An already busy summer sports betting schedule is about to be joined by the 2019 women’s World Cup. Host France and the United States are virtual co-favorites entering the event, which begins Friday in Paris.
A few notes of importance…
▪ The women’s World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 2015 (group play features six sets of four). In practical terms, all that did was bring in a few newcomers with little chance of competing. That does open the door for serious handicappers to find value. This year, oddsmakers can only guess how bad teams like Thailand, Jamaica, and South Africa are going to be.
▪ Among the most respected entries, a composite of offshore odds to win the world championship are currently showing USA 7/2, France 7/2, Germany 11/2, England 13/2, Netherlands 12/1, Japan 14/1, Australia and Brazil each at 18/1.
▪ Because World Cup draws are only seeded to spread out the superpowers in group play…not to create maximum drama…co-favorites France and the USA will very likely meet in the quarterfinals! Both are heavy favorites to win their groups. Their group winners are slotted in the same quarter of the brackets. Sharps have been closely studying possible dark horses with easier pathways from the other side (like Germany and the Netherlands).
▪ If you’re new to soccer betting, the most common game option is what’s called a “three-way” money line. A price is offered for each team individually, and also for a draw. Friday’s tournament opener currently has heavily favored France at -650 to defeat South Korea (risk $650 to win $100, or anything in that ratio), the underdog to win outright at +2500 (risk $100 on South Korea to win $2,500), and +740 on the draw (risk $100 to win $740 that the game will be tied when the ref blows the final whistle).
(Once the knockout round begins, the “draw” will apply to the end of regulation after injury time, not to overtime periods).
▪ Because international tournaments often have very one-sided matchups, sports books also offer “goal lines.” The USA will likely be laying -4.5 or -5 goals to Thailand next Tuesday based on early odds. These work just like point spreads in football, or run-lines in baseball…and often have additional juice included (the USA might be -4.5 goals, and you have to lay -120 or -130 too).
We’ll talk more about World Cup betting strategy deeper into the event. For now, be aware that sharps often look for team weaknesses to exploit rather than strengths that are overhyped by media coverage. Focus your research (and game watching) on finding problem areas in defense and goaltending.
If you want to circle the dates on your calendar for games involving the USA...those are Tuesday vs. Thailand, June 16 vs. Chile, and June 20 vs. Sweden. Should the heavily favored Yanks win their group, the US begins knockout play on June 24…with that heavily anticipated potential quarterfinal thriller vs. France set for June 28 in Paris.
A few preliminary group-round matchups featuring teams respected in futures prices: France (7/2) vs. Norway (33/1) and Germany (11/2) vs. Spain (20/1) on June 12, Australia (18/1) vs. Brazil (18/1) on June 13, England (13/2) vs. Japan (14/1) on June 19, and the Netherlands (12/1) vs. Canada (22/1) on June 20.
▪ In Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox have dropped to a global composite of 15/1 to repeat as World Champions. That after losing recent three-game series to the New York Yankees (once) and Houston Astros (twice). Boston begins a critical four-game series vs. likely playoff participant Tampa Bay Friday night at Fenway Park.
The Rays are a composite 12/1 to win the 2019 World Series. Houston leads the way in the American League at 7/2, followed by the Yankees at 11/2, and Minnesota at 10/1.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers top the table at 7/2, followed by Philadelphia at 9/1, Milwaukee at 15/1, the Chicago Cubs at 16/1, and Atlanta at 18/1.
▪ A rarity in Las Vegas, newly opened bookmaker Circa Sports is offering “no” bets on NFL teams to win the Super Bowl. These have been common offshore for years, and help create a market that better reflects true odds.
Betting “yes” on the New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl LIV on February 2, 2020 is currently +1000 on the Circa board (risk $100 to win $1K, or anything in that 10/1 ratio). Betting “no,” meaning the Saints WON’T lift the Lombardi Trophy, costs -1800 (risk $1,800 to win $100, or anything in that 18/1 ratio).
Check with your favorite local shops to see if they’ll be offering “no” bets as the new football season approaches.