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USA's 2022 World Cup Odds: Americans Not Favored to Advance Out of Group Stage

After missing out on a spot in Russia in 2018, the USMNT have qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. With the tournament less than a month away, we're bringing you a look at the USMNT roster and World Cup odds.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2022 4:17 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Christian Pulisic USMNT FIFA World Cup
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

While many will argue that FIFA’s ranking system is antiquated and unreliable, Group B represents the highest-average ranking of the eight groups at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The United States must navigate a trio of matches against Wales, England, and Iran in order to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.

After watching from home during the 2018 tournament in Russia, the American side was overhauled and now features a crop of promising young talent that manager Gregg Berhalter is still trying to figure out. 

While the 2026 tournament is what most fans of the USMNT are pointing to, given the tournament will take place in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, there’s an expectation to at least reach the knockout stage this year. Let’s see how likely that is to happen, as we break down the USMNT’s roster and World Cup odds heading into Qatar.

USMNT World Cup 2022 odds

Market Odds to win
To win World Cup +15,000
To reach final +4,000
To win Group B +550
To qualify from Group B +100

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of October 31, 2022.

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USA's 2022 Golden Boot odds

Player Odds
Christian Pulisic +10,000
Timothy Weah +12,500
Giovanni Reyna +15,000
Paul Arriola +20,000
Brenden Aaronson +25,000

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of October 31, 2022

There are five Americans currently showing Golden Boot odds for the 2022 World Cup, led by Chelsea right winger Christian Pulisic.

Pulisic hasn't been particularly prolific in terms of goal scoring, netting one goals in 11 Premier League appearances this season and scoring just five goals through CONCACAF qualifying (three coming in one game) — and he led the club.

Reyna has one goals in seven caps for the Bundesliga's fourth-place team, but his role on the USMNT is still unclear as he has only played four matches for the club since September 3, 2021 — never playing more than 45 minutes — missing 10 games in between due to injury.

USA's World Cup odds over time

USMNT projected roster for World Cup 2022

Forwards

The USMNT’s hopes for advancement start and end with the forwards, in particular Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic. The face of the national team has struggled for playing time this season, but is now rounding into form at just the right time. As for the opposite wing, it will likely be manned either by Leeds United’s Brenden Aaronson, Timothy Weah of Lille, or Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna who has returned from injury just in time. 

Unfortunately, there are still real question marks pertaining to who starts in the center of attack as nobody seems to want to claim the job for their own. Berhalter has stated he will go with whoever is in the best form, which could be any one of a group including Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Morris, Daryl Dike, Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok, or Haji Wright. 

There really is no clear choice at the moment. Both Pepi and Ferreira were given opportunities in the September friendlies and neither impressed. Sargent has played well this season in the Championship, but he suffered a calf injury in late October and is now at risk. 

In a tournament where goals can be tough to come by as teams seek to not lose, their hopes could ride simply on whether someone can step up when needed most.

Midfield

Barring injuries, two of the three midfield spots for the USMNT are written in pen. Juventus box-to-box midfielder Weston McKennie will partner with Tyler Adams of Leeds United, who will hold at the base of the midfield and perform much of the defensive ball-winning responsibilities. As for who will partner them, Berhalter will likely go with Yunus Musah of Valencia, who has been in terrific form this fall.

There are concerns for the fitness of McKennie, after he came off with a quad injury for Juventus in their 1-0 win over Lecce on October 29. He has been ruled out for at least two weeks and will be questioned to be fully fit before the Wales match on November 21. 

The depth of the midfield does allow plenty of options for tactical adjustments. Between Kellyn Acosta of LAFC, Seattle’s Cristian Roldan, Johnny Cardoso of Internacional, and Venezia’s Gianluca Busio,

Berhalter has the ability to tinker based on how he wants his midfield to operate. However, Luca de la Torre of Celta Vigo could miss out due to injury, after suffering a muscle tear in his leg in the final week of October. 

Furthermore, Aaronson has shown in previous windows that he can play in a more advanced central role, potentially allowing for a 4-2-3-1 setup. Busio could also fill this role, with his set-piece prowess providing an additional threat. 

