Women’s World Championships (What the Sports Books Think)

According to a survey of online Sports Books, Russia and Norway are the odds on favorites to win the 2007 Women’s Handball World Championships. The defending World Champion Russians are slightly more favored at 1.6 to 1 while Norway, the current European Champions are 1.75 to 1. Romania is the next team in line at 5-1 odds and 4 other teams (Hungary, South Korea, France and Germany) are grouped at 15-1.

Longshots grouped between 120-1 and to 500-1 include Spain, Ukraine, Croatia, China, Poland, Austria, Macedonia and Brazil. The remaining 9 nations are all viewed as 3000-1 or greater longshots. Brazil, which won a tournament last weekend in France, however has seen its odds fall in some books to as low as 39-1.

The odd for teams to win each preliminary group are(from www.expekt.com:

Group A: France(1/4 ) Croatia(11/5), Argentina(249/1), Kazakhstan(499/1)
Group B: Russia (1/20), Brazil(8/1), Macedonia(14/1), Australia (499/1)
Group C: Norway(1/20), Austria (10/1), Angola, (14/1), Dominican Republic(499/1)
Group D: Romania(1/10), Poland(9/2), China(39/1), Tunisia (249/1)
Group E: Hungary(1/5), Spain(27/10), Japan(99/1), Republic of the Congo(249/1)
Group F: South Korea(11/10), Germany(13/10), Ukraine(4/1), Paraguay(499/1)

With only 2 teams advancing to the main round, these odds, on paper, point to a only a few key battles in the preliminary round. In Group B, Brazil and Macedonia should battle it out for the 2nd spot and in Group C, Angola should challenge Austria. Group F could be a real dogfight, with South Korea, Germany and Ukraine all having realistic expectations to reach the Main Round.

The handicap (point spread) lines have also been posted for the first day’s games on Sunday. Australia has the dubious distinction of the being the biggest underdog with a 31 goal handicap vs. Brazil. The Aussies aren’t likely to pull off a miracle, but with several players playing competitively in Europe they are unlikely to suffer a defeat similar to 2005’s 57-9 loss against Hungary. Paraguay is the other huge underdog and they have 30 goal handicap vs. the South Koreans.

[b]Odds to win World Championships (www.bet365.com)[/b]
Russia 1.6 to 1
Norway 1.75 to 1
Romania 5-1
Hungary 15-1
Korea 15-1
France 15-1
Germany 15-1
Spain 120-1
Croatia 120-1
Ukraine 150-1
China 150-1
Poland 150-1
Austria 250-1
Macedonia 300-1
Brazil 500-1
Angola 3000-1
Japan 5000-1
Tunisia 5000-1
Argentina 5000-1
Australia 5000-1
Congo 5000-1
Dominican Republic 5000-1
Kazakhstan 5000-1
Paraguay 5000-1

[b]2 December 07 Handicap Lines (www.bet365.com)[/b]
Austria -15.0 vs. Dominican Republic
Brazil -31.0 vs. Australia
Croatia -14.5 vs. Kazakhstan
France -16.0 vs. Argentina
Germany -3.0 vs. Ukraine
Hungary -14.5 vs. Japan
Norway -8.5 vs. Angola
Poland -5.5 vs. Tunisia
Romania -12.0 vs. China
Russia -9.5 vs. Macedonia
South Korea -30.0 vs. Paraguay
Spain -11.0 vs. Congo