USA and China PR collide in what appears to be a lopsided clash on the Women's World Cup odds board. Do the odds makers have it right? Or can China PR spring a surprise? Find out how we will bet.
China PR Dangerous Floaters
The Steel Roses have unassumingly gone about their business in the tournament, quite literally sneaking into the quarterfinals without so much of the spotlight shining on them as a likely contender for the title. Dubbed as the outsiders in the knockouts, they are matched as the quintessential long shots at +6600 to win it all. It's interesting to note that those soccer odds haven't changed since odds makers went to press with pre-tournament World Cup odds to win outright.
That the Steel Roses are the tournament's biggest underdogs is underscored by their imminent clash with the USA, second favourites in the competition, currently trading at +225 soccer odds to win outright. According to venerable bookmakers, even China has to share in the realism of their chances in this competition.
In any event, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain with a quarterfinal clash against the USA. In reaching the quarterfinals, they've shown they are worthy competitors in the 24-strong field at the world finals and it wouldn't do to take them lightly, even if the odds makers are practically writing them off.
China PR emerged from Group A in second place. While they started the tournament on a 1-0 defeat to hosts Canada, they bounced back with an impressive 1-0 win over Netherlands. While New Zealand threw a spanner in the works with a 2-2 draw in round 3 of Group A action, the 1-1-1 mark and four points they'd collected were enough to secure them a spot in the R16.
Taking on Cameroon in the first round of the knockouts, the Chinese came through on their slightly favourable -105 soccer odds in a narrow 1-0 win. Indeed, the Steel Roses didn't have it easy against the plucky African side, although they got on the board quite early in the game with a 12th minute strike from an opportunistic Wang Shanshan.
USA Unimpressive But Unrelenting
To say that the Stars and Stripes have impressed in this competition would be a gross misrepresentation. Nevertheless, they are through to the quarterfinals and have a chance to go one step further in the competition with a win over China PR.
USA won Group D, the so-called Group of Death, by going undefeated through three rounds. They opened their campaign with a 3-1 win over Australia but hit a snag in the second round with a scoreless draw to Sweden. In the last lap of Group D, they asserted control over their section with a 1-0 win over Nigeria.
Going into the knockouts the Americans remained one of the top favourites to win it all, however they'd drifted from joint-top faves with Germany to second favourites. That measure hasn't changed since a 2-0 win over Colombia in the R16 saw them advance into the quarterfinals.
Considering the Americans were matched as the -700 favourites to overcome Colombia at +1600, the 2-0 win hardly did the overwhelming soccer betting market justice. What's more, Colombia had their solid goaltender ejected from the match early in the second half, which swung the tide in US' favour. Both goals came in the second half after Catalina Perez was sent off and third-choice Stefany Castano took over the post (first -choice Sandra Sepulvado was already suspended).
All in all, the Americans were lucky to survive the Colombian test in the R16, albeit they didn't do so unscathed as Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday both picked up yellow cards and are slated to miss the quarterfinal with China. What's most concerning for the Americans is their uninspired offense and midfield play. They've struggled through the competition to score and since their opening 3-1 win over Australia, they've only managed three goals in three games. That's not going to cut it against a Chinese outfit that plays lovely free-flowing football and appears lethal on the counter attack.
Soccer Betting Verdict
It's quite possible that the Americans can get by China with another offensively questionable account to live another day in the world finals. But such form isn't going to stand them in good stead if they want to win it all, especially against the likes of Germany or France or, even, the defending champions Japan (should any of these teams emerge to challenge the Stars and Stripes in the next couple of rounds).
For the time being, though, USA at -275 soccer odds to win outright seems rather overpriced for our tastes, particularly when we're not even convinced they are the best soccer pick. There are those soccer fans that expect USA to get it finally together in the quarterfinals, a notion that is encouraged along by what appears to be an inaccurate assessment of China PR on the Women's World Cup odds board and in soccer betting circles as well. In fact, the Steel Roses loom more threatening than their soccer odds would suggest they are at +800. If the Steel Roses can capitalise on USA's tired midfield, they really can spring the surprise
Soccer Picks: China +800 at Bet365