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September 2, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: USA vs. Portugal

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Steve Marcus

Soccer fans toast as they watch the United States play Ghana in the World Cup during a viewing party at the Crown & Anchor British Pub Monday, June 16, 2014.

Excuse me while I pretend to have anything above the most rudimentary knowledge of soccer.

I told myself Sunday would mark the debut of focusing the Play of the Day, which uses odds from the South Point and features $10,000 starting bankrolls, on the World Cup. Overdue, right? Absolutely, and there’s no backing down now.

USA vs. Portugal under 2.5 goals at plus-110: $300 to win $330

I strongly considered taking Portugal as a slight favorite, but my fear of getting denounced as unpatriotic got the best of me. Plus, there’s a better route on the betting board to exercise the American Way for finding a great deal all the while staying contrarian.

Local sports books are forced to offer a higher than justified price on the under because just as many people are gambling on the over as are backing USA to pull the upset. Everyone wants to root for goals.

I’m just not sure they’re coming in Manaus, where players will be drenched and exhausted from the humidity before the game ever begins at 3 this afternoon.

The US offense was largely invisible in its first World Cup game, though two out of a paltry seven shots on goal somehow found the back of the net. And that was with Jozy Altidore getting to play a quarter of the match.

Partly expected to fill the vast void left by Altidore’s injury against Portugal is Clint Dempsey, who’s sporting a broken nose that’s making it difficult for him to breathe.

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo is also going to battle through injury with a couple of his offensive-threatening teammates out. Portugal’s attack was a wreck of its own in a 4-0 loss to Germany to start the World Cup.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard is the one reason USA should like its chances.

Standings: Bern (33-23-1, $12,479), Keefer (26-31, $8,374), Brewer (20-29-3, $4,525)

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

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