The World Cup will kick off with the host nation Qatar taking on Ecuador in a Group A showdown. The two nations will most likely be fighting for third place in the group as they are paired with the Netherlands and Senegal.
This is a favorable group for the Dutch as they will enter the World Cup in form after winning their Nations League group and advancing to the semifinals of that competition.
Senegal failed to qualify for the knockout stage in the previous World Cup bizarrely as Japan won the tiebreaker between the two nations because they had fewer yellow cards during the group stage.
Let’s dive in on the odds and best bets for Group A and see if there is a chance for Qatar to pull off an upset.
World Cup Group A Winner Odds
- Netherlands (-225)
- Senegal (+450)
- Ecuador (+550)
- Qatar (+1400)
Group A World Cup betting odds are current as of 2:30 p.m. EST, on Nov. 18, at Caesars Sportsbook.
The Oranje are clear favorites according to the oddsmakers to win the group and face off against the second-place team from Group B in the knockout stage. However, the Senegalese are a talented squad, and there could be value on them to come out on top in the group.
Read all of our World Cup Group Predictions
- World Cup Predictions: Group B
- World Cup Predictions: Group C
- World Cup Predictions: Group D
- World Cup Predictions: Group E
- World Cup Predictions: Group F
- World Cup Predictions: Group G
- World Cup Predictions: Group H
World Cup Group A Preview
After failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, the Netherlands return to a favorable group this year with high aspirations. Their squad is loaded and has the depth to make a run in the tournament.
The Dutch will employ a 3-4-1-2 lineup with strikers Memphis Depay and Steven Bergwyn at the top of the formation. Depay has been exceptional in international play with 42 goals in 81 appearances for the Netherlands, including 21 goals in his last 22 caps for the team between 2021-2022.
The speed of the Dutch attack will be a problem for the defenses in Group A and the midfield play. However, the Dutch defense will decide how far this team can go in the tournament, as Virgil Van Dijk will need to be in top form.
With only three in the back, there is no room for errors at the backline for the Oranje, and maybe not much ROI for their World Cup betting community.
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This will be a redemption tournament for the Lions of Teranga as they missed out on the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup on yellow cards. Senegal defeated Egypt in penalties to qualify for the World Cup and are the reigning African Cup of Nations champions.
With talisman Sadio Mane set to miss the tournament through injury, the key players to watch on this Senegal team are Kalidou Koulibaly, Eduoard Mendy, and Idrissa Gueye.
Gueye will be vital in connecting the play between the backline and the attacking players, as well as tracking back to defend against the pace of the Dutch offense in the group. He will combine with Koulibaly to keep opposing offenses out.
Mendy has not been in form recently as he has lost his starting spot on Chelsea. He will need to regain his confidence if Senegal is to advance far in the tournament.
Ecuador has been the center of controversy this summer as their defender Byron Castillo‘s nationality was questioned. Chile appealed to the FIFA board that Castillo’s matches during World Cup qualifiers should be registered as forfeits since they claimed he was not an Ecuadorian national. Chile’s bid was denied, and Ecuador will travel to Qatar this fall.
During the 2021 Copa America, Ecuador had an impressive run before falling to Argentina in the quarterfinals. They secured draws against Peru and Brazil in the tournament. Their recent form has been solid on the defensive end with five straight clean sheets, but they also failed to score a goal in three of those contests.
The lack of offensive firepower will be the downfall for Ecuador in this group.
The host nation has the longest odds of winning the group, but they should be closer to Ecuador than the odds show. They made an impressive run to the semifinals of the 2021 Gold Cup but lost to the U.S. 1-0.
The entirety of the Qatar squad plays domestically, and their lack of competition against the European elite players may be on display in this group. However, they will need to be stout defensively to pull off an upset and advance to the knockout stage.
World Cup Group A Winner Best Bet
Netherlands (-225) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
The odds are juiced to -225, so there could be a better bet to place, but the Dutch are the best team in this group. They have a well-rounded squad and the depth to go far in the tournament.
Senegal will be their toughest test in the group, and they will play them in the opener. The result from that match will set the tone for the remainder of group stage play. (Read all of our World Cup match picks.)
World Cup Group A Props
Senegal to Win the Group (+450) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER 0.5 Units
At +450, there is value in betting Senegal to win the group. If they can beat the Netherlands in their first match or even grab a draw from that fixture, they would be in an excellent position to top the group.
In that case, goal differential would likely might be the deciding factor, which could go Senegal’s way after three matches.
Senegal to Qualify (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER 1 Unit
The Lions of Teranga will be the stiffest competition for the Dutch to finish at the top of the group and should have no problems displacing Ecuador and Qatar.
Back Senegal to advance to the knockout stage for the first time since 2002.