100)+290O 2.5 (+130)
Croatia-0.5 (+100)+104U 2.5 (-166)

Heading into the matchup, Japan is considered to be a slight underdog against Croatia. In terms of the 90-minute Money Line, Croatia (+104) is favored to win over Japan (+290), with a draw coming in at (+230) odds, too. The spread is set at Japan +0.5 (+100), with the same odds for Croatia -0.5. As for the total, it's heavily leaning towards Under 2.5 (-166), indicating a low-scoring game is on the docket.

Japan Best Bets

Japan's improbable run through the World Cup will be put to the test on Monday when they take on reigning World Cup runners-up, Croatia. After stunning Spain and Germany in the group stages, nothing seems out of the realm of possibility for this Japan squad, who also lost to Costa Rica. Counter-attacks will be the name of the game for Japan as they look to stage yet another World Cup upset and take down Luka Modric and Croatia.

After holding just 18 percent of the possession against Spain, Japan proved that dominating the ball isn't a requirement for victory. Japan barely had the ball against Spain, yet the 2-1 victory will forever be immortalized. While I don't anticipate possession leaning quite as heavily towards Croatia in this one, Japan will still be relying on fast counter-attacks to try and spread Croatia's defense thin.

Goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka were critical for Japan against Spain, but they'll certainly need to do better at winning the ball in the midfield if they want to survive another round in the World Cup. Croatia's elite midfield tandem of Modric and Mateo Kovacic will cause problems for Japan, but with a low-scoring game being anticipated, Japan truly only needs one good look on goal to make some magic happen.

I'm not expecting many goals in this game. Neither team has a truly clinical striker in its arsenal, something crucial for consistently scoring at the top level. Two of Croatia's World Cup matches were scoreless draw. This game figures to be low-scoring, and because of that, I will be taking the under in this one. The pick here is Under 2.5 total goals (-166).

Japan vs. Croatia Under 2.5 Total Goals

Croatia Best Bets

Croatia failed to score in two of its three games during the group stages. Despite that, they remain unbeaten in Qatar, as their defense has held up its end of the bargain. They'll be disappointed not to have taken the top spot in their group, but perhaps it worked out in their favor, as they're now slated to face Japan. Had they won the group, they'd be up against Spain in the round of 16. 

Croatia's unbeaten streak and past success at the World Cup, with largely the same team, has me confident about their ability to pull off a win over the less experienced Japan. Croatia finished second at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and have only conceded one goal thus far at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. I've already mentioned that this game figures to be low scoring, and after Japan was dominated (possession-wise) by Spain, I think they'll struggle once again vs. Croatia.

As for the offense, despite four goals against Canada, Croatia hasn't had much of an end product, which also leans into my belief that the under is a strong bet here. They had 11 shots against Belgium but failed to put any away, and also failed to convert across eight shots against Morocco. They were better in that regard against Canada, but that was the clear worst team in the group.

Japan surrendered tons of chances throughout the tournament, including 26 shots allowed vs. Germany, and 12 vs. Spain. Croatia could see plenty of good looks on goal in this one, and I'm expecting one of their veteran leaders to come up with a big goal to push Croatia into the quarterfinals. The bet for this matchup is Croatia Money Line (+104). 

Croatia To beat Japan

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Meet the author

Karl Rasmussen

Karl Rasmussen leverages his journalism degree and passion for sports in his expert coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS) and fantasy leagues. Hailing from Denmark but a longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Karl brings an international perspective to his analysis...

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