World Cup European Qualifier Odds & Picks

World Cup

Turkey’s Burak Yilmaz celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the World Cup 2022 group G qualifying soccer match between Turkey and Netherlands at the Ataturk Olimpiyat Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Murad Sezer/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Saturday’s World Cup qualifying slate has thrown up some early tussles for group supremacy
  • Serbia vs Portugal, Norway vs Turkey and Russia vs Slovenia will all be looking to build on opening wins and claim sole occupancy of their group summits
  • Read on for a preview, odds and best bets from all the European World Cup qualifying action on March 27

The opening round of 2022 World Cup European qualifying largely went according to the script, but there was still room for one or two upsets, most notably the Turkish takedown of Frank de Boer’s Netherlands team, and Slovenia seeing off the challenge of Croatia, who lost the 2018 World Cup final against France.

Now things start to get a little more interesting, with both those teams among those looking to defend their position at the top of their groups.

UEFA World Cup Qualifying Odds Matchday 2

Matchup Home Draw Away
Russia vs Slovenia -139 +235 +440
Montenegro vs Gibraltar -2000 +1050 +3500
Croatia vs Cyprus -770 +700 +1700
Netherlands vs Latvia -10000 +1800 +4000
Norway vs Turkey +140 +230 +188
Belarus vs Estonia -385 +460 +950
Serbia vs Portugal +360 +285 +141
Czech Republic vs Belgium +380 +275 -143
Republic of Ireland vs Luxembourg -210 +330 +540
Slovakia vs Malta -910 +700 +2200

All odds taken March 26 at DraftKings

Russia vs Slovenia Prediction

After beating the 2018 World Cup runners-up in Slovenia’s opening fixture in the 2022 qualifying campaign, those within the Slovenia camp will no doubt be looking to double down here.

Matjaz Kek’s team pulled off arguably the shock of Matchday 1 in Europe with its 1-0 win over Croatia on a Sandi Lovric goal early in the first half. Despite being dominated by Luka Modric and Co. for much of the game in terms of possession and shots, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak stood tall in the Slovenia net as his team emerged with the three points and now sits atop Group H alongside Russia, which claimed a 3-1 win in Malta.


Meanwhile, Russia came out on top versus Malta by a 3-1 scoreline. It was not as straightforward as the Russians would’ve liked though. Despite taking a 2-0 first-half lead, Malta cut the lead in half early in the second and the score remained 2-1 until a late Russian goal in the 89′ minute. Malta also held the advantage in shots on goal at 5-4.

The two teams have met five times previously, with each winning two to go with one draw. But the sides haven’t met since 2009, when they played in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and split both games. Neither team has won on the road against the other in those games either.

Pick: Draw (+235)

2021 UEFA Champions League Odds Tracker

Norway vs Turkey Prediction

After both opened their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaigns with comfortable wins – surprisingly so in Turkey’s case, with its 4-2 win over the Netherlands – both will be hoping to claim early Group G superiority here.

Saturday’s game will be the ninth meeting between the two sides in a series that began in 1961 with another World Cup qualifier. Turkey holds the lead in the head-to-head with four wins, against two draws and two losses, and hasn’t lost to the Norwegians since a 1-0 defeat in a friendly 21 years ago. Turkey also won the last meeting between the teams, with a 2-1 win in Norway 14 years ago in a European Championship qualifier.

If the midweek results are anything to go by, Saturday’s game could also offer a number of goals. While Turkey was busy putting four past Holland, mainly down to Burak Yilmaz’s hat trick, Norway rolled to a 3-0 win in Gibraltar, which was notable mostly because Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland failed to find the back of the net despite playing for just over an hour. Norway is in a good run of form as well, having lost just five of its last 28 games, with three wins, one draw and one loss in its last five.

Pick: Over 3.5 (+260)

Serbia vs Portugal Prediction

In six all-time meetings, the pattern of results between Portugal and Serbia has been fairly one-sided, with three wins to Portugal alongside three draws. While both teams registered opening wins on Matchday 1, neither looked especially dominant.

Serbia relied on substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic for a pair of goals to squeeze by the Republic of Ireland 3-2, while Portugal needed an own goal from Maksim Medvedev to get by Azerbaijan.

Both will therefore feel slightly fortunate to sit atop Group A, but a win for either on Saturday will give that team a huge leg up in the qualification process. Serbia had posted three consecutive clean sheets before allowing Ireland to grab a couple, while Portugal managed to keep their sixth clean sheet in their previous eight contests. In addition, Portugal has won four of its previous five matches.

Pick: Draw (+285)

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Paul Attfield

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