The quarter-finals of the World Cup continue on Saturday and our tipster Jones Knows takes the prediction chair to dig out some juicy betting angles.
Morocco vs Portugal, Saturday 3pm
Are there winners for Jones Knows in the last 16?
- Morocco vs Spain to penalties (11/2)
- Seven or more shots South Korea against Brazil (Evs)
- USA gets two or more shots on target in first half (5/6)
- Argentina to win & less than 3.5 goals
- Manuel Akanji gets one or more shots (11/10)
Morocco’s defensive numbers at this World Cup are nothing short of sensational. They have yet to concede a goal from an opponent – their only goal sent was a Nayef Aguerd own goal against Canada. And when you consider that they’ve played against Croatia, Belgium and Spain with more than that sample, it’s a ridiculous performance made even more ridiculous by their projected goals against data that backs up their actual goals conceded. In those three matches against the European giants, Morocco averaged just 0.83 expected goals per game and conceded just two shots on target – and that included an extra 30 minutes against Spain. If a team in the Premier League put up those numbers, you’d support them for a top four finish.
My concern for the confidence they will give their true ren in this encounter is the emotional and physical toll that victory over Spain will have taken. Aguerd and Roman Saiss were both injured in the penalty shootout victory and losing that cohesion at the back for such a defensive unit in form is a huge negative when you play against such a dangerous side as Portugal, who looked like a reborn team without the shackles of Cristiano Ronaldo’s overwhelming presence on the pitch.
They were fast, fluid and clinical in their surprising 6-1 demolition job in Switzerland. If they repeat such offensive brilliance, a weary Morocco will not be able to cope. However, I never like to rely on one run or performance in itself. This one is certainly just a snippet from a betting perspective with so many unknowns in terms of team news.
Portugal is believed to reach the semi-finals for prediction purposes.
SCORE PREDICTIONS: 0-2
England vs France, Saturday 7pm
Even a cynical old goat like me gets quite dizzy from this fixture. A game of a lifetime, indeed.
I am always hesitant to play in the market for over goals in knockout football of major international tournaments as the 90 minute goal average at this stage has been just 2.0 since 1990 but I think the price for more than 2.5 goals is one to attack here at Evens with Sky Bet.
France has yet to keep a clean sheet in this tournament as their usual controlled and counter-pushing style has been replaced by football’s handbrake.
There are huge spaces that can be exploited when France relinquishes possession, something Poland’s limited attack found in the first half of France’s last 16 victory. They couldn’t collect.
England, confident in their attacking players, absolutely can.
And on the flip side, you have a French front four who have produced explosive attack stats in the three games they’ve started together. Yes, their opposition hasn’t done much, but to record an average of 2.6 expected goals, 20 shots and three goals per game per game means we’re dealing with a phenomenal attacking team, captained by Kylian Mbappé .
England needn’t fear France though – they have talent to match Mbappé’s superpowers.
Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham are all true world-class talents, capable of career-defining performances and moments on these kinds of stages. It’s that strength in England’s attacking line that gives them a clear edge as this match goes on.
Gareth Southgate has a considerable arsenal to use from his bench in Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling and as we saw when the French reserves got a chance against Tunisia Didier Deschamps has little quality to fall back on to turn things around freshen up. With this in mind, England to win in extra time at 11/1 with Sky Bet and England to win from behind at 14/1 (just 90 minutes) certainly stand out in the prizes.