USA vs. Wales prediction, odds, betting tips and best bets for World Cup 2022

By | November 17, 2022

In what is likely the game to decide one of Group B’s two qualifiers, the United States and Wales open their tournament with a critical matchup on the tournament’s first full day.

It’s rare that such a vital match is played this early in the tournament, but with the U.S. and Wales expected to duke it out behind group favorites England, there’s a tense feel about this contest.

Both sides enter the tournament in worrying form. The United States slogged through a pair of brutal pre-World Cup friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia in September that were deeply troubling, while Wales have suffered three straight Nations League defeats and have not won since the 1-0 victory over Ukraine that secured World Cup qualification.

Still, both sides are amongst the top 20 teams in the world according to FIFA, and both will have visions of the knockout stage. A draw would do each side a world of good, but a win would see the victor put one foot in the Round of 16 already.

MORE: Follow all of The Sporting News picks each day through the 2022 FIFA World Cup here

USA vs. Wales odds

The bookmakers have absolutely no idea how this match will play out, with nearly dead-even odds through all three moneyline choices.

They do, however, agree that goals will be at a premium in this match. The “no” selection on both teams to score is favored significantly, while the under 2.5 goal total is even more weighted, at nearly 1/2.

  BetMGM Sports
USA win +160 2.59 6/4
Draw +200 2.83 2/1
Wales win +195 2.92 2/1
Both teams
to score Y / N
+105 / -145 1.96 / 1.67 1/1, 8/11
Over / Under
2.5 goals
+140 / -200 2.42 / 1.50 13/8, 4/9
USA -0.5 +145 2.49 β€”
Wales +0.5 -210 1.50 β€”

USA vs. Wales: 3 things to know

USA vs. Wales team news

The United States are essentially fully fit coming into the World Cup, with only defender Miles Robinson out injured after his Achilles tear back in May. Otherwise, Gregg Berhalter could not have asked for better news, with Tim Weah and Gio Reyna both fit after long-term problems with injury. Just the niggle to Sergino Dest remains a worry, but there are a multitude of right-back options on the U.S. roster if he can’t feature.

For Wales, it’s a similar story, and head coach Rob Page will be happy to see that only midfielder Joe Allen will give him any worries. The Swansea City man has not played since mid-September thanks to a hamstring injury, but Joe MorrellDylan Levitt, and Ethan Ampadu are all set to take over if needed.

USA vs. Wales key stats

  • These two sides have met twice, both in friendlies, with the U.S. winning one and the other ending in a draw.
  • Wales are in their first World Cup since 1985, while the U.S. is back after missing out on the 2018 tournament.
  • Brenden Aaronson is the only player in the entire Premier League this season with multiple tackles won inside the opposition penalty area. According to FBRef, he’s the leader amongst wingers & attacking midfielders in defensive actions that lead to goals in Europe’s top-five leagues.

USA vs. Wales match facts

  • Date: Monday, November 21
  • Kickoff Time: 2:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm GMT / 6:00 am AEDT (Tue, Nov. 22)
  • Location: Al Rayyan Stadium
  • Official: TBD

USA vs. Wales prediction

  • Moneyline lean: Draw (+200)
  • Against the spread lean: Wales +0.5 (-210)
  • Score prediction: USA 2-2 Wales

Both these sides have significant strengths that play into the other teams’ weaknesses. The pace of Wales can be a positive against the United States, who have often struggled to defend counter-attacks, while the U.S. high press can cause difficulty for a Wales side who don’t love to keep the ball and will struggle under pressure.

Given those traits, it’s hard to see a winner in this match, but there do appear to be goals in this game despite what the betting market thinks. I would lean slightly towards the United States if forced to pick a winner, but you’ll notice most of the picks below are focused more on game flow than on who will come out ahead.

MORE: World Cup 2022 Group B: Schedule, fixtures, times for England, USA, Iran, Wales

USA vs. Wales: best bet

Here’s a full breakdown of how to approach the USA vs. Wales match. With so little to separate the sides, and very little to help us know what to expect from the United States, picking a winner seems a tough way through. Instead, most of our picks focus on game flow.

USA vs. Wales best bet

  • Pick: Both teams to score
  • Odds: +105 (BetMGM)

As stated above, the way these two teams match up, it’s hard not to see goals in this game, and for both sides, too.

The United States have had goalscoring difficulties over the past few months, but Wales have kept just a single clean sheet dating back to March, a run of nine matches. The only clean sheet in that run was perfectly timed, as they kept Ukraine off the board in their World Cup qualification playoff final.

Yet even in that game, Wales weathered a whopping 2.21 expected goals and faced 22 shots, including 12 inside the penalty area, and only managed to secure the clean sheet thanks to a brilliant performance from Wayne Hennessey.

On the flip side, the United States were worryingly carved to shreds by Japan in their recent friendly, and going back further, concessions against El Salvador and Panama during continental play prove they can be breached. With Wales using pure pace and physical prowess to try to find the back of the net, it’s easily conceivable that the European playoff winners can get past Matt Turner.

The skewed total makes the over enticing at +140, but I’d rather stick with both teams to score at still plus odds to allow for the possibility of a 1-1 draw.

USA vs. Wales prop bet

  • Pick: Over 8.5 corners
  • Odds: -115 (FanDuel)

Thinking about the game flow of this match, it makes too much sense that these two sides end up in a back-and-forth, fast-paced thriller and rack up the set-pieces. Both teams feature dangerous set-piece presences β€” Gareth Bale for Wales and Weston McKennie for the U.S. β€” so it may be part of the game plan.

With the pace and verticality of Wales and the high-pressing, somewhat direct nature of the United States, this match could be rife with corners. Sadly, when checking the odds, it appears that’s been factored in, and the total is inflated. Backing 8.5 corners is a lot, and that gave me pause when making this pick, but I’m sticking with my analysis of the match. It’s a high bar to clear, but one that should be doable for these teams.

USA vs. Wales prop bet

  • Pick: Half with most goals: First half
  • Odds: +235 (FanDuel)

In matches with so much on the line, it’s often cagey early on, while sometimes in the second half teams open things up and look to win the game.

Not here. In this match, with speed of the utmost importance, I’m looking for a flipped script. Both these teams will want to use their fresh legs to attack the other side, and it should make for an entertaining start. Once a team finds their lead, they’ll shut it down completely and protect the advantage.

USA vs. Wales flier bet

  • Pick: Time of First Goal β€” 1st to 10th minute
  • Odds: +440 (BetMGM)
  • Pick: Time of First Goal β€” 11th to 20th minute
  • Odds: +470 (BetMGM)

Given the above, if this game gets off to the fast, energetic start I’m expecting, there should be an early goal in things.

I really, really wish this was broken down into 20-minute segments instead of 10-minute segments. Unfortunately, here we are, stuck making a pair of bets instead of just one singular selection. Still, we can find a way through with both intervals, and should even one hit, we’re up big.

Still not sure this is how things will play out? Here’s the stat that sealed things for me.