Betting round-up: Olympics, Europa League on menu

Our betting editor Paul Gough believes there might be value in the battle for women's Olympic bronze, while Liverpool are almost unbackable for Rodgers' home debut

Having survived an epic semi-final against Canada, the all-conquering United States look set to collect their fourth gold medal in just five Olympics since women's football was first admitted to the Games.

The US face Japan in the gold medal game on Thursday at Wembley (Friday morning Australian time), aiming to add the 2012 London Olympics to their gold medal triumphs at Atlanta in 1996, Athens in 2004 and Beijing four years ago.

The only time the US have not prevailed in an Olympic women's football final was in Sydney in 2000, when they were upset for the gold medal by Norway.

And despite their shaky 4-3 win over Canada in the semi-finals - with the winner coming from Alex Morgan in the last minute of extra time - the USA deserve to go in as warm favourites against Japan.

Online bookmakers Luxbet have the US as $1.99 favourites to win the game in 90 minutes.

World champions Japan, who were thrashed 4-1 by the US in a warm-up game in Sweden shortly before the Olympics, are at $3.50 with the draw at $3.30.

Luxbet's Andy Scott said the US have been steadily supported to win the gold medal from the outset of the tournament and nothing has changed since their heart-stopping win over Canada.

"The punters have not looked past the USA to take the gold the entire tournament," Scott told

"We had big bets on them to win the gold at $2.30 and $2.10 at the start of the tournament and now they are at $1.42 to claim the gold medal."

While it is hard to go past the USA in the gold medal game, the bronze medal play-off match between France and Canada promises to be a much closer affair.

France are the favourites at $1.93 to win in 90 minutes with the draw at $3.35, but Canada are tremendous value at $3.65.

Canada might have only progressed to the knockout stages as one of the two best-performed third-placed teams in the group stages, but they have been the surprise packets of the tournament in beating host nation Great Britain in the quarter-finals and so nearly beating the USA in the semis.

And with the leading scorer in the tournament in Christine Sinclair [six goals] complementing Melissa Tancredi [four goals], they have the strike power to upset France.

The US to beat Japan in the Olympic women's final at $1.99 at Luxbet
Canada to beat France in the bronze medal match at $3.65 at Luxbet

Meanwhile, the third qualifying round of the Europa League also wraps up on Thursday across Europe with second-leg ties.

The main interest settles on Anfield, where Brendan Rodgers will make his home debut as Liverpool manager, with the Reds taking a 1-0 lead from their first leg clash against Gomel in Belarus.

And the Reds are short at $1.19 at Luxbet to finish the job by winning the second leg at home, with the draw at $5.75 and Gomel unwanted in betting at $12.50.

Like Liverpool, Inter Milan are heavily favoured to build on their lead at home to Croatian club Hajduk Split, having triumphed 3-0 in the away leg.

They are $1.16 for the win, with the draw at $6.50 and Hajduk at $15. 

The other key game sees Scottish Premier League side Dundee United facing a difficult trip to Russia to face Dynamo Moscow after only drawing the first leg 2-2 in Scotland.

And Scott says the Russian club have been heavily backed at Luxbet to win the second leg, with Dynamo Moscow at $1.32, the draw at $4.50 and Dundee United at $8.50.

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