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.
A few notes of importance:
- The tournament 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 currently are showing USA 5/4, France 7/2, Germany 6/1, England 7/1, Japan 15/1, Netherlands 16/1, Australia 18/1, and Spain, Brazil and Sweden all 25/1.
- Because World Cup draws are seeded only to spread out the super powers in group play — not to create maximum drama — favorites U.S. and France very likely will 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 (such as 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 -4¹/₂ 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 -4¹/₂ 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 over-hyped by media coverage. Focus your research (and game watching) on finding problem areas in defense and goaltending.