Books fear the USA in World Cup futures

There will be tens of millions of Americans cheering on Team USA as World Cup 2014 kicks off this week, but sportsbook operators have tens of millions of reasons to cheer against them.

A USA victory in Brazil as a 100-1 longshot would be the worst imaginable result for sportsbooks, according to one manager.

"Put it this way, if they won every game and won the tournament, it would probably be the worst result in history for any sportsbook,” said Kevin Bradley of Bovada.lv. “So we don’t mind if the Group of Death kills them off early."

Even as longshots in Group G where they must finish ahead of two of Germany, Portugal or Ghana to advance from the group stage, bettors continue to throw money behind the Americans. Nearly 10 percent of all the World Cup future action is on Team USA.

"We're cheering for a huge World Cup and we don't mind a few huge upsets along the way to help the bottom line," said Bradley. "But we will be cheering against Team USA because there is so much money on them on every game."

A Mexico championship would also be a disastrous result for the book. Currently a 125-1 shot, they face two tough Group A opponents in host Brazil and Croatia. With so many fans of Mexican descent getting ready to bet on their team, it makes sense that the betting handle would be huge on them.

And Italy, always a threat even with an aging roster, would be the third-worst result for the sportsbook as more than 7 percent of the wagering handle is on the Azzurri at 22-1.

The best outcome for the book at this stage, among the legitimate contenders under 50-1, would be a Colombia victory. Less than 2 percent of the betting is on them at 33-1.

Argentina, seeing 10 percent of the handle but at just 4-1 odds, is the next optimal outcome, while Chile, which must knock off either Spain or Holland to advance from Group B, ranks third on the list of best results.

Below are the percentages of betting volume, per Bovada:

Team -- Odds (% of $)
Brazil 3-1 (2.2)
Germany 11-2 (15.8)
Spain 6-1 (11.1)
Argentina 4-1 (9.9)
USA 100-1 (8.8)
Italy 22-1 (7.1)
Belgium 18-1 (4.7)
Portugal 25-1 (3.5)
Uruguay 25-1 (2.9)
Netherlands 25-1 (2.9)
England 22-1 (2.9)
Mexico 125-1 (2.4)
France 25-1 (2.4)
Colombia 33-1 (1.2)
Switzerland 125-1 (0.58)
South Korea 300-1 (0.58)
Japan 150-1 (0.58)
Ivory Coast 125-1 (0.58)
Greece 200-1 (0.58)
Ghana 200-1 (0.58)
Croatia 150-1 (0.58)
Chile 40-1 (0.58)
Russia 100-1 (0.29)
Nigeria 250-1 (0.29)
Bosnia-Herzegovina 150-1 (0.29)
Iran 1500-1 (0.23)
Honduras 1500-1 (0.23)
Ecuador 150-1 (0.17)
Costa Rica 1000-1 (0.17)
Cameroon 500-1 (0.12)
Australia 500-1 (0.12)
Algeria 1000-1 (0.06)