The first International break of the year has arrived and AFC Group B leaders Saudi Arabia plays host to Oman to kick off 2022. Undefeated Saudi Arabia are currently above both Japan and Australia in the Group B standings, which comes as a bit of a surprise.
It’s no surprise, though, that the Green Falcons are heavy home soccer betting favorites vs Oman. Saudi Arabia is currently listed at -245 to get all three points.
Game: Saudi Arabia vs Oman
Location: King Abdullah Sport City Stadium, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Date/Time: Thursday, 12:15 p.m. ET
|Saudi Arabia||-1 -145||-245||2½ +120o||1½ -125o
|Oman||+1 +115||+775||2½ -150u||½ +110o
Saudi Arabia vs Oman Betting Preview
Head to Head
Saudi Arabia defeated Oman 1-0 in September as Saleh Ah Shehri’s first-half goal was the difference. The Green Falcons have won two consecutive matches vs. Oman and are 2-1-2 in the last five meetings.
Saudi Arabia Nearing Qualification
Saudi Arabia enters 2022 as the only undefeated team in AFC World Cup qualifying Group B. The Green Falcons are widely expected to be one of two automatic qualifiers in their group and make their second consecutive World Cup appearance.
Coming into November and December’s FIFA Arab Cup, Saudi Arabia was undefeated in 2021 and one of the best soccer picks of the year. However, they only managed third place in their group and suffered their first and only two losses of the year.
Prior to the tournament, Saudi Arabia faced Australia and Vietnam in qualifying matches and came away with a 0-0 draw and 1-0 win, both on the road.
Since Herve Renard handed him his debut in 2020, Saleh Al-Shehri has been one of Saudi Arabia’s best players. He’s the Green Falcons’ joint-leading scorer in all Qatar 2022 qualifying matches and averages more than a goal and assist per 90 minutes.
The most remarkable thing about Saudi Arabia’s team is that every single player plays in the domestic league and comes from one of six clubs. This is a group that knows each other well and is a cohesive unit. It’s no wonder that the Green Falcons have conceded just 0.5 goals per game.
Oman Searching for Upset
Back in November, Oman managed a 1-1 draw vs China and lost 1-0 to Japan. Despite only picking up a point in the last round of qualifiers, Oman is still in the race for a slot at Qatar 2022. They’re just four points behind Australia in the playoff slot but would likely need to win three of their four remaining matches to have a shot.
Oman are no stranger to shock results as they managed a 1-0 upset of Japan in September. The Reds have conceded more than one goal just once in the third round of qualifying and could certainly make this a competitive match.
Midfielder and captain Mohsin Al-Khaldi is one to watch, as he averages nearly one goal per 90 minutes. Like Saudi Arabia, most of Oman’s roster plays in the domestic league for just a handful of clubs. Goalkeeper Faiz Al-Rushaidi, who plays in Iran, has kept three clean sheets in qualifying.
Forward Al-Mandhar Al Alawi leads the Reds with five goals in qualifying and the duo of Khalid Al-Hajri and Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali has a total of 43 combined international goals. It’s worth noting, though, that three of Oman’s five goals in the third round came against last-place Vietnam.
So, they have certainly struggled to score vs Asia’s elite opposition but have been a good pick for betting online against the spread.
When these teams met in September, Oman actually had more shots on target than Saudi Arabia. The Green Falcons dominated possession and Al Shehri scored on their only shot on goal.
Saudi Arabia are listed as one-goal favorites in the sportsbook but the Green Falcons have defeated only Vietnam by more than a one-goal margin in the third round. Oman will know that they need to win this match to keep their hopes alive so expect this to be a battle. Take Oman +1.