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1 favorite, 1 sleeper, 1 overvalued favorite for the Women’s World Cup knockout stage

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The USWNT is a heavy favorite to win the 2019 World Cup, but there are some intriguing sleeper options as well. We break down the best and worst bets to win it all heading into the Round of 16.

Sweden v USA: Group F - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

The Women’s World Cup wrapped up the group stage Thursday, and the Round of 16 is set. Germany and Nigeria have the first knockout match on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET, and the United States faces Spain on Monday at 12 p.m. ET.

Favorites make up most of the 16 teams who made it to the knockout stage. World Cup odds first opened on Dec. 9, 2018, and 14 of the 15 teams with the best odds advanced. Scotland, South Korea, and New Zealand all sat at 60-1 and failed to advance. The biggest surprises are Nigeria and Cameroon, who opened tied for the second worst odds at 250-1.

Favorite

The United States has been the favorite throughout, and their odds only improved over the course of the group stage. They opened with a 13-0 thumping of Thailand, and followed that with a 3-0 win over Chile and a 2-0 win over Sweden to secure first place in their group.

The USWNT opened as 2-1 favorites to win the World Cup, and now sit at even money. There are two potential concerns at this point. The first is injury. Julie Ertz sat out the Sweden match due to a hip contusion, and Alex Morgan left Thursday’s match due to “a knock.” Ertz’s absence and Morgan’s removal are both being described as precautionary. The USWNT does not play Spain until Monday, so that will be something to track.

The second concern would be the USWNT’s schedule in the knockout stage. Spain is a sizable underdog, but is no pushover. Assuming favorite’s advance, the USWNT would face France in the quarterfinals and England in the semifinals. They represent what are currently the second (7-2) and fourth best odds (9-1) to win the World Cup, respectively. The USWNT would be favored in those games, but it is a tougher gauntlet than the opposite side of the bracket faces.

Sleeper

A quality sleeper in a single elimination tournament is as much about circumstances as talent. Canada sits at 25-1 to win the World Cup, but their path to the finals offers some hope. They are slim favorites against Sweden, and then potentially would face Germany in the quarterfinals.

The German team has the third best odds (7-1) to win the World Cup, but they lost star midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan to a broken toe during their group stage win over Spain. SB Nation soccer analyst Kim McCauley ranked Marozsan the fifth best player in the 2019 World Cup, and described her as the most skilled midfield playmaker in the world.

Canada also benefits from two favorites ahead of them, Japan and the Netherlands, squaring off in the Round of 16. They would likely still need to beat one of the USWNT, France, or England in the championship game, but they face less significant tests along the way than any of those three teams. It’s not ideal, but their side of the bracket offers at least a little bit of hope.

Overvalued favorite

Any team with decent odds on the USWNT’s side of the bracket is automatically going to be overvalued at this point. England (9-1) would only face one of the USWNT and France, while France (7-2) is stuck with the toughest gauntlet.

France opens as a heavy favorite against Brazil, but they still have to contend with Marta. She is no longer the best player in the world, but remains one of the top attacking players in the world. When it comes to single elimination, a great player can be the difference.

However, if France beats Brazil, they would then face the USWNT in the quarterfinals. Upsets happen, but they would be a heavy underdog in the matchup. If they managed to spring a monumental upset in the quarterfinals, they would potentially face a strong England squad in the semifinals. It would be less of a challenge than facing the USWNT, but difficult nonetheless.

All of this adds up to a team you probably do not want to bet on at this point. If you were getting longer odds than 7-2, maybe it would be worth some speculation, but at the current price there is no value.

Here are your updated odds for the remaining 16 teams.

USA: Even
France: 7-2
Germany: 7-1
England: 9-1
Netherlands: 14-1
Australia: 20-1
Canada: 25-1
Italy: 30-1
Japan: 30-1
Sweden: 40-1
Norway: 50-1
Spain: 60-1
Brazil: 80-1
China: 100-1
Nigeria: 100-1
Cameroon: 300-1