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October 24, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: USA vs. Belgium

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Julio Cortez / AP

The United States’ Brad Davis controls a ball during a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday, June 28, 2014. The U.S. will play Belgium on Tuesday in the round of 16 of soccer’s World Cup.

This afternoon’s World Cup match between the U.S. and Belgium in Salvador, Brazil, could go down as the most bet-on sporting event of the next couple of months in sports books.

That’s something Play of the Day, which uses odds from the South Point and features $10,000 starting bankrolls, has to get involved in.

Belgium over 1.5 goals (penalty shootout not included) vs. USA at plus-120: $350 to win $420

In the first round of the knockout stage, the favorites are a perfect 6-for-6 so far. One would have to assume Argentina, a minus-450 favorite to advance, will make it seven straight against Switzerland this morning.

That means it all comes down to the final underdog in the round of 16 to crash the chalk party, which happens to be the U.S. Can our country do it?

Although skeptical, I’m not ready to rule them out. I just think they’re going to have to score a lot.

Belgium is bound to break out. The European country the size of Maryland was an extremely popular bet among the smart money in sports books before the tournament, but its hype waned after an unspectacular showing in the group stage.

Belgium won all three of its games by a goal, but drew criticism for looking passive in the final two contests. But there was no reason for urgency.

They saved it for now, and the U.S. looks ripe for some goal surrendering. The Americans have gotten out-shot in each of their three World Cup games and are fortunate to have only given up four goals.

There are other concerns for the U.S., namely that its 72 attacks through three games ranked 31st out of 32 teams. I’m a soccer ignoramus, so I don’t have a much of a clue what that means.

But a statistic I do understand well enough is that Belgium hasn’t lost in 13 consecutive nonfriendly matches. And they’ve scored at least two goals in eight of them.

Standings: Bern (33-24-1, $12,019), Keefer (27-33, $8,474), Brewer (21-34-3, $2,235)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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