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Betting on the USA: What Were the Odds?

Betfair, an online betting emporium, received only $51 of wagers on the United States winning the Confederations Cup in South Africa, at 999-to-1 odds. That means that for every $1 bet, the bettor will make out with $999 if the United States should beat Brazil 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.

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 beat 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."

 

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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