Americans Seem Confident the US Can Win World Cup. But Brazil Is Favorite.

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%

Sportsbook.com presents itself as "the largest sportsbook and casino on the planet, where millions of adult Americans bet on sports, play poker and enjoy blackjack and other casino games online in a regulated and licensed jurisdiction."

Named the "Best US Sports Book" by the industry’s top magazine, eGaming Review, Sportsbook.com has been leading the online gaming industry since 1996.

Sportsbook.com is the flagship brand for Sportingbet PLC, (LSE: SBT), the world’s leading publicly traded online gaming company. Sportingbet PLC, headquartered in London, England, has been voted number one in the industry for two years in a row by the authoritative eGaming Review Power 50 Survey.

Sportsbook: www.sportsbook.com

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