FIFA Women's World Cup
USWNT vs. Sweden betting recap: USA loss hurts futures bettors
FIFA Women's World Cup

USWNT vs. Sweden betting recap: USA loss hurts futures bettors

Updated Aug. 6, 2023 10:57 a.m. ET

Based on Women’s World Cup odds, Team USA’s opening match in the Knockout Stage was expected to be its toughest by far, and the contest met those expectations. Unfortunately, the two-time defending World Cup champion and pre-tournament favorite couldn’t meet its expectations, falling to Sweden in excruciating fashion.

The match was scoreless throughout and went all the way to penalty kicks – seven rounds of PKs, in fact – on which Sweden won 5-4. That was not the outcome American sportsbooks wanted for multiple reasons.

WynnBet trader Dominick DeBonis helps break down the ups and downs of World Cup betting on an exhilarating round-of-16 match.

Let's dissect all the betting action from the big match.


Three-Way, Two-Way, Any Way

Sweden’s winning goal on penalty kicks was literally good by an inch or so, at best. U.S. goalie Alyssa Naeher initially deflected Lina Hurtig’s shot, then had to dive to deflect the ball once more, seemingly making the save. But before Naeher made the second deflection – as replay showed – the ball barely cleared the goal line, ending the Americans’ tournament.

Before Sunday’s match, money leaned toward Sweden in both the three-way moneyline – either side to win or the match tied after 90 minutes plus injury time – and the two-way To Advance market.

The three-way result was great for U.S. sportsbooks, no question. Pregame, the odds were at USA +126/Sweden +253/Draw +210, with Draw the most lightly bet, per usual in such a match.

"The three-way result with the game going to extra time was the best result we could’ve had today," DeBonis said. "Sweden was the side they bet in the lead-up, with the U.S. money coming in the evening Saturday."

However, bettors beat the bookmakers in the To-Advance market. The USWNT closed as a -176 favorite and Sweden a +137 underdog, with the Swedish side ultimately paying off for bettors.

"Sweden got the most money on the To Advance market, so the U.S. in extra time was the ideal house scenario," DeBonis said.

Penalty Killer

Instead, the match went all the way through 30 minutes of extra time and was still scoreless. The U.S. Women’s National Team created plenty of chances in regulation and overtime but couldn’t find the back of the net.

And the U.S. had great opportunities on penalty kicks. Team USA led 3-2 when Sweden missed its third-round shot, but long-time American star Megan Rapinoe’s shot sailed over the goal in the fourth round. However, Sweden followed with another miss, meaning a fifth-round goal would give Team USA a 4-2 PK victory and a spot in the quarterfinals.

But Sophia Smith sent her effort wide right, keeping the Swedes alive. Sweden tied it at 3 in the fifth round, and both teams scored in the sixth round. Then Kelley O’Hara’s seventh-round shot bounced off the post for Team USA. Hurtig then put the match away despite a valiant Naeher effort.

"Sweden winning on penalties mitigated some of the [good] three-way result, but still, this was an overall win for the house," DeBonis said. "The U.S. was unfortunate to be eliminated on penalty kicks, as this was certainly its best performance of the tournament. But that’s the reality of how fine the margins are."

Indeed, the margin was literally an inch for bettors and bookmakers.

Futures Fallout

Team USA was the pre-tourney favorite on the Women’s World Cup futures odds board, as it sought a third consecutive championship. By the time the Knockout Stage arrived – with the U.S. lackluster in the Group Stage – England took over as the favorite, with the USA and Spain generally co-second choices.

"The U.S. was by far the biggest loser for us on the outright [championship] market," DeBonis said. "Now, we will see who the bettors favor when we reopen the odds."

DeBonis expects England will remain the favorite and Spain to sit second, though WynnBet’s updated odds weren’t yet posted early this morning. BetMGM already updated with England as the +250 favorite, Spain the +350 second choice, and surging Japan – whom Sweden meets next – the +500 third choice.

You might think books would be happy to see their largest liability exit. Although the USWNT represented a sizable loss if it won the title yet again, the team also represented continued strong betting interest as long as it stayed alive. That interest, by way of lots of tickets and money in the Women’s World Cup betting market, will now surely wane.

"It’s a catch-22 because there’ll be less handle and interest the rest of the way," DeBonis said. "We would’ve liked for the U.S. to advance, both for today’s result and the big interest the team would bring to the quarterfinal with Japan, which in my opinion has been the best team in the tournament so far."

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.


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