Qatar vs Ecuador prediction, odds, betting tips and best bets for World Cup 2022 opener

By | November 18, 2022

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is ready to kick off as hosts Qatar match up against Group A opponents Ecuador.

Ecuador reached the World Cup by frustrating South American opponents with stingy defense, conceding just 19 goals in CONMEBOL qualifying, the joint-lowest of any team not named Brazil or Argentina who ran away with the results.

La Tri partake in the World Cup despite a challenge to their eligibility from fellow South American side Chile. The appeal was centered around Byron Castillo’s eligibility as an Ecuadorian national, and while his eligibility was upheld in court, Ecuador were found to have falsified some documents and received a points deduction for qualifying in the next World Cup cycle.

Qatar, meanwhile, qualified automatically as World Cup hosts, and will be looking to take advantage of home turf to shock the world in the tournament’s opening match.

The Sporting News has you covered on betting angles for each and every game through the 2022 World Cup, and we get it all started with the first match of the tournament.

MORE: Group stage betting predictions & picks for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Qatar vs Ecuador odds

Ecuador are the favorite in the match, but Qatar are given a boost as the home side, which isn’t something to scoff at.

The World Cup host bump is most certainly a real effect, as recent hosts can attest to. Mexico achieved its best two World Cup results in the two tournaments they hosted, South Korea reached the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup which they jointly hosted, and even South Africa produced some shocking group stage results as massive underdogs in 2010 before cruelly bowing out of the group stage on goal differential.

While bookmakers will give Qatar a fighting chance in the match, they seem quite sure that it will take few goals to secure the points. The under 2.5 total goals is highly expected, swung all the way past 1/2.

MORE: World Cup Group A breakdown

Odds via BetMGM (USA), Sports Interaction (Canada), SkyBet (UK), and LadBrokes (Australia).


Qatar win +220 3.18 23/10 3.25
Draw +210 2.94 2/1 3.00
Ecuador win +140 2.35 11/8 2.38
Both teams
to score Y / N
+115 / -160 2.02 / 1.63 11/10, 4/6 2.10 / 1.70
Over / Under
2.5 goals
+150 / -210 2.52 / 1.48 13/8, 4/9 2.50 / 1.50
Ecuador -0.5 +130 2.30
Qatar +0.5 -185 1.58

MORE: Why is Qatar vs Ecuador the first match of the World Cup?

Qatar vs Ecuador: 3 things to know

Qatar vs. Ecuador team news

Both these teams come into the match with a relatively clean bill of health.

Ecuador are missing 25-year-old winger Joao Rojas with a torn ACL, but both defender Robert Arboleda and midfielder Ayrton Preciado were fit to make the Ecuador roster for the tournament.

Qatar also have a player missing due to an ACL tear, with midfielder Abdullah Al-Ahrak missing out.

MORE: Updated tracker of every injured player at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Qatar vs Ecuador key stats

  • Since World Cup hosts began hosting the tournament’s opening match in 2006, the home side has never lost.
  • Ecuador have drawn 0-0 in each of their last three matches, and have only scored once in their last five matches.
  • The last time either of these teams lost was back on September 23 in Qatar’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Canada. Qatar has now gone five matches unbeaten.
  • These two teams have met once before, with Qatar winning 4-3 in a 2018 friendly. Ecuador saw two players sent off in that match, including Enner Valencia with a straight red card in the 90th minute.
  • This is Qatar’s first World Cup appearance. They have never qualified via AFC qualification.
  • This is Ecuador’s fourth World Cup appearance, all since 2002. They have reached the knockout stage once, falling in the 2006 Round of 16 to England in a 1-0 defeat on a David Beckham free kick.

Qatar vs Ecuador match facts

  • Date: Sunday, November 20
  • Kickoff Time: 11:00 am ET / 4:00 pm GMT / 3:00 am AEST (Tue, Nov. 22)
  • Location: Al Bayt Stadium
  • Official: Daniele Orsato

MORE: Everything about the country of Qatar

Qatar vs Ecuador prediction

Ecuador defend well and find it hard to score, while Qatar score goals but don’t defend. A true clash of styles.

Often in that kind of game, the teams struggle to find their rhythm and a low-scoring affair results. I don’t trust Ecuador to find the back of the net consistently enough, and Qatar should find themselves energized behind the home crowd.

While it’s hard to see Qatar making it out of the group, a point in this match doesn’t feel unreasonable. Ecuador will feel this is a must-win to escape Group A, but topping the host nation is a tougher task than it seems on paper.

  • Moneyline lean: Draw (+210 on BetMGM)
  • Spread (handicap) lean: Qatar +0.5 (-185)
  • Score prediction: Qatar 1-1 Ecuador

MORE: 2022 World Cup opening ceremony details

Qatar vs Ecuador: best bets & expert analysis

While there are many ways this match could go, a tight affair feels likely. Fans should expect to be entertained as the curtain is raised on the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar vs Ecuador best bet

  • Pick: Under 2.5 goals
  • Odds: -200 (BetMGM)

All the numbers suggest that the under 2.5 goals will win out, and as a result, the betting market has adjusted. The under 2.5 is a super short -200 odds, and for good reason — In their last six matches, Ecuador have played to four 0-0 draws with only two total goals scored in the other two games. Extend that further, and across Ecuador’s last 10 games, nine of them have finished under 2.5 goals. So while the odds are putrid, it’s still the best way to play this game.

Qatar vs Ecuador prop bet: Goalscorer

  • Pick: Enner Valencia (Ecuador) anytime scorer
  • Odds: +210 (BetMGM)

Enner Valencia is in sensational form for Turkish club Fenerbahce this season, with a Haaland-like 13 goals in 12 Super Lig games, including a goal in three straight heading into the World Cup break. Couple that with Valencia’s exceptional national team record of 35 goals in 74 games, if anyone is going to put the ball into the back of the net for Ecuador, it’s going to be the grizzled veteran, who is head and shoulders above anyone else as the clear goalscoring threat on the South American side.

Since the start of October 2021, while Valencia has been on the field for Ecuador, he has scored four of the team’s seven goals. All three of the other goals were scored on set-pieces, meaning Valencia was the only goalscorer from open play for the team in the last calendar year while on the field.

We don’t recommend taking first goalscorers, as they are impossible to predict, but at over 2/1 odds as an anytime goalscorer, this is a no-brainer, even for a game that we don’t expect many goals from.

Qatar vs Ecuador flier bet: Half with most goals

  • Pick: Half with most goals — 1st half
  • Odds: +230

While most games usually shade towards more scoring in the second half, this game could open up quick before clogging up late.

Qatar has just a single match among their last six results where they made it to halftime with a scoreless draw, and there will be lots of adrenaline and nerves to begin the 2022 World Cup on both ends. By the 60th minute, the two teams will have realized the magnanimity of the situation and likely look to shut it down and secure points rather than go for a big result.

Expect goals early, and then a grinder as the match rolls along.