Portugal vs. Morocco: World Cup Quarterfinal Odds, Expected Goals

Written By Dan Tracey on December 7, 2022
portugal vs. morocco odds

2022 World Cup odds have advanced to the quarterfinals, where one of the tournament’s heavyweights in Portugal face the underdog story of the tournament in Morocco. Portugal has cruised through this tournament so far, winning their first two group stage games and breezing through Switzerland in the Round of 16. On the other hand, Morocco took what many expected to be Belgium’s spot in the Round of 16 before knocking out Spain on penalties. Portugal vs. Morocco odds are juicy, with this game being played at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, December 10th on FOX and Telemundo.

Portugal vs. Morocco Odds

Bettors should be aware during the Knockout Rounds that the three-way moneyline is only for 90 minutes plus stoppage time. If tied after that but a team wins in Extra Time or Penalty Kicks, soccer’s version of overtime, all three-way moneyline bets are still graded as a draw. If you are looking for a moneyline bet that pays out no matter when the win comes, look for “To Advance” or “To Qualify” props.

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Portugal Team Preview

After Portugal’s emphatic 6-1 win over Switzerland, it is fair to say that manager Fernando Santos now has a conundrum on his hands and one that must be solved before Saturday’s quarterfinal clash with Morocco.

While it is a conundrum that involves a certain Cristiano Ronaldo and whether or not he should be reinstalled to Portugal’s starting 11. On the evidence of how his replacement fared against the Swiss, you would have to say such a return is unlikely.

Because the Portuguese nation has a new idol and his name is Gonçalo Ramos. After scoring a hat trick in the Round of 16, there will be an obvious clamor for the Benfica forward to keep his place in the starting 11.

Clamor that is fully deserved and when Ramos woke up on Tuesday, he could not envisage how the next 12 or so hours were to unfold. To start a Round of 16 clash is enough of a surprise. To score three goals would surely have been beyond his wildest dreams.

Now that dream has truly become a reality for the 21-year-old and with his teammates and him displaying a sense of freedom against Switzerland. It has created something of a nightmare for Portugal’s best ever.

Especially as soccer managers loathe to change a winning team. Even more so when winning by such a comfortable margin and with such potential aversion being shown by manager Santos, it may mean that Ronaldo is handed the role of impact sub instead. 

Morocco Team Preview

In a tournament that has been littered with shocks, Morocco will be hoping they have at least one more up their sleeve. Should they manage to achieve such a feat, they will become the first African nation to reach a World Cup semifinal.

While after their shock win over Spain on Tuesday, they also join a select band of African outfits that have reached the quarterfinals. A band that only welcomes its fourth member to the group.

Such was their success over the Spanish, that Walid Regragui’s men are now considered to be the true dark horse in Qatar and with this moniker attached to them, their aim is to beat another of soccer’s thoroughbreds.

Admittedly their eventual penalty shootout win did come with criticism. Criticism that came from the losing side and with comments from the Spanish squad amounting to nothing more than sour grapes, this Morocco side certainly made fine wine that day.

Because when it comes to the knockout phase, the remit for any coach is simple. Make sure your players follow your game plan and not the one set by the opposition. Thankfully for the Atlas Lions, they followed theirs to the letter and subsequently reaped the rewards.

Rewards that should mainly be given to their defense and in 300 minutes of tournament football, they have conceded one goal. Three penalty shootout saves by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou were also incredible. Should they manage to display the same level of robustness against Portugal, their path to the final may just become a lot shorter. 

World Cup Knockout Rounds Bracket

world cup bracket

Portugal vs. Morocco Expected Goals

In a sport where scoring has extremely high variance, opportunities to score and opportunities allowed has become a more respected measure of the quality of a team’s play. Expected goals (xG) measures the quality of a shot based on several factors, including shot type, shot angle and distance from goal. Similarly, expected goals allowed (xGA) measure the quality of a team’s defense. Subtracting expected goals allowed from expected goals equals expected goal differential (xGD) and offers an overall advanced measure of a team to use when handicapping World Cup odds.

Portugal has played high event soccer so far through this tournament, with high expected goals for and against, while Morocco has the 2nd least xG of any team in the tournament.

TeamGoals ForGoals AgainstGoal DifferenceWorld Cup xGWorld Cup xGAWorld Cup xGD

Matchup History

There is little to report on in terms of the previous history between the two nations. However, there have been two skirmishes at the World Cup finals, as both Morocco and Portugal have earned one win each.

The first meeting between Saturday’s opponents was back in 1986 and this time it was the North African outfit who earned the group stage bragging rights. Fast forward 32 years later and Portugal would finally exact revenge.

Revenge that came in the shape of a 1-0 win in Russia. Once again it was group-stage points that were up for grabs and Cristiano Ronaldo’s early strike was enough to earn all three for the Iberians. 

Portugal vs. Morocco Odds: Bets To Consider

Portugal to win by two goals: +340

For those who consider themselves supporters of Morocco or even if you have recently jumped on the bandwagon, you may want to look away now. While the reason for this is that I am backing Portugal to win.

Even with the controversy that followed the Portuguese on Tuesday, it did little to put them off their stride against Switzerland. If anything, the controversy only fuelled their fire further and in doing so, they hit their opponents for six.

That said, I do not see Morocco conceding a hatful of goals at the weekend. If only because their defense has been so impressive in Qatar, I would imagine a similar approach to how they set up against Spain.

An approach that certainly stifled Luis Enrique’s men and ultimately worked. However, you must also account for the fact that La Rioja had nothing in the way of a focal point in attack, and this certainly aided Morocco’s plight.

However, Portugal certainly does have a focal point when it comes to its attack. In fact, they have many, and this is why a two-goal winning margin (e.g 2-0, 3-1, 4-2) offers a decent amount of value before kickoff. 

Half time tie/Portugal win: +320

While building on my first tip, I am also going to take a look at the markets at the end of both halves. For those who do not know how this one works, you are backing the outcome at both minutes 45 and 90.

This means there can be an element of ebb and flow in the game and in this instance, I am backing the tie at halftime and then Portugal to win at the final whistle. The reason for this is due to Morocco’s resolute defense.

We saw them withstand everything that Spain threw in their direction and for the first half on Friday, I can see them achieving the same against Portugal. However, I do also believe that opposition quality will shine through in the end.

If only because Switzerland is no bad team themselves and for an outfit that is also based on rather defensive principles, they were blown away by a lightning-fast Portuguese attacking setup. 

Something that the Morocco manager Walid Regragui will certainly be wary of and this is why I can see an ultra-cautious start to the game. Although that caution will eventually lead to despair, as Portugal find an extra gear after the break. 

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