Defenders

A promising center-back partnership was building between Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman and Atlanta’s Miles Robinson, but a torn Achilles tendon suffered by the latter in early May put Berhalter back at square one. 

Aaron Long appeared to be the preferred choice to replace Robinson, but his form over the past few months has been abysmal, with many fans calling for him to be left off the roster altogether after his performances in the September friendlies. Cameron Carter-Vickers of Celtic, Erik Palmer-Brown of Troyes, and Chris Richards of Crystal Palace are also in the mix to partner Zimmerman.

At fullback, there is talent on both sides, but a concerning lack of depth. Sergino Dest of AC Milan will patrol the right — if fit — while Antonee Robinson of Fulham has locked down the left. Veteran DeAndre Yedlin of Inter Miami and the versatile Reggie Cannon of Boavista will provide depth at either side, although both are much better suited to play on the right. 

The biggest question mark for the squad outside of striker comes in goal. Any one of four players could be considered to start as of now: Arsenal’s Matt Turner, Manchester City keeper Zach Steffen, Sean Johnson of NYCFC, and Ethan Horvath of Luton Town. 

Steffen appears to be the frontrunner, as he’s been a regular starter for Middlesborough following a loan from City. As for Turner, he’s been in goal for all of Arsenal’s matches in Europa League but suffered a groin injury in late October, putting his status in doubt. 

USMNT prop pick for World Cup 2022

Pick

This is not going to be an easy group to escape from. Iran is no pushover, and Wales is motivated by their first appearance in the World Cup since 1958. England are rightly the favorites to win the group, given their depth of talent and their runner-up finish at Euro 2020.

After that, it’s anybody’s spot to claim. In the latest Elo ratings, Iran ranks 21st, the U.S. ranks 24th, and Wales ranks 26th. The FIFA world rankings have all three teams ranked between 16 and 20.

Given the talent on hand, it would be a disappointment for the Yanks to head home before the knockout rounds. Their opener with Wales should be an emotional match for both sides, but a draw is more than attainable. Getting England in the second match allows them to potentially see a partially rotated side, and with the Brits struggling to score of late, a result is more than possible.

Unfortunately for the United States, goals win matches — and they simply aren’t scoring any. In fact, of the last seven World Cup participants to play against the USMNT, the Yanks have scored against just one of them. They didn’t even manage a shot on goal against Japan in September’s friendly, and had just two against Saudi Arabia a few days prior.

While I was confident a few months ago that the U.S. would reach the knockout stage, I no longer feel that way. As much as it pains me as an American fan, especially after watching the Yanks miss out on the last World Cup, I’m not sure I see a path out of the group stage for the USMNT.

The lack of a proven goal scorer in attack will be their downfall, and failing to secure a win against Wales in the opener might be too much to overcome. While the tournament will provide a good experience for the players, it simply comes four years too soon.

PICK: USA to be eliminated in group stage (-150 at DraftKings)

USMNT schedule and odds for World Cup 2022

  • Monday, November 21: v. Wales (2:00 p.m. ET)
USA Wales
+145 Moneyline +205
+205 Draw +205
Over 2.5 +135 Total Under 2.5 -185

Odds courtesy of DraftKings on October 31, 2022.

  • Friday, November 25: v. England (2:00 p.m. ET)
USA England
+425 Moneyline -145
+255 Draw +255
Over 2.5 +100 Total Under 2.5 -135

Odds courtesy of DraftKings on October 31, 2022.

  • Tuesday, November 29: v. IR Iran (2:00 p.m. ET)
USA IR Iran
+115 Moneyline +240
+230 Draw +230
Over 2.5 (+105) Total Under 2.5 (-140)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings on October 31, 2022.

  • Saturday, December 3: v. TBD (10:00 a.m. ET) *if USA finishes second in Group B
  • Sunday, December 4: v. TBD (2:00 p.m. ET) *if USA finishes first in Group B

USA 2022 World Cup Odds FAQ

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