Portugal vs. North Macedonia – World Cup Playoff Prediction for Tuesday, March 29, 2022

| March 28, 2022 4:25 am PDT

Fresh from dispatching Italy, North Macedonia is now just one win away from qualifying for the FIFA World Cup for the very first time. However, Blagoja Milevski’s boys must get past Portugal in order to punch their ticket to Qatar 2022.

On Tuesday, March 29, the two sides will do battle at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao. Can Portugal seal the deal on home soil? Or will North Macedonia produce another giant-killing?

You can find my Portugal vs. North Macedonia prediction in this betting preview, along with a free pick. First, though, let’s check out the latest odds for Tuesday’s World Cup playoff before taking an in-depth look at the teams.

Portugal vs. North Macedonia Odds

Portugal to Win1.18
The Draw6.00
North Macedonia to Win13.00
Portugal to Win (-1)1.60
Portugal to Win (-2)2.50

Unsurprisingly, Betway views Portugal as the out-and-out favorite to win this one – leaving North Macedonia as the rank outsider. Even the price for the draw is notably high here.

These odds tell you everything you need to know about the gulf in quality between the teams. Portugal sits at #8 in the FIFA World Rankings, while North Macedonia is all the way down at #67.

Before we settle on a prediction for Portugal vs. North Macedonia, we need to take a closer look at both sides.

Will Portugal Live Up to Expectations?

It’s fair to say that Portugal made light work of Turkey in the first playoff round. On Thursday, the hosts racked up 60% possession and 16 shots on their way to clinching a 3-1 victory.

Goals from Otavio and Diogo Jota saw Portugal carry a 2-0 lead into half-time. Burak Yilmaz pulled a goal back for the visitors midway through the second half, but Matheus Nunes completed the scoring with a stoppage-time strike.

Of course, the Euro 2016 champions don’t really belong in the playoffs. But after finishing three points behind Serbia in Group A, they still need to prove their worth.

It is worth pointing out that Fernando Santos’ men lost just one of their eight qualifiers, recording two draws and one defeat along the way. Better still, they boasted the best defensive record in Group A.

When you look at the bigger picture, they have only lost three of their past 18 encounters across all competitions. Let’s not forget that Portugal thrashed Germany 4-2 at Euro 2020 before holding France to a draw.

It goes without saying that Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal’s danger man. The Manchester United superstar has racked up an unrivaled 115 goals in 185 appearances for his country, including 13 in his previous 13.

That said, Portugal’s squad is stacked with world-class players. From the Manchester City duo of Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo to Liverpool forward Diogo Jota, Santos has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.

Could North Macedonia Upset the Odds Once Again?

Against all the odds, North Macedonia stunned Italy last week. The European minnows are now just one victory away from reaching their maiden World Cup finals.

In truth, the statistics from the match against Italy resemble a one-sided video game. The reigning European champions enjoyed 66% possession on home soil, notching a whopping 32 shots in the process. Meanwhile, North Macedonia managed only two attempts on target.

Crucially, though, Milevski’s boys converted one of their shots on target into a goal. Following countless Italy misses, Aleksandar Trajkovski netted the winner in the 92nd minute.

The Lynxes enjoyed a hugely promising qualification campaign, losing two of their ten games to finish second in Group J. We shouldn’t forget that they even beat Germany 2-1 in Duisburg back in March 2021.

In recent times, the North Macedonians have upped their game. Not only have they won four of their past five matches in all competitions, but they have also lost just one of their previous eight.

Of course, Milevski’s boys are the bookies’ underdogs for a reason. But after seeing off the Euro 2020 champions last week, they will be confident of frustrating Portugal.

Portugal vs. North Macedonia Prediction

I can’t see the North Macedonians producing another shock result on Tuesday. Granted, they have done well to make it this far. But I expect their World Cup qualification journey to end in Portugal.

Given that Portugal cruised past Turkey with a 3-1 win last week, I’m confident that Ronaldo and co. will get past North Macedonia without any major problems. The Lynxes will stand firm, but Santos’ men shouldn’t struggle to find a way through.

The Portuguese have scored over 2.5 goals in five of their last seven outings across all competitions. They have also kept four clean sheets in their previous six, so I expect them to notch a healthy winning margin in Porto.

My Portugal vs. North Macedonia Betting Pick

  • Portugal to Win (-1)

Portugal is priced at just 1.18 to beat North Macedonia. Given their recent scoring record, I recommend backing Santos’ men to win by two clear goals on Tuesday.

If you’re feeling brave, you could opt for the -2 handicap at 2.50. However, it is worth remembering that North Macedonia has dished up a number of shock results over the past 12 months.

Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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