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US-Iran World Cup match brings crowds to sportsbooks

Updated December 1, 2022 - 8:26 pm

The tension inside the sportsbook at Green Valley Ranch was evident for most of the second half of the United States’ World Cup match against Iran on Tuesday.

But as the end of the 90 minutes approached and the amount of stoppage time added on by officials was announced, someone broke the silence.

“Nine minutes?!” they hollered. “What the … ?”

There was an expletive at the end of that second sentence, which nobody in attendance seemed to mind. When U.S. midfielder Yunus Musah was pulled down from behind in the sixth minute of stoppage time, many of the approximately 50 guests watching began shouting obscenities of their own and continued to do so for the remainder of the game.

Once the final whistle blew on the Americans’ 1-0 victory that clinched their spot in the round of 16, a loud ovation broke out at Green Valley Ranch.

That scene played out in similar fashion in sportsbooks across Las Vegas, as soccer fans and bettors watched the Americans’ final game of the group stage with a mixture of hope and anxiety.

Circa Resort hosted a watch party for the late-morning match, while the Westgate SuperBook welcomed a sizable crowd as well.

At South Point, more than 50 people were seated in the sportsbook prior to the 11 a.m. kickoff, with more watching in the adjacent bar. Once the match started, fans continued to trickle into the area throughout the first half.

“It’s a good atmosphere,” said Rob Neumann, who was vacationing from Southern California. “Everyone is pulling for the U.S., and there are a lot of fans cheering them on.”

The U.S.-Iran showdown was shown on two screens with sound in the sportsbook, and the England-Wales match occupied the other two screens.

While the patriotic displays were at a minimum expect for one women in a stars and stripes shirt, there was a brief “USA” chant as the teams walked out for the national anthems.

But when Musah skied a shot over the crossbar in the ninth minute and Christian Pulisic put a header on goal in the 11th minute for the Americans, the loud “oooh” from the sportsbook revealed which team the majority of guests were supporting.

Neumann watched the match with two friends who traveled with him from the Los Angeles area. After Pulisic knocked in the U.S. goal in the 38th minute, the sportsbook erupted in cheers and Neumann high-fived his friend Ken Leibo who was standing to his right.

“We’re aggressive and putting it on Iran,” Leibo said during halftime. “This is a lot of fun. Everyone here has a common purpose rooting for the U.S., which makes it a little more exciting.”

The match was a bonanza for bettors, who pounded the U.S. side.

Caesars Sportsbook reported that 81.4 percent of the tickets and 93 percent of the handle on 90-minute wagers went to the U.S.

As of 9 a.m., there were six bets at Caesars of $10,000 or more on the match and all of them were on the U.S. to win. In addition, 94 percent of the bets for $1,000 or more were placed on the Americans.

At BetMGM, Pulisic to score a goal (+230) was one of the most-bet props, while the U.S. attracted 83 percent of the tickets written and 90 percent of the handle on the three-way betting line.

The U.S. faces the Netherlands in the round of 16 at 7 a.m. Saturday, and the Americans are +210 underdogs at the SuperBook to advance to the quarterfinals. The Netherlands is a -250 favorite.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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