Women’s World Cup Quarterfinals: Is There a Dark Horse Left in the Field?

As the Women’s World Cup draws closer and closer to its finale, is there anyone besides the favorites that still has a realistic chance of victory?

After its 2-1 victory over the Spanish national team, the women in red, white, and blue successfully drove home another winning goal to survive against their toughest contest yet. Team USA has cemented itself as the team to beat, and after its ensuing destruction of Thailand, the women’s team went on to outscore its opponent at a 19-1 margin — the best in the entire tournament.

As it presently stands, Team USA is a +160 dog to win the whole thing, making it the team with the best implied odds at about 38 percent. The next closest team would be France at +450 or an 18 percent implied probability of victory.

So it raises the question: Is there a true dark horse left in this field?

Don’t Overthink This

In sports betting, there is a common rule that it’s best to fade the big favorites. Only squares and know-nothings go with big-time favorites, and if you want to win long term, it’s important to fade the public. While this sentiment is certainly very true in many situations, it is not the secret to winning at sports betting.

In reality, there are times where the sharps are going to get smoked on games, and the public is going to do very well. This is no doubt present in the Women’s World Cup, where blindly betting on the USA against the goal-line would have you up 3-1 depending on your CLV (closing line value), risk, and whether or not you were staking the same amount each and every time.

But what happens many times, as with this tournament, is sharps will assume there is a dark horse that is being undervalued, but in all frankness, this WWC has hardly shown that to be the case. While there are teams aside from the USA that have performed well, such as the Lionesses of England or the Swedes, there is no doubt that Team USA is so far and above the competition by leaps and bounds that it is very apparent based on its recent performances against Sweden and Spain alone.

Both teams were able to give the USA the toughest tests it has faced thus far, but offensively, these teams have struggled to threaten the USA. While Spain gave them a scare, it was merely an equalizer that was irrelevant as the USA was able to score a late goal in the 76th minute. So true dark horse? Not really, but there are two teams with value going forward that aren’t totally absurd to consider betting on against the USA.

England, France, and Germany

Other than the USA, the English, German, and French ladies are the women to beat in this tournament. The Lionesses have been ferocious, and while they are not outscoring teams at the same rate as the USA, they have held their opponents to a combined total of one goal, which came in their first match against rival Scotland.

The Germans have shut out every opponent they’ve faced and also held Spain to a scoreless 1-0 victory in their second match of the tournament. While they are heavily favored over Sweden, the Swedes are also a solid outfit in their own right but are likely overmatched in this contest.

Rounding out the trio, the French are Team USA’s next opponent, making them the team to beat if they can pull off the upset. Presently, in this contest, the French have about a 45 percent chance to advance over the USA. Outside of a “public is on USA” angle, I just don’t see value here. If you were getting +200 or +250, I could maybe see a play, but you may very well be better served betting a highly superior team in Team USA. The other angle is that the match is a “home” game for the French, which is really not much to factor in as in these tournaments, home-field advantage is largely irrelevant.

Don’t overthink this. There are no “true” dark horses in this tournament. Team USA cruises to a victory and will inevitably hoist the cup when it wins this whole thing.