The FIFA Women's World Cup enters the semi-finals and we have a pair of scintillating clashes on the books. In this column, we cast our eye on the clash between the top two favorites: Germany vs. USA.
Outright Win Betting
As we approach the semis, Germany maintains their place at the top of the pecking order. The team to beat at +138 soccer odds. Since the tournament began, their soccer odds have been steadily shortening, a testament to their solid progress through the group stage and assuredness in the knockouts as well.
USA entered pre-tournament winner markets as joint faves with Germany at +300 to win outright, but since getting their campaign underway they took a backseat to Germany. USA are currently matched as the +200 soccer pick to win it all.
A Matchup Befitting of A Final
By all accounts, this is a matchup that benefits a final of such a prestigious tournament. Two of the best teams in the game, not least of all the top two favorites from the start, battling it out on the luscious (artificial) grass at the 2015 world finals in Canada. It's a shame that the tournament serves up such a matchup in the semis – no disrespect to the defending champions Japan or the plucky English ladies, both of which are through to the semis and sure to serve up a thrilling showdown for a spot in the finals. That's just the way the ball rolls. Fortunately, soccer bettors will not have to bid farewell to any of these teams as the losers in each semi-final will get a crack at a third-place finish. Small consolation though that might be for them.
USA vs. Germany Betting Markets and Picks
Predictably, Germany enters the semi-finals as the favorites, but only notionally so at +163 soccer odds over USA priced at +170 soccer odds. The tight soccer betting outlook is an appropriate reflection of the quality and depth of both teams, as well as their undeniable pedigree in the competition. The pair claim two world titles and come into this tournament as the top-ranked teams.
It's a market that is also driven largely by public perception, which although split somewhat down the middle is encouraged along by just about every American publication that is parading its editorial wares in patriotic fashion online. The upshot of which is that there's a significant chunk of bettors that are backing the Stars and Stripes to edge Germany, with the most common soccer pick leaning towards a 2-1 score that can be backed at +900 soccer odds.
The idea behind a USA win is underscored by the return of Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe from suspension. Sitting out the quarterfinals, the pair should be well rested and raring to go against Germany. Another aspect that supports a USA win is their defence, which hasn't allowed a goal since conceding to Australia in the opening game of group play.
Both of these arguments are very plausible indeed, but it's worth considering the quality of opposition the USA faced since their opening couple of games. Not to take anything away from the Americans, but expectations did run higher than 1-0 wins over Nigeria, Colombia and China.
That conservative offense may have been enough to do the job against that triplet, but it's quite possible that it won't do the trick against a German outfit that can turn it up a notch on the offensive side of the ball.
In group play, Germany not only went undefeated in a 2-1-0 account but they also fired at all cylinders to net 15 goals and concede just 1. In the knockouts, they added another five goals and conceded just two more for an improved total of 20 goals and three conceded. (In the R16, they edged a very respectable Sweden 4-1. Then, in the quarterfinals, they edged France on penalties after a come-from-behind 1-1 draw sent the game into extra time.)
What's more, in the knockouts, Germany have had the much tougher path and stiffer opponents to deal with in order to reach the semis with Sweden and France standing in their path. Having faced such quality teams should stand them in good stead against another stiff opponent in USA.
Soccer Betting Verdict:
On the strength of the respective accounts of both teams from the start of the tournament, there's certainly value on both sides of the coin for your soccer picks. For our money, however, it's hard to argue against Germany winning this game.
The Americans have been flying by the seat of their pants, winning each and every game by a narrow 1-0 score, while the Germans have been rounding out into solid form. Granted France proved tougher to overcome by Germany in the quarterfinals. Then again, Les Bleus were the third overall favorites in the competition to begin with, so they were bound to be tough to beat. The outcome of the game should have been expected. More importantly, however, to have grinded that game out must do wonders for their confidence. It's a small margin, but we're tipping this game in favor of Germany at +163 soccer odds.
Soccer Picks: Germany +163