It doesn’t get much bigger than this for Uruguay and Ecuador. The nations are third and fourth in the CONMEBOL (South America) World Cup qualifiers but only one point separates Ecuador (third) from Uruguay (fourth). What’s at stake? An automatic spot in Qatar in 2022.
The soccer betting lines have Uruguay (3-3-2) as a decided favorite here despite Ecuador (4-1-3) beating them 4-2 last October. Ecuador is one of only two teams that has beaten Uruguay, which looks to even the score and seize visiting Ecuador’s spot.
Uruguay: Keeping Streak Alive
Historically, Uruguay has been the better team against Ecuador. These two-time World Cup champions hold a 31-11-7 record against their northern adversaries. However, Ecuador has beaten them in three of their last five matches.
La Celeste has made the World Cup for three consecutive times and will look to keep that alive by beating Ecuador. However, they will not have the services of two of their best attackers as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are unavailable.
Fernando #Muslera calienta en el césped del Campeón del Siglo. Ante Bolivia, cumplirá 125 partidos e igualará a Maxi #Pereira como segundo jugador con más partidos en la historia de la Celeste.
📷 @Uruguay pic.twitter.com/uf7aLuBUpC
— ESPN Uruguay (@ESPNUruguay) September 5, 2021
Uruguay should still boast a solid starting XI, including goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur. They may be a bit more challenged in scoring as Suarez and Cavani accounted for a chunk of their offense.
Ecuador: Wild Cards Through and Through
The Ecuadorians remain wild cards when it comes to CONMEBOL play as this energetic squad can give even the most talented teams fits. They should make for an interesting underdog soccer pick as they look to distance themselves from Uruguay with a win.
The squad will have to overcome the loss of primary goalkeeper Hernan Galindez, who was hurt against Chile. Galindez had a 53.8 save percentage (SV%) compared to 40 percent from Pedro Ortiz, but Ecuador’s physical style should still be enough to neutralize Uruguay.
Ecuador got a pair of goals from Michael Estrada and the only goals it conceded were penalty kicks courtesy of Suarez. La Tricolor cannot keep conceding penalties even with the absence of Suarez. If they stay disciplined enough, they can hold Uruguay to a draw, which would maintain their spot in the standings.
Pick: Keep Off
Ecuador loses its top goalkeeper and Uruguay loses its two best offensive players. Seems like an even split, but the sportsbook is too skewed against the underdogs.
Uruguay has home turf advantage, which could inspire them to overcome Ecuador. The visitors have only one win (against Bolivia) on the road and Uruguay’s only home loss came against the unbeaten Brazilians.
But La Celeste will need to be at its best to justify a bet online. Ecuador has generally outpaced its opponents and only Brazil and Argentina have controlled the pitch more than these upstarts. But expect Ecuador to shoot themselves in the foot again as they let what would be a win finish in a tie.
Pick: Draw +240
Totals Pick: All Tied Up
Ecuador has proven itself capable of scoring against any team not from Argentina or Brazil. Likewise, the Uruguayans have plenty of firepower even if they went through a three-game goalless streak that began against Paraguay.
The visitors may find ways to frustrate Uruguay, but they commit too many fouls and mistakes to the point that Uruguay will be able to capitalize. Likewise, Uruguay won’t be able to prevent Ecuador from scoring.