Want to bet on the U.S. to win World Cup? It’s going to cost you as Vegas shortens the odds


Team USA’s Fabian Johnson celebrates his goal during the first half of the international friendly between the U.S. and Turkey. (Jason Szenes/EPA)

The house always wins, but in the case of World Cup betting, Las Vegas casinos had to try a little harder to make sure of that. After getting an unexpectedly huge influx of bets on Team USA on initial long-odds offers, most casinos have had to offer shorter bets to make up for the imbalanced books. For example, three months ago, Linemakers reports, MGM Resorts was facing a liability of four times the amount of money in its pool. That’s not good for the house.

But things are more even now thanks to the shortened bets. In fact, things are going great, as the shortened bets have actually proven more popular at times than the longer ones, despite Team USA’s actual odds of 300-1.

“We took more money on the U.S. at 10-to-1 than we did at any other price,” MGM assistant manager Jeff Stoneback told Linemakers.

Other casinos are also shortening the odds. Todd Fuhrman, who used to manage the books for Caesar’s, tweets:

Why so disparate? World Cup betting in the United States is uncharted. Vice President of MGM Race and Sports Jay Rood told Linebackers:

“This is still relatively new territory in terms of what I can anticipate the equity is going to be in our pool. And it’s not getting to what I thought we were going to get on it. That’s why we went so short on (the U.S.).”

Internationally, however, the U.S. team isn’t fairing so well. At the U.K.-based bookmakers Labrokes, for example, the Americans, who they’re offering with 200-1 odds, are the least popular bet. A spokesperson tells Linebackers:

 “[There even has been] more money for Iran at 1000-to-1, as presumably if people want to back an outsider, they may as well go for the longest of long shots.”

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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