This article is part of our World Cup series.
Our 2022 World Cup betting previews
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H
Belgium are one of the smallest group favorites to advance and that's mostly because of their competition in Group F. Croatia always seem to show up on international stages, Morocco put in a solid showing at the recent African Cup of Nations and Canada topped the CONCACAF qualification table.
Of course, that doesn't mean everyone will be betting against the Belgiums, who still have a stacked squad led by Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne. At -175 to win the group, there is still some value in them, at least compared to other group favorites. This may also be the last chance for Belgium's "Golden Generation" after finishing third four years ago and then getting knocked out by Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
Croatia were the surprise in 2018 and many people will be looking at their World Cup final loss as a reason to take them in this tournament. That being the case, their 2018 run was incredible due to three-straight wins in extra time leading up to the final. The problem is that Ivan Rakitic is no longer in the midfield and Luka Modric will be 37 years old.
Morocco were in a tough group in 2018 but still managed to steal a point from Spain before exiting in last place. And while they don't have the names of some of the bigger teams, they still have a lot of players who play at the highest club level from Achraf Hakimi and Romain Saiss on the back line to Youssef En-Nesyri and Munir El Haddadi up front. Similar to four years ago, they won't go down easy.
The same goes for Canada, who are in their first World Cup since 1986 and only second ever. They have the longest odds to advance, but similar to Morocco, guys like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David allow them to stack up with better teams. They don't have a ton of wins outside the continent, but victories against Mexico and United States show what they can do.
Behind Belgium at -175 to win the group, Croatia are +290 with Morocco (+850) and Canada (+1100) the longshots. Of note, Canada were +1300 in mid-June at FanDuel.
GROUP F WINNER
While Belgium have had trouble getting that final trophy, they haven't had issues getting to knockout stages. They're the most talented team in this group by a wide margin and while the other teams have high-end players, it's not the same overall level. I think Belgium should be closer to -225 like some of the other countries and that leads me to siding with them at -175.
Belgium to win Group F at -175
I'm not overly confident in Croatia at +290 to win the group and I don't think there's any reason to consider them at -170 to advance. Modric is their workhorse in the midfield, but having this tournament in the middle of the league season could be problematic for an older team and I continue to have questions about their goalscorers even though Mario Mandzukic was never a dominant striker.
I'd rather take a chance on the other teams to qualify for knockouts, mainly because I don't think they are far off from Croatia in terms of quality. If you agree with that line of thinking, the next move is to decide if you like Morocco or Canada more. I always find it hard betting on a team composed of a lot of MLS players and an ageing David Junior Hoilett, but all they need is one win and a couple draws to advance.
That's the main reason I'll take Canada to advance at +260 instead of Morocco at +180 (they were +260 and +155, respectively, a week before posting this article). You get a lot more value between teams that probably aren't much different talent wise. While I mentioned Morocco's forwards earlier, I wouldn't call two Sevilla backups (En-Nesyri and El Haddadi) an elite attacking duo.
Canada to Qualify from Group F +260
BEST MATCHUP TO BET
Nov. 23, Belgium v. Canada, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
I think this opening match will tell us a lot about both teams and the result of both of my aforementioned bets. Will Belgium be in form and ready to romp through the group? Will Canada put up a fight and show they can perform on an international stage? There's a chance this result doesn't matter in the end for Canada, but it'd definitely be a positive if they didn't lose by three-plus goals.
Belgium are -310 to win it with Canada at +850 and the draw at +400. Similar to above numbers, there has been money placed on Canada in the middle of June, as Belgium were -330 a week before posting this article. I think both Canada and Morocco will take the extreme defensive approach against Belgium, as that's likely their only option unless they think they can outscore the Belgians. That being the case, I think Jonathan David is just as potent as Morocco's forwards on the counter and you can get better odds on Canada in this matchup (Morocco +550 to beat Belgium).
Let's hope Canada put up a fight and can hold their ground defensively.