Peru, Honduras set as favorites on intercontinental playoff game lines
Peru will have its sights set on its first berth in the FIFA World Cup since 1982 as it prepares to face New Zealand in a two-leg intercontinental playoff matchup as a heavy -1000 favorite on the World Cup qualification odds.
Los Incas kept their World Cup hopes alive by playing Colombia to a 1-1 draw as +173 home underdogs in their final CONMEBOL qualifying outing to extend their unbeaten streak during the current qualification cycle to six matches going into Friday’s game at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
Pegged as -140 chalk in their first-leg clash with the All Whites, the Peruvians have built their recent success on stingy defense, surrendering one or fewer goals in each of their past five qualifying contests. That run includes a scoreless draw against Argentina as heavy +889 underdogs in their last road date on October 5.
With just one victory in its past five meaningful contests, New Zealand has a mountain to climb in its quest to clinch its first World Cup berth since 2010. The All Whites tallied just one total goal in three losses at the FIFA Confederation Cup earlier this summer, and dropped a 2-1 decision to Japan in an October friendly, but dominated in OFC World Cup qualifying, outscoring opponents by a 23-4 margin during a nine-match unbeaten run.
That success has done nothing to lift the All Whites’ odds to qualify for Russia 2018. New Zealand is winless in nine meetings with CONMEBOL opponents since 1982, and is a distant +550 bet to lock up a berth at next year’s tournament.
In this week’s other intercontinental playoff matchup, Honduras plays host to Australia on Friday as an even-money favorite.
Los Catrachos closed out their CONCACAF qualification schedule in stunning fashion, knocking off Mexico 3-2 in a matchup pegged as a pick’em to lock up fourth place on the table and eliminate the United States from World Cup contention. Honduras is unbeaten in its past five qualifying matches, but enters the intercontinental playoff trailing Australia as a narrow -105 underdog to advance to Russia 2018.
Australia needed extra time to seal a 2-1 victory over Syria and earn the right to represent the AFC in the intercontinental playoff, and travels to Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano for Friday’s matchup as a +295 underdog on the game line odds.
The Socceroos have picked up at least a point in seven of their past eight road dates, and have posted victories in four straight qualifiers on home turf, powering their -125 odds to make a fourth straight World Cup appearance.