This article is part of our Soccer Picks series.
Our 2022 World Cup betting previews
After winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Spain have struggled to replicate their success, failing to get past the round of 16 in either of the previous two tournaments. The current squad is relatively young but veterans still filter the lineup between midfielder Sergio Busquets and defenders Jordi Alba and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Die Mannschaft is coming off a disappointing 2018 World Cup that saw the end of the Joachim Low era. That included the 2014 World Cup championship and in 2018 when Germany failed to advance beyond the group stage for the first time since 1978.
For their part, Japan will be hard-pressed to get out of this heavily skewed group given the two powerhouse European sides. At the World Cup, Japan have never moved past the Round of 16 and that's not expected to change in Qatar. Rounding out the group are Costa Rica, who secured their place in the tournament after defeating New Zealand in the CONCACAF vs OFC play-in game.
Spain are favored to win Group E at -125 with Germany a close second at +115, while Japan and Costa Rica are far behind at +1400 and +5000, respectively.
GROUP A WINNER
While Spain are favored, the odds would suggest that it's basically a coin flip between them and Germany. The aforementioned Busquets, along with Jordi Alba, Koke and Alvaro Morata are the only current members of the squad (as of June) with more than 50 caps. That's contrasted by six members of the German squad with that level of experience, led by current goal leader Thomas Muller (44 goals). Experience is a clear
Germany to Win Group E +115
Given the odds and that this could come down to one matchup, it makes more sense to grab the value and go with Germany at +115 to win the group. This will be the first tournament for new manager Hansi Flick, who brings a new voice to the squad after going undefeated in his first 10 matches as the national team manager.
Still, there are plenty of reasons to back Spain, as well, hence them being slightly favored. Normally, there isn't enough value to warrant taking these two teams to advance out of the group, but it appears to be such a foregone conclusion, that taking Spain -650 and Germany -450 in some kind of parlay could be beneficial. As it gets closer to the tournament, there will be bets that pop up in which you can take two specific teams to advance out of a group, and that's a route for these teams.
If you like the longshots, Costa Rica would probably be the better play at +550 to advance, as they try to replicate their 2014 World Cup performance in which they edged out Italy, England and Uruguay to finish first in Group D.
BEST MATCHUP TO BET
Nov. 27, Spain v. Germany, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Kohr
It will be a shocking turn of events for Japan or Costa Rica to win the group, so this matchup will almost certainly determine who comes out on top. As of June at DraftKings, Spain were slightly favored at +155 to win with Germany at +175 and a draw at +225.
Really, this is a double-down play for backing Germany to win the group because if they win this game, they will almost certainly secure the top spot in Group E, barring a dramatic loss to either Japan or Costa Rica. If you want to take the draw off the board, you can still get decent value on Germany at -105 or Spain -125 on the Draw No Bet option.
Germany to beat Spain +175
Germany to Win by 1 Goal +280
It's hard to imagine this game being a complete blowout in either direction, so the play is to continue doubling down on one team to maximize your value, and getting Germany to win by a goal with nearly 3/1 odds is fantastic.
If you wanted to flip all the aforementioned bets to Spain, you can get them to win Group E at -125, win the matchup with Germany +155 (or -125 with no draw) and then finish the trifecta off with Spain to win by one goal at +270.