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Croatia vs Morocco Prop Bets: Ziyech Peppers the Net

Morocco's Hakim Ziyech only has one goal during this year's World Cup, but he will have his opportunities in the third-place game. Find out why our Croatia vs. Morocco prop picks expect the Chelsea star to be a scoring threat on Saturday.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2022 8:18 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

The pain of missing out on the World Cup final will still be fresh for Croatia and Morocco as they go head-to-head in the third-place game. However, both teams have a chance to finish the tournament on a high note in Al Rayyan on Saturday.

While we may see some squad rotation, the big names are expected to feature as their tournament comes to an end. Neither side has been lights out in the final third in Qatar, but there are still plenty of interesting prop bets available to get involved in the action.

Here are my favorite prop picks for Croatia vs. Morocco on December 17.

Croatia vs Morocco World Cup props

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Croatia vs Morocco World Cup props

Morocco’s game plan throughout the tournament has been built on defending in numbers and counter-attacking selectively. Even with injuries and essentially nothing to lose in this game, I don’t expect to see the Atlas Lions deviate much from a formula that has been so effective in Qatar and was their blueprint for reaching the World Cup semifinals.

For all of Croatia’s midfield mastery, the lack of cutting edge in the final third has been glaring in the knockout rounds against well-organized defenses. Whether Zlatko Dalic has turned to Andrej Kramaric, Marko Livaja, or Bruno Petkovic, there’s been a limited goal threat, with the exception of the 4-1 win over Canada. Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic are experts at dominating possession, but unlocking defenses has been a recurring challenge.

Of course, these two teams already faced off in the opening game of Group F. That meeting ended 0-0, with each team managing just two shots on target, and it’s easy to envision a similar type of battle here despite the quality playmakers on show.

The history books suggest the third-place match brings a hatful of scoring chances, with at least three goals coming in 10 straight of these consolation games until Belgium’s 2-0 win over England in 2018.

However, Croatia and Morocco don’t look equipped to restart that streak. The evidence of the past four weeks points to a cagier contest and Under 2.5 total goals on Saturday.

Prop: Under 2.5 (-110 at bet365)

The group stage stalemate between these teams provides a decent script for how Saturday’s matchup could play out. I’m envisioning a slow start at Khalifa International Stadium, with a tight first 45 minutes and a winning goal for Croatia in the second half.

There’s a defensive mindset with Morocco that leans towards limited scoring chances at either end, and the Atlas Lions have served up three 0-0 first halves already in Qatar. Croatia have matched that with three of its own. Despite so many slick passing sequences in midfield, Dalic’s men have fallen flat time and again when the opposition penalty area comes into view and have had more luck finding the net after halftime.

The game could well open up in the second half as both managers turn to their substitutes in search of a breakthrough. Plus, with no “elimination” at stake here, we could see more of an exhibition feel in the latter stages. Neither team will relish more extra time, so a result within the 90 minutes seems likely.

If this is Luka Modric’s big international farewell, I give Croatia a slight edge and a little added incentive to grind out a victory for a player who has meant so much to his country. 

Prop: Draw halftime / Croatia full-time (+450 at BetMGM)

Ziyech has been one of the many heroes during Morocco’s historic World Cup run, but he’s only got one goal to his name at the tournament (a classy finish in the 2-1 win over Canada). Of all the Atlas Lions, I like Ziyech to let fly from distance at every opportunity on Saturday with fewer restraints on his attacking runs.

The Chelsea man is always a threat to cut inside on his left foot or link up with full-back Achraf Hakimi down the right wing, and he’s got the ability to roam in-field to test Dominik Livakovic in the Croatia goal. 

He’s also a good option for Morocco on any free kick within shooting distance. With captain Roman Saiss doubtful for Saturday with a thigh injury, Ziyech will also have an even bigger responsibility as a leader on the field.

I prefer the total shots prop for Ziyech here rather than total shots on target, especially since we’ve seen throughout the tournament that Morocco has struggled to tally more than three or four in that category. Even if Walid Regragui rotates his starting line-up, a hungry Ziyech could still cash in this Over against tired Croatia defenders in a short cameo. 

PropZiyech Over 2.5 shots (+110 at bet365)

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