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World Cup predictions, picks: Denmark vs. Australia

The Danes are a huge favorite to beat the Aussies on Wednesday in Qatar

AL RAYYAN, QATAR - NOVEMBER 22: Christian Eriksen of Denmark looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Denmark and Tunisia at Education City Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
AL RAYYAN, QATAR - NOVEMBER 22: Christian Eriksen of Denmark looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Denmark and Tunisia at Education City Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)Read moreLars Baron / Getty Images

The most popular dark horse in the entire World Cup could be going home before the knockout rounds. Denmark is a big favorite to beat Australia and qualify for the Round of 16, but it’s more than fair to be skeptical of the Danes given how they’ve looked through two matches in Qatar.

The Socceroos haven’t been all that impressive themselves, but the fact that they can get into the Round of 16 with a win over Denmark (or a draw and a Tunisia draw/loss against France) is already an impressive feat for one of the biggest longshots in the field.

Sportsbooks will certainly be pulling for the Aussies on Wednesday, as only Brazil and Argentina had more money bet on them to win the World Cup than Denmark according to BetMGM’s John Ewing.

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Denmark vs. Australia prediction: Pick

  1. Under 2.5 (-115, FanDuel)

Denmark vs. Australia prediction: Analysis

The biggest knock on Denmark coming into the World Cup was that the Danes lacked the scoring punch that the elite teams like Brazil, France and England had in their ranks. That has certainly proven to be true thus far.

After being shutout by Tunisia on Matchday 1, the Danes finally got on the board thanks to a 68th-minute goal off a corner kick against France. Denmark has yet to score from open play and they’ve only created 2.0 expected goals thus far. That makes them a very hard team to back as a favorite. You just can’t trust them to get margin.

Australia doesn’t really profile as a particularly strong underdog, either. The Aussies don’t have much to offer going forward -- they’ve scored two goals off 1.1 expected goals through two matches -- and they’re also quite vulnerable defensively. In fact, no team has allowed more expected goals (5.0) than Australia this tournament. Only one other team (Costa Rica) has conceded more than 4.0 xG through the first two matches.

That sets up a matchup between a stoppable force and a movable object.

» READ MORE: World Cup 2022: Latest odds to win the tournament

In all likelihood, we’re going to see Australia set up in a very defensive formation and do everything they can to turn this game into a coin flip. The Aussies will put everyone behind the ball, waste time and clear their lines every chance they can against Denmark.

That means that Denmark will need to break down a team sitting deep in two low blocks, which is something they could not do in Matchday 1 against Tunisia.

Eventually, the Danes may break through on a set piece or a moment of magic from someone like Christian Eriksen, but this profiles as a lumbering, slog of a match that may never get going.

A bet on the under or even on the match to end 0-0 seems savvy.

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