World Cup Tuesday best bets: Iran to surprise USA
We're really starting to heat up after our best World Cup bets started slowly, having won five of our last six selections.
We'll look to keep things moving in the right direction with a pair of plays for Tuesday morning's slate.
Iran (+290) vs. USA (-105)
We backed Iran to pull off the "upset" over Wales last time out, and we're going right back to the well against the United States.
Iran has quietly shown a lot of positives through a couple of games. In the opener, the Iranians generated a healthy 1.40 expected goals against a strong, conservative England team. Iran followed that effort by doubling up Wales in terms of expected goals and earning a well-deserved three points.
With a positive result Tuesday, Iran could advance through the group stage and to the round of 16.
I think there's a very real chance of that happening. Team USA garnered a lot of praise following a draw against England in what was a rather lifeless affair. The Three Lions seemed more focused on playing not to lose than actually trying to win, and it showed. They took very few chances, and the first player they brought off the bench was defensive midfielder Jordan Henderson.
While the U.S. deserves credit for controlling more than its share of the ball, especially given the talent discrepancy, Gareth Southgate's tactics made life a whole lot easier.
The United States and Iran have played the same squads, yet Iran has doubled its expected goal output and found the back of the net three more times. Iran also owns the better expected goal differential.
Marquee names or not, Team Melli has the better underlying profile and should have plenty of support playing close to home.
As such big underdogs, I think there's room to play it safe with draw protection in case neither side prevails.
Bet: Iran draw no bet (+175)
Ecuador (+145) vs. Senegal (+205)
Ecuador has played very, very well through two games. La Tricolor picked up a convincing win over hosts Qatar in the tournament opener and followed that up with an impressive showing against the Netherlands.
Although the latter fixture ended in a draw, it was anything but even. Ecuador spent a lot of time on the front foot and picked apart what's normally a very stout Dutch backline. The team generated an impressive 18 crosses, 15 shot attempts, and 1.69 expected goals.
But what stood out even more was the play of Ecuador's defense. The Dutch may not try and trade chances, but they have the quality to generate them in bulk. The Netherlands attempted two shots, with a Cody Gakpo attempt six minutes into the contest serving as the only one to hit the target.
Without Sadio Mane, Senegal doesn't measure up to the Netherlands in terms of offensive talent. After Ecuador neutered the Dutch attack, it stands to reason it can find success again versus Senegal.
I don't expect a ton to separate these two sides. However, since a victory could be enough for them to win the group, there's an incentive for the Ecuadorians to push for three points.
Look for La Tricolor to pick up a lower-scoring win.
Bet: Ecuador and under 3.5 (+200)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.