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U.S. Favored for WWC 3-Peat

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will kick off on Thursday with Australia and New Zealand both playing, but the host countries aren’t considered strong threats to prevent the United States from claiming a third consecutive WWC.

The U.S. has rebounded from a three-match skid against strong European competition last fall and will begin the competition on a nine-match winning streak. The Americans have held onto their No. 1 spot in the FIFA World Rankings, and are +225 favorites at BetMGM to win this year’s WWC.

The U.S. is also the book’s biggest liability, easily leading the 32-team field with 56.8 percent of the total bets and 77.4 percent of the money backing it to win the title. However, it certainly will be no cakewalk and the U.S. could find a significant challenge in its own group from the Netherlands, which reached the 2019 finals. However, the Netherlands is still a +2500 longshot at BetMGM, in part due to being grouped with the U.S. The two are scheduled to play their group match on July 26. The second-shortest odds belong to England, which has moved from +450 to +400 while drawing 8.9 and 4.6 percent of the action respectively. England is the book’s third biggest liability behind Canada, which has drawn 2.9 percent of the money at +3300 longshot odds.

Spain (+550) and Germany (+700) are the other two teams with odds shorter than +1000. While Spain has been modestly supported with 3.6 percent of the total bets, Germany has drawn 4.6 percent. This is the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup, and the first time it will be jointly hosted by two countries. It’s also the first playing of the tournament since the field was expanded from 24 teams. Among the countries making their first appearance will be Portugal, which has a relatively storied history in the men’s game. And among the players who will be making their final WWC appearances is longtime U.S. star Megan Rapinoe. As she prepares to step away from the professional game, Sophia Smith is among the players the U.S. will be looking toward among a host of emerging young stars.

While established star Alex Morgan is the +450 favorite at BetMGM to be the tournament’s top goal-scorer, Smith is not far behind at +650. Smith has 10 goals in 13 appearances for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns this season, contributing to her odds shortening from +900 while she has been backed by 3.4 percent of the prop bets and 3.7 percent of the money.

The book’s biggest liability is Barbra Banda, Zambia’s star striker who plays professionally in China. She has been backed by a lopsided 69.0 percent of the bets and 75.7 percent of the money wagered on the WWC’s top goal-scorer. The second biggest liability is Germany’s Alexandra Popp, who has drawn 5.2 and 5.4 percent of the action, respectively. Being the top goal-scorer in any World Cup typically requires a fairly deep run by the player’s team.

The 2023 WWC final will take place on Aug. 20 at Sydney Olympic Stadium. –Field Level Media


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