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February 17, 2019

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Wagering on Women’s World Cup is light, mostly on United States

United States Women's National Team

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

The U.S. women’s national team takes a group photo during a friendly match against Mexico, on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at StubHub Center, in Carson, Calif. The U.S. won 5-1.

Bettors in Nevada are wagering on the United States to become the first nation to win the Women's World Cup three times, taking 2-to-1 (every $1 pays $2) odds on the red, white and blue in the tournament beginning Saturday.

At William Hill U.S., 74 percent of future money wagered has been on the Americans. The handle, though, has been relatively small with less than $10,000 wagered.

The second most bet on team is Germany, who is currently plus-320 (risking $1 to win $3.20) to win it all, and has received 7 percent of the money.

It’s easy to see why people are confident in the U.S., other than the obvious display of patriotism. It has been ranked in the top two of FIFA’s world rankings for 12 years straight, and has never finished a World Cup lower than third place.

Since March 12, 2014, the U.S. has won 20 international matches to only six draws and two losses, and in the final five matches leading up to the World Cup, they outscored their opponents a combined 14-1.

They open Monday against Australia, where they are minus-600 favorites (risking $6 to win $1) on a three-way bet. You can also bet on a tie, which is plus-675. Australia is plus-1410.

But U.S. backers shouldn’t be ready to cash their future bets in just yet. They will first have to escape the "group of death," which consists of Sweden, Australia and Nigeria. The teams have an average FIFA ranking of 12.5 — the highest of any group in the tournament. It is also the only group with three top 10 teams.

Japan, the defending champion, has a much easier road to the knockout stage. It will face teams with an average FIFA ranking of 40, and are 7-to-1 (risk 1$ to win $7) to win it all.

Four years ago, Japan claimed the crown with a win over the U.S. in the final, despite opening the tournament with little hope at a title. This year, several dark-horse teams will be looking to replicate that miracle run.

France, who handed the U.S. its only loss this year on Feb. 8, is a 6-to-1 (risk $1 to win $6) to win it all, while Norway, who is one of only four teams to have won the event, is 30-to-1 (risk $1 to win $30) long shots.

The handle has been significantly less than the men’s World Cup two years ago.

“With the men it didn’t matter what game we booked — people were betting it and betting it hard,” said Nick Bogdanovich, the William Hill U.S. Director of Trading. “With the women’s game there isn’t a ton of history there, so we aren’t expecting a lot out of it.”

They expect a small spike on individual game wagering once the tournament starts Saturday with tournament host Canada taking on China. It will be the first Women’s World Cup with live in-game wagering available, which could boost numbers.

“People aren’t familiar with the women like they are the men, because they can’t follow them throughout the year on club teams,” he said. “But that’s why in-play is so beautiful. Even if you don’t have an opinion before the game, you can form an opinion after watching some of it, and then place a bet.”

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