While the debate raged whether the United States Women’s soccer team running up the goals in a 13-0 World Cup win over Thailand was a sign of respect or disrespect, oddsmakers were forced to adjust in advance of Sunday’s meeting with Chile (FOX, noon ET).
What’s the right line if a juggernaut can virtually name the score?
Obviously a line of -5 goals was way too small for the Thailand game. Double that spread would have been too small! The talented finishers in red, white, and blue outshot Thailand 39-2, with a 21-2 edge in shots on goal.
Sunday opponent Chile is better than Thailand (consensus choice as worst team in the tournament according to betting markets), but not any sort of threat to the US. In its Cup opener, Chile ( 2 goals) pushed in a 2-0 loss to Sweden. But, the underdogs were outshot 25-6 (7-1 on goal), and lost the corner kick category 11-0.
The Stars and Stripes can top those stats with more lethal shooters, and no conscience about having as many group hugs as possible. Here’s how the market had adjusted entering the weekend…
Game 1: US (-5 goals) vs. Thailand, Sweden (-2 goals) vs. Chile.
Game 2: US (-4.5 goals) vs. Chile, Sweden (-6 goals) vs. Thailand.
Sweden is now a bigger favorite over Thailand than the US was, because there are no illusions about the Thai’s helplessness at this level. And the U.S. could conceivably close at -5 or more vs. Chile with the public wanting to bet a favored bully in a weekend TV spot.
What would it take for soccer sharps to take a bite of Chile Sunday? This big underdog may not get more than three or four shots on goal all game. Betting isn’t about soccer here, but about whether or not a self-imposed “mercy rule” will come into play for a favorite that may not take its foot off the gas.
Sharps prefer focusing on skill sets rather than guessing a coach’s mood. That’s true in any team betting sport. Ask the dwindling number of pros who have stubbornly faded Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots through the years.
Fading the U.S. for betting value would make more sense later vs. competitive opponents who can at least test what might turn out to be a rusty defense. That would mean backing Sweden as an underdog this Thursday, or France in a projected quarterfinal meeting.
But it could turn out that this collection of U.S. talent is so potent that a conservative market will be chasing the scoreboard the whole way through. Other top threats aren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard thus far. Head coach Jill Ellis can substitute waves of scorers.
VSiN will venture to put together a “goal supremacy” scale to serve as “market” Power Ratings once the knockout round creates more connectivity. That could prove tricky if the market is still guessing about the U.S. team at that time.