France, Netherlands see World Cup odds rise in wake of strong group-stage play


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The Savory Sixteen is set for the 2014 World Cup, and the field is still wide open. Brazil continues to be the obvious choice as the favorite to win the tournament, with Bovada recently posting it as 3-to-1 odds to be the outright winner, with Argentina and Germany a close second at 4 to 1. But which teams made the biggest impression on the oddsmaker in the group stage?

The Netherlands has seen the largest jump in its perceived chances of victory since the World Cup started. Bovada set Louis van Gaal’s squad at 25-to-1 odds to win on May 30 but has since moved that down to 7 to 1 as of Friday. That moved its implied probability of winning the World Cup outright from 3.8 percent to 12.5 percent in less than a month.

The Dutch have scored 10 goals and conceded just three in their matches against defending champion Spain, Australia and Chile. Plus, they have the fifth-highest Performance Score (817) as tabulated by Squawka.

France was at 22 to 1 before the tournament started but has since moved up to 8 to 1 as of Friday. That’s a 6.8 percent jump in implied win probability, which should come as no surprise to regular readers of Fancy Stats.

Home-field advantage still nets Brazil by a good margin the top place in the rankings. But with Argentina, Colombia and Belgium all putting up less than stellar underlying statistics in their group matches, France rate as solid second favorites to lift the Cup.

Uruguay went in the other direction. Its odds went from 25 to 1 down to 40 to 1 largely because of its opener against Costa Rica, where it conceded three goals and the match.

The United States, after advancing to the knockout round despite a loss to Germany in its last match, saw its implied chances of winning double since the tournament started. Unfortunately, that increase gives them just a 2 percent chance of winning it all.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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