England v USA betting preview
South Africa is a country renowned for its wildlife, and safari so goody for Fabio Capello's men. When the Three Lions are unleashed at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium they'll be expected to come out roaring.
England are 4/9 to get their 2010 World Cup campaign off to a flying start when they face the United States in Rustenburg.
Capello's men were disappointing in both friendly games against Mexico and Japan, stuttering to unconvincing wins in both matches. However, they did register victories and I for one would take seven unconvincing wins from now on if it meant Rio Ferdinand lifting the World Cup Trophy in Johannesburg come July 11th!
England's star man is undoubtedly the prodigious Wayne Rooney. The devastating striker has been in irresistible form for his club Manchester United all season, taking the plaudits with 26 goals in the league alone. His record for England is nothing short of sensational, 25 goals in 60 games means an average of a goal every 2.4 games. He will be hoping to rediscover his magical touch against the Yanks after going six competitive matches without scoring.
The Scouser is 10/3 to open the scoring and 4/5 to notch anytime.
The players likely to be supporting Rooney are the midfield maestros Lampard and Gerrard. Although it has been claimed they cannot perform on the highest stage together they are unquestionably world class players, and did play well when paired together in the second half of the friendly against Japan.
Chelsea man Lampard is 13/2 to score first and 15/8 anytime while Anfield hero Gerrard is 8/1 to break the deadlock and 11/4 anytime.
The USA are priced at 5/1 to upset all the odds and claim a shock victory against the English.
The Stars and Stripes friendly results have been a mixed bag thus far, with the Czech Republic winning 4-2 in Connecticut before Bob Bradley's team came from behind to beat Turkey 2-1.
This is a team that are world ranked 14th and boast players such as Landon Donovan (8/1 first goal, 11/4 anytime), Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore (9/1 first goal, 10/3 anytime), the latter of which has a far better record for his country than he ever showed on Humberside!
The English players will be no strangers to many of the US squad. No less than nine of the American twenty three plied their trade on our shores last season with a further two in Scotland.
When looking at this game my immediate thought was that England would have too much for our cousins across the pond. However, after a bit of research and watching some highlights of the USA (especially their run to the 2009 Confederations Cup final, where they beat Spain en route no less) I am not so convinced.
It could be a cagey encounter with no team wanting to lose their first group game and it's conceivable that the outcome could be a draw at 11/4.
England have won two, lost two and drawn one of their last five opening World Cup matches, some against weaker teams than the US may I add. In 2006 only a David Beckham free kick glanced in by a Paraguayan defender could separate the two teams.
Therefore there could be massive value in the USA Double Chance market where a draw or a US victory pays out at 15/8.
Another historical fact that could bare fruit betting wise is that there have been under 2.5 goals in every one of England's first World Cup games since 1982. A 3-1 win in Bilbao against the French saw Ron Greenwood's side begin their tournament in style. Under 2.5 goals in this game can be backed at odds of 7/10.