An underwhelming Group stage campaign has seen the USA slip from the favorite’s position going into the World Cup Round of 16, but that makes it a good pick to win the tournament again.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that England is the strong favorite with bettors to win the World Cup and is priced at between +275 and +300. The reigning champion USA and Spain are both rated at similar prices as the main contenders, with France and Japan available at around +700 and +800, respectively in the World Cup Winner Futures market.
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MTS World Cup Round of 16 Betting Briefing
The Round of 16 is where the World Cup becomes a knockout tournament, with extra time and penalties used to decide games that finish level after normal time.
As is usually the case in the World Cup, the Group Stage delivered some surprises and upsets. The USA didn’t perform with its usual dominance and finished second in its Group, while Germany and Brazil were surprising casualties after failing to finish in the top two in their respective Groups.
The result is that the top half of the draw looks much stronger than the bottom with the USA, Netherlands, Spain, Japan, and Sweden fighting with three other teams for a place in the final. In the bottom half of the draw, Colombia’s surprise topping of the Group means it could be heading for a tie against England in the quarter-finals, which will not be an easy contest for the favorites.
England Offers Little Value
England has swapped places with the USA in the tournament futures market after an impressive Group stage run of fixtures, in which it beat Denmark, Haiti and China, however, the odds on an England tournament win look short and England offers little value at this point.
The 6-1 win over China was an impressive way to sign off its Group D fixtures, but the 1-0 wins over Denmark and Haiti were less memorable, and it seems that bettors and bookmakers alike have overreacted to that one eye-catching score.
Of the other two favorites, Spain also looks a poor option after losing spectacularly to Japan in its final Group game, and it now faces a tough route to the final, so the USA looks like a much better option for futures market portfolios. The draw against Portugal that saw the USA finish second in its Group was disappointing, but Portugal is an underrated team and pushed the Netherlands very close, so hindsight may well show us that this was an unusually tough Group.
The USA remains the strongest team in the competition and fears that it might be defensively weaker than usual have proven unfounded as it has conceded only one goal in three games. It isn’t often that this team goes into the Round of 16 as anything other than the favorite and the current odds on a USA tournament win could look very generous by the quarter-finals.
Australia and Colombia the Best of the Rest
Outside the top three in the betting, there are several contenders for World Cup success, with France, Netherlands and Japan leading the way. France is in the easier half of the draw, but although it notably beat Brazil and scored six past Panama in the Group stage, it also conceded four goals and that defensive fragility could prove costly in the knockout rounds, while Japan and the Netherlands have ended up in the tougher half of the draw and will face the USA before the final.
At bigger odds, Australia and Colombia look like the best of the rest. Australia slipped up against Nigeria, but it remains a strong squad and has home advantage, which could count for a lot when the pressure is on in the closing stages of tightly-fought knock-out games. With Sam Kerr likely to return to the lineup for the Round of 16 game against Denmark, Australia will get a huge boost and it looks overpriced at the current odds in the World Cup winners market.
Colombia’s loss to Morocco in its final Group game is a concern for fans, but that result came after solid wins over Germany and South Korea, and Colombia still finished top of its Group. Much was expected of the team’s attacking trio of Mayra Ramirez, Manuela Vanegas and Linda Caicedo and while the goals have not flowed freely so far, there have been flashes of breathtaking play, particularly from Caicedo, who has made a huge impact at her first World Cup.
Crucially, the team has been strong defensively, conceding only two goals in its three games, which will give it a firm foundation for the upcoming challenges and like Australia, it looks like a value pick.