There is no question that over the past 15 years the US men’s national soccer team has made tremendous strides, culminating with a place in the quarterfinal of the 2002 World Cup and a lofty top ten FIFA ranking.
However, few outside of the US will argue that the Americans remain at the lower end of the global soccer totem pole. That has not stopped American fans from wagering on the boys in blue to win their first ever World Cup in Germany this summer.
Since Sportsbook.com opened betting on the event last November, 19.3 per cent of total wagers have been placed on the US to capture the trophy.
The only team more heavily bet on is favorite Brazil, with 23.4 per cent of total bets placed on them to capture their unprecedented sixth World Cup. The rest of the field, in bettors’ minds, is no where to be found with the next closest team, hosts Germany, capturing just 9.3 per cent of the bets.
"I don’t know if the US fans are just hoping for a huge payout or if they really think the Americans have a chance, but the betting volume proves one thing – soccer has obviously become a very popular sport in this country and one that Americans are very passionate about," said Alex Czajkowski from Sportsbook.com.
"The World Cup is the most watched event in the world and everybody bets on the outcome."
The US opened as a 90-1 underdog to win the 2006 World Cup but now sits at 35-1, the 11th best odds in the field. The traditional powerhouses still line the top of the odds chart with Brazil at 3-1 followed by Argentina (13-2), England (7-1), Germany (8-1), Holland (9-1), Italy (9-1) and France (10-1).
Bettors also believe the US will win its first round group – one they share with Italy, the Czech Republic and Ghana. An overwhelming 83.5 per cent of bettors have backed the US. Perhaps just as surprising, the Czech Republic has received more backing (9.4 per cent) than Italy (5.6 per cent). Only 1.5 per cent of bettors pick Ghana to win the group.
The US will be appearing in its fifth straight World Cup. They have historically performed poorly when the event has been held on European soil, bowing out in the opening group stage in Italy in 1990 and in France in 1998.
In both those tournaments the Americans lost all three games of the group stage, including a famous 5-1 drubbing by Czechoslovakia in 1990 and a politically charged 2-1 loss to Iran in 1998.
They reached the second round when the event was played in the United States in 1994, losing to eventual champions Brazil, and surprised many when they reached the quarterfinal in Japan and South Korea in 2002, a feat that included a shocking 2-0 upset over arch-rivals Mexico in the second round.
Who will win the 2006 World Cup?
Team Odds Percentage of Total Wagers Received
Brazil 3-1 23.4%
Argentina 13-2 4.3%
England 7-1 8.2%
Germany 8-1 9.3%
Holland 8-1 6.5%
Italy 9-1 5.4%
France 10-1 1.0%
Spain 16-1 2.3%
Portugal 20-1 3.3%
Czech Republic 25-1 2.7%
USA 35-1 19.3%
Sweden 40-1 0.9%
Mexico 50-1 5.5%
Ukraine 50-1 0.3%
Serbia & Montenegro 60-1 0.1%
Croatia 65-1 0.9%
Ivory Coast 80-1 0.2%
Poland 80-1 0.2%
Paraguay 90-1 0.1%
Switzerland 100-1 0.2%
Japan 150-1 0.1%
Australia 200-1 0.8%
Ecuador 200-1 0.5%
Angola 250-1 0.1%
Ghana 250-1 0.4%
South Korea 250-1 2.8%
Togo 300-1 0.0%
Tunisia 350-1 0.1%
Costa Rica 500-1 0.5%
Iran 500-1 0.2%
Saudi Arabia 750-1 0.1%
Trinidad & Tobago 1,000-1 0.5%
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