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After watching USWNT struggles, noticeable percentage of bettors back Portugal for big payout

The United States women's national team is still heavily favored to move on to the knockout rounds, but a small chink in the armor of the two-time defending Women's World Cup champions has caused a ripple effect at sportsbooks.

The USWNT needs to earn at least a point against Portugal at Auckland, New Zealand, early Tuesday (3 a.m. ET) to guarantee it advances out of Group E.

The U.S. is a -350 favorite at BetMGM to beat Portugal, with those odds lengthening from -300 with 75 percent of the money wagered on the match outcome backing a USWNT win. However, Portugal has drawn a noticeable 42 percent of the total bets with its longshot +900 odds of an upset.

Portugal (No. 21) earned its first World Cup win, 2-0 over Vietnam on Thursday, but it knows the top-ranked Americans, who beat Vietnam 3-0 on July 21, will be a tougher challenge.

"This victory is dedicated to all the players, past and present," Portugal coach Francisco Neto said. "The United States will be a completely different game. ... Even though we had a victory, there are lots of things we can improve."

A win, and even a tie, can put the USWNT on top of Group E and forge an easier path within the knockout round. There is a scenario where the U.S. could move on with a loss, but it would require heavily favored Netherlands losing to Vietnam, which has lost both matches without scoring and already has been eliminated.

"It's a pressure moment, and that's what the tournament is," U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe said. "Now, every single game from here on out is that pressure moment. And that's the best part of being in the World Cup."

The most bet prop at BetMGM for the USA-Portugal match has been 88 percent of the bets on the Over of 2.5 total goals, which has also drawn 81 percent of the money. The second most popular has been Alex Morgan at +105 to score.

With two countries advancing from the group, the U.S. and Netherlands each have four points at 1-0-1 after they played to a 1-1 tie on Wednesday. Portugal (1-1-0, 3 points) still has a chance to advance.

The U.S. holds a plus-two goal differential advantage over Netherlands. The goal differential is key since the Group E winner will play the second-place team in Group G, which consists of Sweden (FIFA world ranking 3), Italy (16), Argentina (28) and South Africa (54). The second-place finisher in Group E faces the top Group G team, likely Sweden (six points), which already has secured a knockout spot. Italy has three points while South Africa and Argentina have one apiece.

U.S coach Vlatko Andonovski started the same 11 players in both matches and the lone substitute against Netherlands, Rose Lavelle, had the assist on Lindsey Horan's game-tying goal. It was only the second time in the past 40 USWNT matches, since the team's opening game in 2007, that only one substitute was used.

The USWNT remains the tournament favorite at +250 — slightly longer than their +225 pre-tournament odds at BetMGM. Meanwhile, the Netherlands' Cup-winning odds have shortened from +2500 to +1800. Spain (+400), England (+600), Germany (+700) and Australia (+900) have also seen their odds shorten since the tournament began.

The Americans are being offered at +275 at DraftKings, where they have still been backed by 82 percent of the total bets and 92 percent of the money to complete a three-peat. The next shortest odds belong to England at +650. The co-host Australians have been the second most popular choice with 4 percent of the total bets backing them at +2800.

(Field Level Media)

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