2014 World Cup Betting: USA vs. Portugal Picks & Odds

Nila Amerova

Friday, June 20, 2014 4:11 PM GMT

Friday, Jun. 20, 2014 4:11 PM GMT

After an impressive opener against Ghana, USA can all but assure a spot in the R16 with a victory over Portugal still smarting from a 4-0 spanking by Germany. Will the USA rise to the occasion or will Portugal rescue their campaign? Find out as we weigh in on the World Cup betting odds already in full swing.

USA can win
Buoyed by their win over Ghana, which snapped a two-game losing streak to the Black Stars, USA should enter this match brimming with confidence. That Portugal are still reeling from a 4-0 thumping by Germany, which thrusts their World Cup bid into turmoil, should only add to USA’s confidence. Portugal may well be ripe for the taking.

It helps USA’s chances that they are second in the table (level with Germany on three points but behind with a +1 goal differential). The R16 within touching distance – a feat all but surely accomplished with a win over Portugal – poses as an intangible incentive for a team that prides itself on its never-say-die attitude. You can back USA at +100 to simply qualify into the knockouts.


Portugal can win
Portugal are ‘Group of Death’ masters, and it wouldn’t be the first time they pulled a Houdini to advance into the knockouts. First of all, though, A Selecção must forget about the 4-0 defeat to Germany, and quickly if they hope to enjoy an enduring campaign in Brazil. All in all, it was an unmemorable night and performance by Cristiano Ronaldo et all. There’s absolutely nothing positive to say about that performance. So we won’t dwell on it.

The pressing issue for Coach Bento is going to be to sort out a new starting XI. Portugal didn’t go entirely unscathed – Pepe took a daft red card (head butt heard around the world), while striker Hugo Almeida and defender Fabio Coentrao suffered injuries. It remains to be seen what shuffling he’s got in mind. Losing Almeida means, however, that the brunt of the responsibility on attack will fall onto Ronaldo’s shoulders. He’s the best player on the planet, so the right man for the job. But, he’ll need to put in a much better performance than his subdued account against Germany, which is prompting many to wonder whether the Real Madrid striker is 100% fit as he claims he is.  You can back Portugal at +100 to simply qualify into the knockouts.


USA vs. Portugal Match Betting Tips
Both USA and Portugal are tipped equally at +100 to simply qualify. What’s more, USA are matched at shorter +800 odds to win Group G while Portual are matched at +2000 to do the same. Yet, the conspicuous edge USA has over Portugal in both markets doesn’t extend to the match betting markets on their upcoming clash. In fact, USA are listed as the significant underdogs, matched at +375 to beat Portugal matched at firm -125 odds to win outright. Such a striking contradiction to the aforementioned futures market begs one question: what gives?

Well, to begin with the balance of both teams tips the scale towards Portugal, obviously; hence their fancied match odds. Just the star quality of some of its members, namely Cristiano Ronaldo, casts a shadow over USA. But didn’t Germany’s demolition of Portugal say much about the many issues that plague A Selecção. It certainly rendered Portugal’s defence issues quite abominable and, at the same time, neutralised Ronaldo so effectively that a case about the team’s whole being only as good as Ronaldo is on any given day can be made.

USA lost two key players as well in their opener—striker Jozy Altidore and defender Matt Belser (hamstring injuries) can go some way towards explaining USA’s disadvantage.  The pair’s absence is expected to have an impact, although, arguably, the loss of the former rather than the latter is the more serious.  Without Belser (left match early), USA managed to defend well and stave off Ghana’s physical attack successfully. Altidore, however, presents a much bigger problem for Klinsmann because he simply doesn’t have another striker of similar quality and skill to replace Altidore with in his starting XI. Perhaps, then the absence of Altidore on attack, a quality striker that can capitalise on Portugal’s glaring defensive issues, is the reason why odds makers aren’t buying what USA are selling.


World Cup Betting Verdict
If you are an orthodox World Cup bettor, betting on Portugal will make more sense to you on your World Cup picks. The defeat to Germany can easily be dismissed to a bad day in the office. Clearly, odds makers think so too, as they expect Portugal to deliver on their perceived potential at -125.

What you should be asking is whether Ronaldo really is 100% fit? Because without Ronaldo at full tilt, USA’s defence should be able to fend off Portugal, mark these words. Defence after all wins games. If you agree, then USA’s lacking (maybe not) punch up front might not be such a huge deal. Perhaps, even, without Altidore, USA can exploit the holes Germany exposed in Portugal’s defence. Keep in mind, Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal at this World Cup already. USA certainly will fancy their chances even if odds makers don’t, and – let’s face it – the football fan in all of us loves a good Cinderella story. USA to win outright at +375 could prove the savvy World Cup pick. Call us eternal optimists, but we like the ring of it. Why not, this World Cup has been doing everything but falling in line with market expectations.
World Cup Picks: USA To win outright at +375; 2-1 or 3-2 at  +1400 and +4000, respectively.

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