Virginia Sportsbooks Like Washington Spirit In Their 2021 NWSL Regular-Season Opener

Posted on May 14, 2021 - Last Updated on May 31, 2021

The 2021 National Women’s Soccer League regular season begins Saturday, and Virginia sportsbooks seem to have gotten into the spirit of things. Their Washington Spirit betting odds like Washington, DC’s club to ruin the Orlando Pride‘s home opener.

After a decent showing in the Challenge Cup tournament, VA sports betting apps apparently like Washington to carry some momentum forward. However, their opponent for Sunday actually outperformed them in the tourney.

Washington Spirit betting odds for Sunday’s match

When the Spirit take the pitch on Sunday (6 p.m. on Paramount+), the club will do so with the shortest odds to win on the three-way moneyline. BetRivers Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and Unibet Sportsbook all have Washington +125 to win in those markets.

If you’re looking for more evidence of oddsmakers’ preference for the Spirit, consider other markets at the same books. BetRivers offers +380 odds on its Washington to win and both clubs to score market. DraftKings has the Spirit -150 in a Draw No Bet line.

Among the Unibet props for the game are a wager on Washington to have the lead at the end of both halves. That would pay out +265 if the Spirit cooperate. How likely is that to happen, though? Well, we actually saw this exact matchup a little less than a month ago.

Spirit at Pride, Part 1

On April 21, Washington visited Orlando in its third of four Challenge Cup matches. The Pride prevailed 1-0 in that one thanks to a mammoth effort by Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris. Her nine saves kept the Spirit off the ledger despite a 19-8 advantage for Washington in shots.

The Spirit certainly had their chances, but they just couldn’t solve the Harris problem on this particular night. In their own defensive zone, the combination of Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan proved just problematic enough to deny Washington a share of the points.

Morgan found Leroux in the middle of the field, and Leroux did the rest to blast the ball past Spirit keeper Aubrey Bledsoe in the 11th minute. Bledsoe went toe to toe with Harris for the rest of the match, but the damage was already done.

Can Harris prove unflappable again on Sunday, or will Washington’s forwards break through this time? That might depend on the ability of the top of the Spirit formation to adjust.

Spirit offense trending in wrong direction

Between their first two Challenge Cup matches, Washington found the back of the net three times. The Spirit were then shut out over their final two matches. A difference that stands out on the box scores? The contributions of forward Ashley Sanchez.

Sanchez accumulated six shots with one goal in Washington’s first two Challenge Cup matches, which proved to be a win and a draw. Orlando and Gotham FC were then able to contain her more effectively in the final two matches, limiting her to just three shots, only one of which was on target.

Sanchez’s ability to press opponents is crucial for the Spirit’s ability to free up other forwards, like Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman (the youngest domestic player to ever score in the NWSL and the daughter of Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman) and Kumi Yokoyama.

VA sportsbooks might be right not to expect Harris to be such a stalwart against such a lopsided attack again. However, the pressure is still on Washington to replicate that barrage. If they can’t, they might see a result similar to the loss in April.

Photo by AP / Will Newton
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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