Saudi Arabia stunned the world Tuesday by knocking off Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
The Saudis survived a first-half onslaught from the heavily favored Argentinians and somehow potted a pair of goals in the second half to shock one of the major World Cup favorites. The upset snapped a 36-match unbeaten streak for Argentina.
The betting odds tell you all you need to know about how unlikely the Saudi upset was heading into the match.
Here were the pregame odds ahead of kickoff, per BetMGM.
Argentina to win -550
Saudi Arabia +1700
By betting odds, it’s unsurprisingly the biggest upset in World Cup history.
The upset was even bigger at some shops.
With all-time legend Lionel Messi leading the way, Argentina entered the tournament as one of the prohibitive favorites. Argentina came into the tournament as the No. 3 team in the world by FIFA’s rankings, while Saudi Arabia was 51st.
For even more perspective, only tournament favorite Brazil had better odds to win the tournament than Argentina at +550. Literally, no team has worse odds than Saudi Arabia, tied at the bottom with Qatar and Costa Rica at 750-1.
Oddsmakers are probably as happy as anyone outside Saudi Arabia. BetMGM moved Argentina from 10-1 to 5-1 to win the whole thing last week, taking the most tickets and highest amount of handle on Messi and company. The sportsbook said Friday 18% of all tickets and 23% of the World Cup handle was on Argentina, making it the second-biggest liability for them ahead of the United States.
“Action on the World Cup feels similar to March Madness, and we expect more bets to roll in as the tournament nears. Brazil and Argentina are betting favorites and would be tough outcomes for the sportsbook,” BetMGM sports trader Seamus Magee said in a press release from the sportsbook last week.
It’s still possible, of course, for Argentina to get back on track. If the two-time World Cup champions hold serve in their group — they’d have to beat both Mexico and Poland to do so — they’d likely still be able to advance to the knockout round.
Argentina gets its first chance to right the ship Saturday against Poland.