Why sharps are attracted to the Women's World Cup

June 3, 2019 08:24 PM
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Megan Rapinoe and the U.S. women's team begin their quest for the World Cup on Friday
© Imagn

An already busy summer sports betting schedule will soon 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.

Let's outline early futures prices and explain why sharps are attracted to this event.

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, William Hill’s futures prices to win the world championship are currently showing USA 7/2, France 10/3, Germany 11/2, England 7/1, Netherlands 12/1, Japan 14/1, Australia, Brazil, and Sweden each at 16/1.
  • 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.

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