Senegal come into this match off a resilient fight against the Netherlands that they let slip away late. The Dutch scored in quick succession, once in the 84th minute and again in stoppage time en route to a 2-0 win.
Qatar were much less impressive in their World Cup opener. The host country gave up an early goal to Ecuador via Enner Valencia, who would connect again in the first half from the spot. That gave the Ecuadorians a 2-0 lead, and that's how the match would finish. It was a result that indeed appeared to be more likely to be worse — and one that World Cup odds were expecting.
We're sure to see an exciting encounter with the two teams level at the bottom of the group with zero points. So what's the best bet for this Group A matchup? Find out in our World Cup picks and predictions for Senegal vs. Qatar.
Qatar vs Senegal odds
Qatar vs Senegal picks and predictions
The Lions of Teranga may be one of the best nicknames in sports, and I'm expecting Senegal to live up to that name. You have to fancy them in this match, given the quality of talent and what we've seen so far from these two sides. They'll be my best bet.
The simple eye test in the first two matches shows the gaps in talent between these two sides, something as arbitrary as a TransferMarkt market value puts a number to it.
Qatar created just .30 xG against Ecuador, which follows along with a pattern of what we've seen from them in 2022. Against quality opponents, their midfielders struggle to find outlets to release relatively quality attackers such as Akram Afif. The best evidence is how much of the ball was spent in the middle third against Ecuador (51%) despite the Ecuadorians' inviting pressure.
Because of their players' limited club schedules, Qatar have played many friendlies with decent success, but they've struggled to score in international competitions. In fact, in their last five international competitions, they've scored just one goal against a Top 50 Fifa-ranked side. Senegal will enter this match sitting at 18th in the FIFA rankings, which quickly makes this the most formidable opponent that Qatar have seen in some time.
Creating goals in this matchup is going to be significant. It's hard to predict the aspirations in this match for Qatar, but I'd venture to guess they'll sit up "not to lose" and hope to get a Dutch side that's resting players. That won't be the case for Senegal. Matching the three points posted by their most likely group rival in Ecuador is critical.
They have aspirations of advancing to the Round of 16. It would be the expectation for the African Cup Champions, even without star winger Sadio Mane. That could be a problem for Qatar. Why? Because Senegal are significantly better at carrying an attacking threat. They were unlucky not to take the lead against the Netherlands when they created an xG of .69 in the second hour.
This game will be won in the midfield, a battle Senegal should be expected to win. They more than held serve against the Netherlands' impressive midfield, as evidenced by their 172 vs. 155 passes in the opposition half. It sounds simple, but if they can do that against the Netherlands, there's no reason you shouldn't expect them to do it here.
My best bet: Senegal moneyline (-160 at DraftKings)
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Qatar vs Senegal side analysis
I'm riding with Senegal in this matchup. The -160 price could be more appealing, and because of that, you may look to either bet them live or pair them with BTTS no. However, if you don't, know that it makes the cut for our best bet because it's something I'd have priced closer to -220. Even if you have to pay some juice, I can't turn down that edge on a given matchup.
To put it bluntly, Senegal have more tactical talent for this type of matchup, but what may be more important is their experience. In their opening game against Ecuador, Qatar looked like a team full of players folding under the pressure of being a host country.
There were multiple keeper miscues and several multiples where Qatar's poise was called into question. Of course, you can put some of that aside to it being first-game jitters, but you could also argue that this match carries even more weight, thus more pressure. A loss here will effectively ensure that Qatar are eliminated from the competition. I doubt they'll be able to respond any more positively to that pressure.
Qatar vs Senegal Over/Under analysis
I'll look to take the Under here, but I still need to decide. I even mentioned pairing Senegal moneyline with BTTS no, and that's a worthy alternative. I likely won't expose myself to all three, though. Nevertheless, this truly does look like a 1-0 or 2-0 win for Senegal from a long way out.
I mentioned that Qatar will be desperate to not lose this one more than looking to win it. If we get that confirmed by the opening lineups, that will make BTTS no an easy bet.
Qatar struggles mightily to create chances against any high-end competition. With a Senegal defense boosting such talents as Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Edouard Mendy behind them as the keeper, it's tough to see that changing.
If Senegal gets a first-half goal, they'll likely become more protective. They'll know that a 1-0 win will be precisely what they need, and they'll not want to open themselves up for a shock equalizer.
Qatar vs Senegal game info
|Location:||Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar|
|Date:||Friday, November 25, 2022|
|Time:||8:00 p.m. ET|
Qatar vs Senegal key injuries
Qatar: No injuries to report.
Senegal: Sadio Mane ST (Out), Cheikhou Kouyate MF (Questionable).