Oddsmakers aren’t discounting Argentina’s chances of winning the 2022 World Cup too much after its 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
The Saudi win was one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. Saudi Arabia was +1800 to win the game before kickoff. According to BetMGM, that’s the biggest odds for a victorious underdog in World Cup history.
But the win doesn’t have much impact on Argentina’s chances of winning the World Cup. The Argentines were the most-bet team to win the World Cup at BetMGM and the No. 2 favorite at +500. And they’re now just the No. 4 favorite at +750.
Why? It’s pretty simple. First, Argentina largely outplayed Saudi Arabia and it’s fair to say the loss was a fluke. Saudi Arabia’s risky offside trap worked well — but there were a couple of close calls. Argentina had three first-half goals disallowed because of offsides calls.
Saudi Arabia also only had three shots overall and the only two that were on target went into the back of the net. That’s a fluky shot rate. Teams that control possession and have more shots like Argentina did on Tuesday tend to win more often than not.
Second, Mexico and Poland tied on Tuesday. That means Argentina is just a point outside of second place in the group and will be in the top two if it beats Mexico on Saturday.
Argentina is favored over both Mexico and Poland in the final two group stage games and six points from two wins in those games will guarantee that Argentina finishes in the top two and advances to the knockout stage. Plus, there’s even a realistic path that Argentina can get to the Round of 16 with a win and a draw over its final two games.
Sure, Argentina would be out of the World Cup after the group stage if it loses to Mexico on Saturday, but oddsmakers see that as unlikely to happen. Argentina is -175 to beat Mexico while Mexico is at +450 to win the game. If you’re willing to play the odds again, betting Argentina in its next two games is the right move. It’ll be a stunner if what happened against Saudi Arabia happens again against either Mexico or Poland.