In any World Cup run, neutral fans or those whose teams have fallen will inevitably gravitate toward the longshots. As the 2022 World Cup heads to the quarterfinals, this year’s longshot has come into focus. Despite long World Cup odds every step of the way, Morocco has advance to the final eight after besting Spain on penalties.
Let’s see how their markets have changed and what their path looks like going forward.
Play TheLines World Cup KnockoutChallenge! Compete for $250 in prizes in our FREE leaderboard game during the World Cup tournament stage.
Where Did Morocco World Cup Odds Peak?
To say Morocco wasn’t highly regarded heading into the 2022 World Cup would be putting it mildly. One could reportedly find them around +1100 to win Group F in the months leading up to the competition in Qatar. At BetMGM Sportsbook, they were +25000 (250 to 1) to win in mid-November.
However, they did win the group, topping recent European power Belgium (second in FIFA world rankings) and 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia in the standings.
Normally, that would win a team a date with a beatable opponent who finished second in its own group. However, in Morocco’s case, they had the misfortune of drawing Spain, one of the pre-tournament favorites, after Japan pulled its own upset in Group E.
Again, game markets frowned upon their chances. After all, one can see in TheLines’ match preview that Morocco’s four goals scored in groups vastly overstated its attacking quality. Expected goals had them deserving of just a goal or two for their entire three-match run.
Morocco Beats Spain On Penalties
But, the Morocco defied the odds once again. They navigated to a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes plus the full amount of extra time in one of the less exciting matches of the 2022 World Cup. Then, Spain completely collapsed in the penalty shootout. They failed to convert a single one in an anticlimactic finish.
Influential money had backed Morocco to advance leading up to the match. According to BetMGM, Morocco closed at +260 to advance after some late steam moved them from +275. That move came in spite of just 39% of tickets backing Morocco. The bigger money (62% of handle) did support them, though.
Three-way markets (including draw) on the first 90 minutes saw very little draw money at BetMGM. Just 4% of handle and 8% of tickets thought the match would end level.
On To Face Portugal In Quarterfinal
After the upset victory, the next obstacle on Morocco’s Cinderella run is ninth-ranked Portugal. Perhaps not looking as imposing as some of the other world powers in groups, the Portuguese served notice in the Round of 16 they’re a force. They demolished Switzerland in a 6-1 rout.
Expect the Moroccans to open as heavy underdogs once more. But, that hasn’t stopped them yet. Keep an eye on Morocco’s World Cup odds to see if there’s any further value in the xGoal-defying longshots.