Olympic Women’s Soccer Odds, Picks, Prediction: United States vs. Canada Preview (August 2)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
United States vs. Canada Odds
|United States Odds||-140|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Day | Time||Monday | 4 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||USA Network | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Sunday afternoon via DraftKings.|
North American rivals will hook up in the wee hours Monday morning when the United States takes on Canada in an Olympic women’s soccer semifinal match.
The Americans put together another mediocre performance by their standards in Friday’s quarterfinal-round match against the Netherlands, but got a heroic performance from veteran goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to move on via penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 draw through regulation and extra time.
On the other side, the upstart Canadians pulled off an upset — also coming on penalty kicks — against Brazil to book their spot among the tournament semifinalists. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was brilliant for Canada, stopping two Brazilian attempts in the shootout to secure the victory.
Let’s take a look at these combatants and see what might be in the cards.
Naeher Helps United States Avoid Disaster
When it comes to sports clichés, I’d probably put “survive and advance” right at the top of the list. We hear those three words over and over, whether it be during March Madness or some other major tournament.
Well, those three words were pretty apropos following another subpar showing from the USWNT in its meeting with the Netherlands. The Americans were anything but spectacular, falling behind in the 18th minute when Dutch star Vivianne Miedema scored her ninth goal of the competition.
However, the USWNT showed some major resilience over the course of the next 13 minutes when Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams connected for back-to-back goals to give the Americans a 2-1 lead. Coincidentally, Williams assisted on Mewis’ opener for USWNT and Mewis returned the favor on Williams’ goal that put the world’s top-ranked team in the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, that lead lasted only 23 minutes. Miedema notched her brace with a 54th-minute equalizer for the Netherlands. The presumptive leading scorer of the competition ripped a low shot near the top of the arc that caught Naeher slightly flat-footed, resulting in the savable ball finding its way into the back of the net.
Then, the Americans nearly found themselves trailing with 10 minutes to go when Kelley O’Hara was called for a foul in the penalty area, resulting in a kick from the spot for standout Lieke Martens. That’s when Naeher turned things around and was up to the task, saving Martens’ attempt to keep things even.
After a scoreless extra time, it was Naeher’s two saves that proved to be the difference and Megan Rapinoe’s winning penalty that sent the Americans into the semifinals.
Neither defense had a strong outing, with the Netherlands holding a 21-16 edge in total shots. Yes, there were a whopping 37 shots taken in the contest. The Dutch also finished a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal. And the Americans continued to struggle with their offensive runs, getting called offside six more times in the win.
Labbé Puts Canada On Shoulders Against Brazil
If you could give out an individual gold medal for goalkeeping right now, I’d give the slight edge to Labbé. The stellar net minder was brilliant throughout the Canadians’ battle with Brazil, saving her best for last with two key stops in the shootout to secure the stunning victory.
Her penalty save on a shot from Andressa in the fourth round got Canada back even with Brazil before her huge stop on an attempt by Rafaelle (seen below) finished off the upset triumph.
STEPH LABBE COMING IN CLUTCH 🇨🇦
Makes the critical save and Canada moves onto the semifinals after beating Brazil in penalty kicks pic.twitter.com/y3FNEf3vzs
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 30, 2021
Bottom line, Canada is probably going to need Labbé to stand on her head against if it’s to pull off a semifinal shocker against the USWNT. Labbé and her teammates are facing an American outfit that can hit you from many angles, which it showed against the Netherlands via Mewis and Williams scoring goals.
Veteran forward Christine Sinclair and standout Ashley Lawrence are two of the biggest keys to the Canadians’ potential success, so they’re going to have to be on their respective games if they’re going to have any chance of reaching the gold-medal match.
Betting Analysis & Pick
If you remember the last time these nations met, you’d recall it was somewhat of a snooze fest. The Americans squeaked out a 1-0 win against the Canadians back in February at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando.
Like that match, I fully expect that we’re going to see a similar outcome in this latest affair. Canada doesn’t have the offensive firepower to go toe-to-toe with the USWNT, so I anticipate the underdog taking a defensive posture and clog its defensive third of the pitch. The Canadians could potentially bunker in, sticking 10 players behind the ball and hope to get this match into extra time.
For those reasons, I’m backing the total to stay under the alternative number of 2.75 goals at -150 odds via DraftKings as my top selection. I think we’re going to be hard-pressed to reach three goals, so I will drink a little more juice to provide some safety on this wager.
If you’re looking for a little something more, sprinkle on both teams to not score at -115 odds. Canada has just four goals in its four matches, with two coming in a group-stage victory against Chile. The Canadians had a few quality chances in the scoreless draw against Brazil, but struggled finishing those opportunities.
With Canada in all likelihood coming out in a conservative, tactical approach, I don’t see it racking up many dangerous moments against this American side.
Picks: Total Under 2.75 Goals (-150) | Both Teams To Score — No (-115)