Is there a letdown in U.S. women's future?

July 2, 2019 12:54 AM

Can the United States women’s soccer team avoid a letdown against the Lionesses of England in Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal (FOX, 3 p.m. ET)?

That’s the big question facing sports bettors. The U.S. has established itself as the best team in the tournament. It defeated virtual co-favorite France in last week’s quarterfinals by a 2-1 margin. That was by far the team’s best overall performance, with the offense creating quality opportunities as the defense protected a lead. 

The U.S. won shots on goal 8-5 despite leading for more than 85 of the game’s 90-plus minutes. It’s not uncommon for the trailing team to win that stat as the leader sits on its advantage. Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and other attackers wouldn’t allow that.

With their most dangerous foe out of the way, next-in-line Germany was stunned Saturday by Sweden in the lower half of the brackets. That’s created a futures board where the two remaining favorites square off in one semi-final Tuesday, with the two biggest longshots playing Wednesday (Netherlands vs. Sweden, FOX, 3 p.m.). 

William Hill championship odds: USA 8/11 (-138), England 7/2 (plus 350), Netherlands 9/2 (plus 450), Sweden 7/1 (plus 700).

If you’re new to sports betting, gamblers seeking to back the Stars and Stripes to lift the Cup would have to risk $138 to win $100, or anything in that ratio. A longshot investment on Sweden would risk $100 to win $700 (etc.). 

Win percentage equivalents at those prices are USA 58%, England 22%, Netherlands 18%, and Sweden 13%. Sportsbooks build a universe larger than 100% to create a house edge. That’s why those add up to 111%.

VSiN’s latest estimated “market” Power Ratings on a goal supremacy scale show that Tuesday’s winner will be favored over Wednesday’s winner in the finals. Using current goal lines as guidance, we show: USA 5.3, England 4.8, Netherlands 4.5, Sweden 4.3. 

The U.S. is “supposed” to keep winning. But a flat, overconfident lineup would have its hands full with an England side that squashed Norway 3-0 in the quarters, winning shots on goal 7-3 despite a long, comfortable lead. It could turn out that England rather than Germany was the dangerous floater everyone should have been worrying about.

A quick look at semifinal prices:

  • On the three-way, the U.S. is -120 to lead at the end of regulation, plus 250 to be tied at the end of regulation, with England plus 330 to stun in regulation. On the goal line, the US is expected to close laying -0.5 goals, probably laying additional vigorish at stateside sports books. 
  • Netherlands is -125 to lead at the end of regulation, plus 220 to tie in regulation, with Sweden plus 230 to score another upset.
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