Pandora Hughes brings you all the latest betting advice for the crucial World Cup qualifying game between Canada and Panama
After their heroics in Mexico City and a solid point in Jamaica, the Canadian soccer team is back on home soil for the final game of their three-match run in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, this time against Panama.
Who Do Bettors Favor for the Canada v Panama Game?
Surprisingly, Canada doesn’t have a great record against Panama. Their first meeting came in 1996, with Panama running out as 3-1 winners, and since then, the Central American side has recorded two more wins, in 2000 and 2012, while Canada has won just once, also in 2012.
But that head-to-head record hasn’t worried bettors ahead of this game. Canada is rated as heavy favourites here, and you won’t be able to get odds much bigger than 1.60 on a home win. Panama is generally available at around 6.20 with the draw at 3.60 or so, but keep checking the top sportsbooks as those odds may shift closer to the game.
Which Team is in the Best Form?
Canada came into this qualifying tournament with a strong record, that read nine wins from twelve games, although victories over the likes of Aruba, Bermuda and Suriname may not amount to much.
Significantly for their qualifying chances, Canada carried that good form into their qualifying tournament. A draw against Honduras was backed up by creditable points away to CONCACAF favourites Mexico and the USA, and a 3-0 home win against El Salvador, though their 0-0 draw in Jamaica last time was a little disappointing.
Panama’s form is also good, and they are currently one point ahead of Canada in the standings. A narrow defeat in El Salvador is their only poor return from a campaign in which they’ve thrashed Jamaica, held Mexico to a draw and beaten the USA 1-0. It is worth noting, however, that they have had the advantage of playing their two toughest opponents – the USA and Mexico – at home.
Who is Fit for the Game?
Canada has been struggling with injuries throughout this qualifying tournament, but they should have a full-strength squad to choose from against Panama. That means Maxime Crepeau – who played particularly well in Jamaica – is in goal and a likely back four of Alistair Johnston, Doneil Henry, Derek Cornelius and Samual Adekgube.
Junior Hoilett didn’t feature against the Reggae Boyz so could be a fresh face here, supplementing the attacking skills of the dangerous Alphonso Davies, who can play as a wingback or wide forward, as required. John Herdman will also have young star Tajon Buchanan, as well as Richie Laryea and Steven Vitoria available after serving their suspensions.
What Can We Expect from the Canada v Panama Qualifier?
There’s a lot of evidence to support bettors who want to back Canada to prevail. For a start, there’s that rock-solid defence that has shipped only three goals in five games so far: an astonishing record in a highly competitive qualifying group.
Then there is Canada’s phenomenal home record. Since losing 3-0 at home to Mexico in 2016, the Canucks have gone 20 matches unbeaten on Canadian soil. The mild forecast means Panama won’t have to contend with chilly conditions, but they will be up against a packed stadium at BMO Field as Canada’s fans have the chance to cheer their boys on.
That said, Panama has an even more impressive defensive record. They’ve let in only two in their five games so far. That suggests Canada, who struggled for penetration against Jamaica despite dominating possession, might have a hard time breaking down their opponents. However, on the road, Panama has been a little more open, losing in El Salvador and scoring three in Jamaica.
I can see why some bettors might be wary of backing Canada at this kind of price, but Herdmen’s side has some genuine momentum behind them and with a stronger squad and home advantage, they can finish off their latest round of qualifiers in fine form.
Are there any other Bets for the Canada v Panama Game?
If you’re looking outside the Match Odds market, there are some interesting options in the lesser markets, where we can take advantage of Canada’s style of play.
They have shown a tendency to start games slowly. They were a goal down to Honduras, USA and Mexico, before coming back to draw those games. As we noted ahead of the Mexico game, they had scored over 0.5 goals in the second half consistently, in fact in five of their last seven.
That suggests a couple of potential bets. First up, we can once again consider backing Over 1/2 in the Canada Second Half Goals market, which is generally priced up at odds of 1.60. The second option focuses on the likelihood that Panama will try to keep it tight in the first half. If Canada starts slowly again then betting Draw-Canada in the Half-Time-Full Time market at 4.20 looks a solid option.
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