The 2022 World Cup is just about at its grand finale, with Lionel Messi and Argentina in the way of back-to-back titles for France. This incredibly compelling final is certainly reflected in the betting lines, with World Cup odds posting the two as a pick'em.
With a full slate of World Cup picks to make, we scoured the market for our best Argentina vs. France World Cup props.
Argentina vs France World Cup props
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Argentina vs France World Cup props
Such is France's tactical approach — happy to play in their own half, soak up pressure, and wait for counter-attacking opportunities — that we frequently see them do damage in the second half of games. With the opposition more tired and desperate to get something, they're primed for the devastating decisiveness of the French counter.
Across the four competitions France have played in since Russia 2018 — the Nations League, World Cup qualifying, Euro qualifying, and the Euros themselves — they've created far more chances in the second half of games, and converted them, than in the opening 45. That second-half surge has extended into Qatar, where eight of France's 13 goals scored within 90 minutes have come in second halves.
There's no more likely spot to see a feeling-out period than in the World Cup final. That was certainly the case four years ago, when France's two goals from open play came in the second half of their 4-2 win over Croatia, and everything we've seen points to a sustained trend.
France's odds to score in the first half (Yes +150 / No -200) compared to the second half (Yes -120 / No -120) would suggest oddsmakers are wise to Les Blues' second-half prowess but we are still getting solid odds.
Prop: France to score in the second half (-120 at bet365)
The best of Mbappe
After it appeared like Kylian Mbappe was going to grab this tournament, and the crown as the best player in the world, with both hands early in Qatar, the French attacker has been quiet in recent matches. That is, however, down to the individual matchup he faced rather than waning performances from the phenom.
In England right-back Kyle Walker and Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi, Mbappe faced arguably the two fullbacks in the world most well-equipped to deal with his game-breaking pace. That played out, too, with Mbappe's best moments in those games coming when he drifted into the half-space or dropped deeper, as opposed to dropping his shoulder and steaming down the flank as we so often see.
With Mbappe not afforded nearly as much space as he typically is, his attacking output fell off almost across the board. Here's how his per-game numbers against Australia, Denmark, and Poland stack up with the two most recent fixtures (vs. Tunisia is omitted as he played 28 minutes off the bench).
|Attacking Metric||vs. AUS, DEN, POL||vs. ENG, MAR|
|Shots on target||2.6||0.0|
A meeting with Argentina will be a refreshing return to the norm for Mbappe, in a matchup he can completely dominate. Argentina right-back Nahuel Molina, much like 99% of defenders on the planet, doesn't have the pace nor defensive ability to stick with Mbappe while whoever lines up on the right side of midfield, be it Rodrigo De Paul or Angel Di Maria, will have their hands full with the overlapping runs of Theo Hernandez.
The Over on Mbappe's shots total of 2.5 is at an unappealing -175 but the Over 3.5, at plus-money, is awfully inviting after seven-, six-, and five-shot games in his first three starts. There's also a pair of shots-on-target milestones I am going to sprinkle on, after he averaged 2.6 on target in his first three starts — Over 1.5 (+150) and Over 2.5 (+500).
Prop: Kylian Mbappe Over 3.5 shots (+170 at PointsBet)
Smooth like a Ferrari
This is not a French team that's designed to play in possession and break opponents down, it's one that is happy to cede possession and bide its time. That would've been the case had they been able to call upon their regular midfield pair of N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, and it became an even more clear part of this French team after both missed out due to injury.
Against the high-level teams France have faced in Qatar, they've routinely had less of the ball than their opponent — 51% for Denmark, 57% for England, and 61% for Morocco — and that will be the case against an Argentina team happy to play with the ball.
At the heart of it will be midfielder Enzo Fernandez who, in addition to Alexis Mac Allister, has thrived as the main creative hub of this Argentina team and is sure to win the Young Player of the Tournament. Fernandez leads Argentina's midfielders in goals/assists per 90 (0.41) and is second to De Paul, who has played nearly an hour more (and could be dropped on Sunday), in passes among midfielders.
Since Fernandez came into the starting 11 against Poland, he has routinely been the player at the base of Argentina, tasked with cycling possession. He averaged 88.6 passes over his first three starts before a massive drop (48 passes) against Croatia — which was widely expected against such a dominant midfield three.
Against a French team that will sit off and allow Argentina to dictate play, we'll see a return to the norm for Fernandez's involvement.
Prop: Enzo Fernandez Over 65.5 passes (-120 at bet365)