The United States have played well for 3/4 of their World Cup action, but still need a victory over Iran on Tuesday afternoon to advance to the knockout stage.
Team USA was brilliant in the first half in their opening match vs. Wales in Group B, but a costly error let Wales back in on a penalty kick by Garreth Bale to finish in a 1-1 draw. On Friday, the U.S outplayed England, but neither team could put the ball in the net, ending in a 0-0 tie. The U.S. finished with 10 shots, but just one on target.
Meanwhile, Iran bounced back from an embarrassing loss to England with a 2-0 victory over Wales in their last matchup. Like the United States, a win would send them into the knockout round, so this is a crucial matchup for both teams, even though a draw would still put them into the next stage.
Here are the latest odds for Tuesday's final matchup of the Group B stage:
USA vs. Iran Odds, Spread and Total
USA vs. Iran Prediction and Pick
The U.S. is knocking on the door to break through with some goals, and with both teams knowing they need a victory to advance, I'm betting on faster paced, more aggressive attack from both sides.
Part of this calculus is due to the United States' strong starts in these World Cup games. Their lone goal came vs. Wales in a terrific first half, and they got the bulk of their scoring opportunities early on vs. England.
Is it a concern that the U.S only has 1.42 expected goals per match? Of course?. Does Iran need a win? No, but if the U.S. strikes first, it completely changes their calculus on how to play. And as England showed, you can score on this Iran team, evidenced by their six goal performance.
With most expecting another low-scoring game, I'm going to fade the noise and zag when everyone is zigging. The U.S. has been knocking on the door for a while to get some much needed goals, and I expect they'll get a few on Tuesday.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.