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Egypt and Saudi Arabia Meet in a Match for Pride

Saudi Arabia and Egypt may be eliminated from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but these are two very proud nations that will not treat this match like the formality that it is. The Saudis looked a much-improved side against Uruguay after the drubbing they took from the Russians and Mohamed Salah’s competitive edge was on full display in his World Cup debut. Bettors will surely have their eyes on the other Group A match between Russia and Uruguay which kicks off at the same time, but don’t pass up the value being offered here.

Bovada currently has Egypt as the favorite in moneyline markets at -125 with Saudi Arabia coming back at +355 and the draw sitting at +260. Totals shape up like this: OVER 2.5 is priced at +110 while the UNDER is sitting at -130.

SHARK BITES
  • Saudi Arabia has conceded 13 and scored just four in its last 6 matches.
  • Egypt produced just one goal through 21 shots in its first two group games.
  • Neither side has scored from open play at World Cup 2018.

STRUGGLING SAUDIS

Entering their third and final group stage match with a -6 goal differential does not paint a pretty picture for the Saudis. They did, however, put in a solid effort against a very good Uruguayan side in their second match. They limited Suarez’s men to just three shots on net, four better than what Russia was afforded. They showed some better looks going forward and actually held the edge in possession through 90 minutes. Certainly this will give their squad a lift as they consider their unceremonious exit from Russia.

I don’t expect any sort of offensive outburst from Saudi Arabia here, but between national pride and the prospect of leaving Russia without scoring a goal, The Green Falcons won’t be short on motivation.

EGYPT HAs TO CAPITALIZE

Egypt was never going to threaten to win this tournament, but prior to the Champions League final I would have given them a puncher’s chance to advance from this weak group. They looked good in spurts through both matches and, of course, the addition of Mo Salah, fully fit or not, can only increase their offensive potency.

After conceding three inside the first 20 minutes of the second half vs Russia, the Pharaohs continued to show resolve. Salah had some piercing runs and easily could have had the brace. I expect him to come out aggressively against a Saudi backline that has looked very shaky at times. Mohamed Elneny has quietly had a nice showing in Russia as well and another good performance from him will be key if his side hopes to emerge victorious.

THE PLAY

Although both sides will be desperate to walk away with their pride intact, scoring has been at a premium for both clubs. If they exceed the 2.5 goal total, I will be surprised.

This will be a low-scoring affair but I really like the Egypt moneyline price at -125 and a prop of Mo Salah to be the first to score for his squad is available at +105.

Bet on the 2018 World Cup here