Women’s World Cup Soccer Preview: USA to justify favoritism

Christie RamponeFor the next month all eyes will be on Canada for the 2015 Women’s Soccer World Cup, the seventh ever held by FIFA (June 6th – July 5th).

This will be the biggest cup to date, with the field expanded from 16 to 24 teams. It will feature six groups representing six qualifying regions with eight countries making their world cup debuts. Current odds have the United States (3/1) favored narrowly over Germany (10/3). Rounding out the top six are Brazil (7/1), 2011 defending champion Japan (8/1) and Sweden (10/1), who is in the same Group D as the U.S and the host nation, Canada (12/1).

Group A: Canada, China, Netherlands, New Zealand

Group A has the second-highest combined FIFA points score, namely because all four teams are in the top 20 rankings. It is likely to be the second most difficult group to advance from. Host nation Canada, as the eighth best team in the world, is favored to win but all four teams have played aggressively as of late and could prove troublesome.

Whoever advances will do so knowing that they earned their spot in the next round, a confidence booster that could make for some surprising upsets after group play.

Our pick to win: Canada (-275 with Bovada)
Our picks to advance: Canada, China

Group B: Germany, Norway, Ivory Coast, Thailand

Of the top teams, Germany has the easiest road to win their group. They have the worst ranked Ivory Coast (64) and 30th ranked Thailand. Both of those countries are inexperienced and making their World Cup debuts. Not to mention, Germany has won two of the last three world cups and looks to have the team this year that could get back to the top.

Our pick to win: Germany (-1000 with Bovada)
Our picks to advance: Germany, Norway

Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Ecuador, Cameroon

Just like Group B, Group C features two teams in the top 20 that should easily advance and two others in 49th ranked Ecuador and 51st ranked Cameroon. This is the weakest group for defending champion Japan and they should win it pretty easily. They are ranked third in the world and their technical level of play looks to be too much for low-end qualifiers. Switzerland, ranked 20, is the safe pick to advance as well.

Our pick to win: Japan (-800 with Bovada)
Our picks to advance: Japan, Switzerland

Group D: USA, Sweden, Australia, Nigeria

Named the Group of Death, because it is the only group that boasts three teams in FIFA’s top 10 rankings, the top ranked US women will be tested from the start.

Defender Christie Rampone (pictured), making her fifth appearance in the World Cup finals, captains the USA team. America is favored to win the group but by no means does this assure anything. Sweden after all, did defeat USA in a contest back in the 2011 World Cup. They are also now being led by former US head coach Pia Sundhage. These two teams are favored to advance from the group, but the athletic Australia and young Nigeria should not be overlooked. Doing so could prove dangerous for the two favorites.

Our pick to win: USA (-300 with Bovada)
Our picks to advance:
USA, Sweden

Group E: Brazil, Spain, South Korea, Costa Rica

Brazil seems to have a relatively easy road out of group play. As the sixth ranked team, Brazil faces competition from 16th ranked Spain, making their first appearance, 17th ranked South Korea and 40th ranked Costa Rica. Outside of Brazil, it’s anyone’s guess which team might advance as all three have had moments of brilliance as of late. South Korea does seem like the safe bet, but Spain is led by one of 2014’s player of the year nominees. If they get hot, they will be tough to beat.

Our pick to win: Brazil (-400 with Bovada)
Our picks to advance: Brazil, Spain

Group F: France, England, Mexico, Columbia

Outside of Group D, Group F is probably the most intriguing. It features fourth ranked France and seventh ranked England as the favorites, as well as South American hopefuls in 25th ranked Mexico and 31st ranked Columbia. These four combine to make Group F the third highest in terms of FIFA ranked score.

France is a dark horse to win the whole thing, currently listed with third best odds of 7/1. The team is technically precise, physical and fast, a deadly combination for their opponents. England has also been improving as of late and will look to advance out of the group as well. They should do so easily as Mexico has lost much of its momentum and hasn’t looked good as of late.

Our pick to win: France (-150 with Bovada)
Our picks to advance: France, England

Women’s World Cup Betting Picks Verdict

Our advice is to bet the favorites in advancing from group play. Ordinarily this strategy is flawed but the women’s field still very much belongs to the same seven or eight teams it has for years. It is a big deal and a good symbol of growth that the field of play has expanded but many of these teams are just getting their feet wet against the tough international competition of the World Cup.

As far as group winners, it looks like the odds-on favorites are the best bets as well. Canada as host nation in Group A will benefit from home field advantage, Germany in Group B is clearly the best team and one of the best in the tournament, Japan as defending champions have an easy road in Group C, the USA of course, make Group D dangerous and should have no trouble advancing with the win. Brazil is the best in a weak Group E and France in Group F has really emerged as of late.

  • Any of these six teams could win it all but my early money is on a USA/Japan rematch or USA/Germany collision. Either way, look for the US to get the retribution they have been after since 2011’s loss on penalty kicks. Take the US, at best odds of 3/1 with 5Dimes Sportsbook (but as low as 2/1 with Bovada) to win their third World Cup.