At practically every sportsbook we've checked, Belgium is favored in the -110 to -120 range. The USA is available for action at +375, though there's still a lot of time for the lines to shift, with kickoff set for Tuesday at 4:00 PM EST.
It was widely expected that Belgium would finish at the summit of a watered down Group H and they did just that.
In the group stages, the Belgians won all three matches, topping Algeria (2-1), Russia (1-0) and South Korea (1-0) to grab the full allotment of nine points.
As you can tell, Belgium has looked strong defensively, which is no surprise with Vincent Kompany in the heart of the back-line. He's been joined by Daniel Van Buyten, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Nicolas Lombaerts and Anthony Vanden Borre as defenders who have already contributed in the World Cup so far.
We haven't exactly seen dominating attacking displays out of Belgium though, which they'll hope to change against the Americans.
There's no doubt the quality is there. This team's so stacked that they just handed the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Adnan Januzaj their first starts of the tournament in the final group stage match against the Koreans. You have to figure Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel, just to name a few, will return to the starting XI on Tuesday.
Not many gave the Americans a chance of advancing out of a tough Group G, but a great opening win over Ghana (2-1) and a strong performance against Portugal (2-2) was all Jurgen Klinsmann's men needed to secure advancement.
To wrap up their group stage campaign, the USA competed hard in a 1-0 loss to a clearly superior Germany outfit. They had a few legitimate chances, but for the most part it was all one-way traffic for the Germans.
After doing enough to advance, the Americans will fancy their chances as one of the biggest underdogs remaining in the competition.
We saw a couple personnel changes against Germany, with Klinsmann replacing Geoff Cameron with Omar Gonzalez and then opting to start Brad Davis over Alejandro Bedoya. Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones did well as the holding midfielders, but the attacking four, including Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, were very quiet in the loss.
You'll have to keep tracking Jozy Altidore to find out his status. He hasn't played since straining his hamstring against Ghana and there's an outside chance he'll be available for Belgium. The Americans could certainly use his hold-up play up front against an imposing defensive front.
World Cup Pick
If we go strictly by talent, it's no contest. The Belgians have an incredible amount of young talent, starting in the back with Courtois and extending all over the pitch.
However, we've learned not to discount unity and pure grit in this World Cup and that's something the Americans have shown a large amount of so far. They're working extremely hard for one another and the results have paid off.
We think there's a chance Belgium is over-valued as a World Cup betting pick, as we
weren't overly impressed with their showings in the group stages. They were
fortunate to have one of the easier draws in the tournament. With that said,
we'll take a small chance on the underdogs, who have already dealt with some of
the best competition in the world.
Pick: Belgium 1 USA 2