Reggae Boyz can hold El Tri
Jamaica v Mexico
Friday 28 January 00:00
While Jamaica are unlikely to sneak into a qualification spot for the World Cup finals, Paul Hall's men have certainly delivered some encouraging displays, especially on home soil. They held Canada and the USA to draws, and after a sloppy start to the campaign they have certainly tightened up, conceding just two goals in their last four matches.
Mexico aren't exactly sparkling under former Barcelona and Argentina boss Tata Martino, and they have suffered back-to-back qualifying defeats. They have won just two of their five away games in the final phase, and they have plenty of work to do to nail down qualification. Mexico are without Wolves striker Raul Jimenez and Napoli winger Hirving Lozano because of injury, which further hampers their chances.
Jamaica are without the injured Leon Bailey, but they can dig in here, and West Ham striker Michail Antonio is a good attacking outlet to relieve pressure. You could lay Mexico here at 1.75/7, but I'll go for the draw instead at a bigger price of 3.412/5.
USA to grind out tough win
USA v El Salvador
Friday 28 January, 00:30
With the pain of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup still stinging, the USA are once again having to fight hard for their place in the finals. They made a poor start to the final phase, drawing 0-0 in El Salvador and drawing 1-1 at home to Canada, but home wins over Jamaica, Costa Rica and most notably Mexico have been the bedrock of their recovery. Gregg Berhalter's side is second in the standings with six games to go, but Canada, Mexico and Panama are all in the mix to make the top three, so nothing is close to being decided.
El Salvador are a doughty bunch, and have only leaked ten goals across their eight games, but they have won just once and scored only four goals. They have lost all three away games against Canada, Costa Rica and Panama, and interestingly for our purposes they lost the second halves of all three games.
I'll use the Bet Builder to back the USA to win and Under 3.5 Goals, and I'll throw in the USA to win the second half, which they have done in their last three home wins in qualifying.
Davies' absence could prove crucial
Honduras v Canada
Friday 28 January, 01:05
Canada have been magnificent in these qualifiers so far, and they have a genuine chance of reaching their first World Cup finals since 1986. However, it's worth bearing in mind that most of their good work has been done on home soil, and they have had to grind out draws in Mexico, the USA and Jamaica.
Honduras don't have the quality of those teams, but new coach Hernan Dario Gomez is vastly experienced, and he has made a positive impact in recent games. Honduras led 2-0 against Panama before eventually losing 3-2, and they only lost 2-1 in Costa Rica because of a last-gasp winner.
Canada are trading at just above evens here, and I think that's a touch too short, especially as star player Alphonso Davies is currently on the sidelines. The Bayern Munich wing-back has heart inflammation after a bout of COVID-19, and so will miss this game.
Honduras held Canada to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, and I think they can do so again. Back Honduras +0.5 on the Asian Handicap market at 1.8910/11, or simply lay Canada.
Must-win game could be lively
Costs Rica v Panama
Friday 28 January, 02:05
Costa Rica are five points off the automatic qualifying slots, and five behind fourth-placed Panama, who would enter an inter-continental playoff as things stand. On that basis, this really is a game that Costa Rica need to win if they are to have a chance of reaching Qatar.
Costa Rica won their last match in extraordinary fashion, grabbing a 95th-minute winner in a 2-1 home success against Honduras. Three of their last four qualifying matches have featured at least three goals, including the last two at home.
Panama know that the avoidance of defeat would leave them in a strong position, and a win would be a massive step forward, but they have certainly opened up in recent games. Having kept back-to-back clean sheets at the start of this qualifying section, they have conceded 10 goals in six games since, and their last three matches have seen an Over 2.5 Goals bet land.
Costa Rica have to go for it, and I'll back Over 2.0 Goals here on the Goal Lines market at 1.910/11. We only lose our stake if there are no goals or just one goal in the game.