USA kick off their FIFA Women's World Cup campaign against Australia. Elsewhere, Sweden take on Nigeria, marking the start of Group D betting. Find out where the value soccer picks are to be had.
USA World Cup Faves
USA enter the competition as joint-faves with Germany on +300 soccer odds to win outright. Predictably, they are also Group D faves to clinch top spot at -300 soccer odds. Sweden emerge as the second favourites in Group D at +320 soccer odds while Australia and Nigeria are the group underdogs at +1100 and +4000 to win Group D, albeit some soccer bettors have African Women's Champions as the dangerous floaters in the group and competition proper as well.
Join us as we preview both Group D matchups and serve up our soccer picks for the day's soccer betting card.
USA -550 vs. Australia +1200; Draw +600
Odds makers corner the clash between the USA and Australia firmly in the former's camp on -550 soccer odds to win outright. However, Australia are no wilting flowers, making it to back-to-back quarterfinals at the last two world finals and recently finishing runners-up in the AFC Women's Asian Cup. Indeed, at whopping +1200 soccer odds they do seem to be rather severely undervalued on the World Cup odds board.
Australia can give USA a stern test in this opener. The pair have met just once before with the USA clinching the 4-1 victory, but that meeting was almost 20 years ago and is a moot point as far as the respective instalments are concerned.
USA are making their seventh appearance in the competition, one of a few nations to reach each and every world finals since the competition commenced in the women's game. They have two titles and are searching for their third title. Germany 2011 saw the USA upset in the final by Japan, a result they're keen to atone for in Canada.
If there were one criticism about the USA team it's that they aren't getting any younger. The core group is getting on in years and while they do have a brilliant forward in 25-year-old Alex Morgan, she hasn't played since April with a knee injury. While she may feature in tonight's game, there's no guarantee she'll be 100% fit. Another concern with the Stars and Stripes is recent patchy form: they weren't exactly on song at the start of 2014, finishing seventh in the Algrave Cup. Although they bounced back in the CONCACAF Women's Championship 2014 by winning the title behind a formidable showing (21 goals, 0 conceded), they struggled in friendly action to beat South Korea.
Australia are making their sixth appearance at the world finals. They finished runners-up to Japan in the Women's Asian Cup last year and reached the quarterfinals in Germany four years ago. They have high hopes and a lot of talent and while the odds makers aren't backing them to the win, they are backing themselves. And that' going to be pivotal against the competition faves. They've faced USA in three previous meetings since 2012, losing all three with a combined score of 12-3. Those results have to be taken with a measure of salt. The Matildas were young and developing then. They have come some way and matured on the international stage. They have a win over Netherlands to their credit (Cypress Women's Cup) as well as a 2-1 win over Brazil in friendly action. They are undefeated in 13 of their last 17 games.
The soccer betting market is way too lopsided with the Americans overrated and the Australians underrated. There's no joy in USA's whopping -550 soccer odds, so we're giving those a skip on our soccer picks. If you're leaning towards the upset on your soccer picks, the Matildas are a tempting soccer pick at +1200 to win outright. But it really is a long shot soccer pick. Safer option is to stick to the idea that the Aussies will give the Americans a real fight, making the handicap betting markets the sound choice. Australia at +2.0 is trading at +130 and at +3.0 at -188 at Bet365. Both teams to score at +100 is another attractive option for your soccer picks.
Australia +2 at +130 or +3 at -188;
Both teams to score YES at +100;
Small stake in Aussies to win at +1200 (don't go betting the farm on it)
Sweden -250 vs. Nigeria +650; Draw +360
Sweden and Nigeria strike an attractive pose on the World Cup odds board. Sweden are the firm -250 favourites but the competition's sleeper pick Nigeria are tempting +650 underdogs. These two sides have twice met at the world finals with Sweden taking the win in the first meeting and succumbing to a 1-1 draw in the second meeting. The Swedes are a very good team and one of the teams to spot in the race for the title. They beat the USA in group play in Germany 2011 en route to a third place finish and they come into this tournament undefeated in qualifying with a perfect 10-0 mark.
The Super Falcons are the best team in Africa and they could turn some heads in Canada, despite drawing the Group of Death. That said they Nigerians have a tendency to fall short of the mark at the world finals. In six appearances, they made it out of group action just once. Yet, something about this instalment of the Super Falcons harks back to the inspired Cameroon in the 1990 FIFA World Cup (men). They could emerge the Cinderella's of this tournament. The team is young, electric, enthusiastic and vibrant. The soccer odds are stacked heavily against them, but they might just surprise. Mark these words.
Nigeria +1 (+200);
Both teams to score YES -120