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Argentina v Saudi Arabia: No problems for Messi’s men

| 19.11.2022

Argentina v Saudi Arabia betting tips, odds and preview

Argentina will hope to show why they are among the leading contenders to win the World Cup 2022 when they face Saudi Arabia in their Group C opener.

The Copa America champions are on a 35-match unbeaten run and it would be one of the biggest ever World Cup upsets if their streak is ended by Saudi Arabia despite the support their opponents will enjoy in neighbouring Qatar.

Tuesday’s match at the Lusail Stadium kicks off at 10am and is live on ITV.

Daunting task for minnows

Opening games do not come much easier than this for Argentina, but they could have been forgiven for thinking the same ahead of their shock defeat by Cameroon at Italia ’90.

A draw with Iceland four years ago also meant Argentina made hard work of getting out of their World Cup group so a smooth start is far from guaranteed.

Argentina winning odds of 1/6 show the size of the task facing Saudi Arabia, who at 20/1 are the second biggest underdogs in the World Cup odds for the opening round of matches behind Costa Rica, who are 25/1 to beat Spain.

If things go badly, they could be in for a similar result to the 5-0 drubbing they suffered at the hands of hosts Russia in their opening match four years ago.

They faced South American opposition three times in friendlies in June and were competitive at least, losing 1-0 to both Colombia and Venezuela before holding Ecuador to a 0-0 draw.

That emphasised their lack of quality up front and 8/13 for the South Americans to win to nil looks a solid pick for Argentina v Saudi Arabia betting tips.

Argentina to take control early

It feels like all World Cup 2022 previews are contractually obliged to state that this is surely Lionel Messi’s last chance to win the World Cup.

That fact is well documented but Argentina are far from a one-man team and will not be completely reliant on the PSG superstar.

The key issue against Saudi Arabia will be breaking down the minnows, who will have plenty of men behind the ball at all times.

Lionel Messi, World Cup 2022, Argentina

For all the quality they possess in attacking areas, Argentina only managed 27 goals in qualifying compared to 40 for Brazil.

Slow starts are rarely an issue though. In eight matches in 2022, the longest they have taken to score has been 35 minutes in a 3-0 win against Venezuela in March so 23/20 for them to be leading after 30 minutes is added to our Argentina v Saudi Arabia predictions.

Three and easy?

Argentina enjoyed 3-0 wins against Honduras and Jamaica in September as they stepped up their preparations for the World Cup.

Messi scored two goals in both games so is worth considering to bag another brace here.

Argentina rarely go goal crazy though. They thrashed Estonia 5-0 in June but that was the first time they had scored more than three goals in a match since last June.

With tougher tests to come, Argentina may ease off once the game is effectively won so a victory and under 3.5 goals is an option in the Argentina v Saudi Arabia odds at 10/11, while a 3-0 win appeals at 5/1.

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All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publication



Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.