Sunday Showdown for US
$51 and a Dream: Betting on the U.S.
By Jack Bell
Around the world, only $51 was bet on the United States winning the Confederations Cup in South Africa, at 999-to-1 odds. Guess who plays in the final on Sunday?
The prospects of the United States winning the tournament never engendered much confidence — especially after two first-round defeats in which the American team played poorly.
But don’t look now … on Sunday the United States will face Brazil, mighty Brazil, in the final in Johannesburg after the seleção left it until late in defeating the host South Africa by 1-0.
While soccer is usually barely a blip on the screen in the United States and doesn’t register a pulse in the minds and wallets of the (illegal) betting community, the sport around the world is a popular pastime for punters — a colloquial term for one who wagers on anything from soccer to cockroach races.
And according to Betfair, an online betting emporium, a total of $51 has been bet on the United States winning the Confederations Cup at the astronomical odds of 999-to-1. That means that for every $1 bet, the punter will skate away with $999 if the United States should beat Brazil.
According to Betfair, the United States was a long shot 699-to-1 reach the semifinals, which the American team managed to do by beating Egypt, 3-0, last Sunday while Brazil was beating Italy by the same score. The United States advanced because it scored more goals (the second tiebreaker) than Italy. Then the American team shocked No. 1-ranked Spain by 2-0 in the semifinals on Wednesday.
“There are sure to be some Betfair bettors praying for a U.S. victory,” Tony Calvin, a company spokesman said in a statement. “With the small matter of $51,000 to be won if they do.”