The Americans are ahead of Portugal in the Group G standings but rank behind them in terms of oddsmaker respect as the teams prepare to clash Sunday.
Portugal face a must-win situation after their embarrassing 4-0 loss in their group opener against Germany, while the Americans could settle for a draw here and be in good position to advance to the knockout phase.
Sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com had World Cup betting odds for this match with Portugal posted at 5-7, with the USA paying 4-1 and a draw line priced at 3-1.
The Americans defeated Ghana 2-1, but they packed the defense and gave Ghana many scoring chances after scoring first. This time around, they face a Portugal defense that did not look good in the loss to Germany.
One big question for Portugal is the health of star striker Cristiano Ronaldo. It would be a shock if he did not play in this match, but he is less than 100 percent.
Still, Ronaldo at 50 percent is still better than most strikers at full capacity and he can give the USA defense plenty of problems. They have to mark him the entire match.
Jozy Altidore is out for this match with an injury, while Clint Dempsey will channel his inner hockey player and play with a broken nose.
Michael Bradley had an impressive showing against Ghana and he is a key player in this match. Portugal is a better passing squad than Ghana and the Americans must disrupt that aspect of the match, especially in the midfield.
Another thing the Yanks have going for them is that Portugal starting defender Pepe must sit out this match after picking up a red card facing Germany. He foolishly head-butted Thomas Mueller, mocking him for flopping during a tackle.
If the Americans win this match, they will advance out of the group of death. They can beat Portugal, and they will do so with solid defense and they will score off the counterattack.
USA vs. Portugal prediction: 2-1 USA
Stats, odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
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