From the what-a-difference-a-day-makes category, Argentina has gone from a narrow overall favorite among the World Cup's final four to a sizable underdog in the championship game against Germany.
Actually, it took two days for the downgrade to transpire, though most of it happened Tuesday when Germany looked like the greatest thing since sliced pumpernickel. Nothing sways oddsmakers like roadgrading the pre-tournament pick (host Brazil) 7-1 in the semifinals.
When the Argentines on Wednesday slipped Ambien into the drinks of viewers across Planet Futbol with their scoreless snoozer that ended in a shootout triumph over the Netherlands, Germany's probable status as favorite in the finale was cinched.
In a straight-up wager to win, Germany carries roughly 2-to-3 odds while Argentina is 6 to 5. The most common and more complicated format for soccer betting, known as three-way, lists odds for either team winning in regulation, plus for a draw. To keep from veering into tip-sheet territory, let's move on.
The competition began many moons ago with Argentina and Germany as the two most popular choices after Brazil by the wagering class. The Argentines, favorites in their six earlier matches, have rewarded supporters with wins in each.
Another checkmark in their column: No European nation has taken a Cup title on South American soil.
Yet the gambling choice for Sunday is Germany. It has impressed more so than Argentina, a distinction that became glaring in the semifinals.
Though Argentine supporters might find the odds insulting, Coach Alejandro Sabella won't mind. For motivational purposes, he, and not Joachim Loew, gets to play the underdog card.