What can we expect from the USMNT in the round of 16? Can the USMNT upset Netherlands and advance in the knockout stage? Former ESPN senior researcher Paul Carr, now senior director of content for TruMedia and covering his fourth men's World Cup, ESPN FC host Dan Thomas and ESPN broadcaster and analyst Dalen Cuff offer their tips and betting suggestions for the United States' fourth match of the tournament.
Netherlands (-104) vs. US (+310), draw (+230) What are your thoughts on this matchup and the U.S. chances to pull off an upset on Saturday?
Carr: The US just outplayed England and this Dutch team are not as good as England, though Louis van Gaal is an excellent tournament coach. The US have been well-organized and should be able to press in ways Netherlands didn't see in the group stage. Knockout rounds usually provide more value on the underdog, given the randomness of single-elimination games. So, I lean toward the US double chance (-115). A 90-minute draw seems very possible, and maybe the US even sneaks out a win.
Cuff: This Dutch team is good, but not world beaters and have not looked great in this tournament. I hope the US come out in this match similar to how they did against England, where they took it to the reigning Euros runners-up. Play with no fear and on their front foot. The injury issue around Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent is important but not dire. The US has very good options to replace Pulisic, including Giovanni Reyna and Brenden Aaronson. I'd love to see Gio get the start if CP can't go. I don't see this game being determined in the 90 minutes, so I'm leaning draw. But the play I really like is US to advance +180.
Thomas: Wow! Who'd've thought we'd be in this situation after that second half against Wales? Since then, the team has grown in front of our eyes. The problem of who gets the goals still remains. I think this is going to be a tough watch. 0-0 after 90 minutes.
The Netherlands have been a strong team defensively during the tournament, only allowing one goal, while also showcasing offensive talent, scoring five goals over their past three matches. Three of those goals have come from forward Cody Gakpo. Do you like Gakpo to score again on Saturday at +180?
Carr: Not really. Gakpo's three goals have come on four shots worth a total of 0.3 expected goals, so he's running hot right now. If he swings out to the wing, he could cause trouble against Sergiño Dest, but if he's in the middle of the field, I have confidence in Tyler Adams denying him the ball in good spots.
Cuff: Gakpo has been the one Dutch player to look particularly dangerous. Limiting his touches and taking away any space will be critical. I'm not playing him to score, the US has been very good defensively and limited teams most dangerous players to this point.
Thomas: He's been the one shining light of this Dutch team, so if there is a goal, he's the most likely man to get it.
Who do you like, if anyone, to score from the USMNT?
Carr: This is too difficult to say without seeing a lineup. If I had to pick someone blindly, I'd go with Timothy Weah (+450). His off-ball runs have been dangerous all tournament, and the US will surely look to break Dutch pressure by finding him splitting defenders.
Thomas: Let's go with Sergiño Dest (+1800). He's been getting himself in good positions and is great value as well.
Any other props that you're thinking about?
Carr: I like the first-half draw at -110. Betting a scoreless first half gets a better price (+116), but I think there's enough of a chance that each team's pressure brings a goal to justify taking the lower number.
Cuff: The US has scored both their goals in the first half, but I think this one will start tight. Draw at halftime at +116 is my favorite play. I think US double the chance (win/draw) in the 90 minutes is a good play at -115. But clearly, I'm biased here ... just has to be said.