DraftKings: We Don’t Root Against the USMNT, But Their Success Bruises Us
Simon Bruty/Getty. Pictured: Christian Pulisic.
Well-seasoned betters know that bookmakers don’t actually try to balance out a line with equal wagers from both sides. They make bets just like anyone else. Books take lopsided money and hope the other side wins, fading the public in the process.
That phenomenon is no clearer than with the United States in the World Cup.
The U.S. received a ridiculous 85% of handle across the market on them to win against Iran earlier this week. That means books across the country lost about 85% of the money in that marketplace.
And despite being hefty underdogs against the Netherlands on Saturday, that trend has persisted. At DraftKings, the U.S. to win in regulation at +330 has roughly 70% of the total money even with two of the team’s top starters dinged up.
Not to mention a Netherlands team that hasn’t lost an international match since June 2021 — a stretch of 19 games.
Unlike its counterpart FanDuel, DraftKings doesn’t have a European owner that helps pad its exposure through global wagers on the World Cup — where the bets don’t favor the U.S.
That means that the U.S. winning and advancing would undoubtedly rough up DraftKings’ pocketbooks.
“If the U.S. wins it all, there will be red, white and blue and black and blue,” said Johnny Avello, director of trading at DraftKings, referring to the beating the bottom line would take. “But as bookmakers, there’s still no way we are rooting against the U.S.”
Although the sense is that bookmakers could throw up worse odds on the U.S. and casual bettors would still plunk down their money, Avello said there hasn’t been a thought about doing so despite the guaranteed profits.
“We’re a national brand,” Avello said. “Just because we know people are going to bet on the Colorado Avalanche more in Colorado, the price isn’t any different there.
“We don’t try to gouge the public because we know that’s how they are going to bet.”
According to the Action Network’s proprietary data, the United States men’s national team has received three times more wagers this World Cup than the second-most popular team — the Netherlands.
And for every World Cup day involving the U.S. leading up to Nov. 29, every state in the Union had the USMNT as its most wagered on squad — except on Nov. 25, when New Mexico went with the Dutch as its most popular team.
About 9% of futures money at DraftKings is on the U.S. to win it all, only behind Argentina (23%), Brazil (14%) and France (10%). But the odds of America lifting the trophy are roughly 100-1. Argentina are currently +700, Brazil is +260 and France is +500.