World Cup European Qualifiers: The best player prop bets for Benzema, Bale, and Depay
It’s squeaky-bum time in the race to qualify for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar with some huge games taking place this weekend as the group stages come to a close. With some of the biggest nations and World Cup favorites heavily favored in the betting, here are three players who could find the back of the net more than once this weekend.
The World Ranked No. 3 side and current reigning UEFA Nations League Champions France take on Kazakhstan in Parc des Princes, and according to the betting this will all be one-way traffic. Kazakhstan have gone 14 games without a win and haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 10, conceding 12 in their seven qualifying games so far.
Meanwhile, France haven’t lost a competitive game inside 90 minutes since June 2019.
All eyes then are on who is going to find the back of the net for France, and for that we turn to Karim Benzema. The striker scored in both the UEFA Nations League semi-final against Belgium and the final against Spain as France lifted the trophy.
That brought his tally to six in France’s last seven games and his club form has been just as good. Since the last international break, he’s played 12 times in all competitions for Real Madrid and scored 12 goals.
He is -157 to score anytime, which is a solid bet, but for those looking for a value play it’s +340 for him to score two or more. At Euro 2020 in the summer Benzema bagged twice against Portugal and then again against Switzerland, and he’s in a rich vein of form.
Another side heavily fancied in the betting is the Netherlands, who face Montenegro – a side 62 places lower than them in the FIFA Rankings. The Dutch were well fancied at Euro 2020 and won all their group games, before one of the shocks of the tournament saw them beaten 2-0 by the Czech Republic in the last 16.
There have been no such speed bumps during qualifying for the World Cup, however, and no team has scored as many as the Netherlands. The Oranje have 29 goals in just eight games (an average of 3.6 per game) and are fresh off the back of hammering Gibraltar 6-0 at home.
These sides met as recently as September, when the Dutch ran out 4-0 winners and their star man Memphis Depay found the back of the net twice in the opening hour. It took his tally to nine goals and he’s by far the group’s leading scorer.
In the Netherland’s eight group games Depay has scored at least two goals in four of them, a quite remarkable record. He’s got at least two goals in three of his last four games for his country and is a very tempting bet at +440 to do the same this weekend.
It is a huge week to be Welsh as acting coach Rob Page attempts to guide them to their first ever World Cup. They are guaranteed a playoff spot because of their Nations League performance, but a win here would move them to second in the group and importantly would mean they would be seeded for the playoff semi-final. That advantage could be the difference between going to Qatar or not.
The Welsh came from behind to beat Belarus 3-2 in September with Gareth Bale scoring all three goals, including the winner in the 93rd minute. Wales will be looking to their star man to deliver once again, and he’s a great bet to light up the Cardiff City Stadium.
He hasn’t had much playing time since returning to Real Madrid from Tottenham, but it’s an open secret how much he values playing for his country. Although he hasn’t found the net too often in a Welsh jersey in the last 12 months, he remains Wales’ all-time leading scorer, and the man they all look to.
Sentiment is going to play a big role in this bet because the match is huge for Bale on a personal level. He will get his 100th cap this weekend, becoming just the second Welsh player to be a centurion. It’s a huge occasion for him, and with high stakes come big performances.