The NWSL will be back on the pitch in less than a month, and New Jersey sportsbooks are getting ready. The first batch of Sky Blue FC Challenge Cup markets are live at Sugarhouse Sportsbook right now.
NJ’s only NWSL club is among those with the longest odds to win the tournament. The club’s roster looks a little different than it did when it last took the pitch.
Sky Blue FC Challenge Cup odds at PlaySugarhouse
The Challenge Cup tourney starts on Friday, April 9. It starts with group play, in which clubs will try to earn points to qualify for the lead of the Eastern division.
Sky Blue FC begins group play on Wednesday, April 14, against the Orlando Pride at 7 p.m. ET in Florida. The rest of their group play schedule is:
- Tuesday, April 20, vs. NC Courage, 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 27 at Washington Spirit, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, May 2 vs. Racing Louisville FC, 12:30 p.m.
All of the club’s home matches will be played at Montclair State University in the NJ town that shares the school’s name. CBS Sports Network will broadcast Sky Blue’s first match while the others will be available on Paramount+.
Sugarhouse has the NC Courage as the favorite to prevail in the championship match, set for May 8. The line on Sky Blue FC to win the cup is +1400. Only Kansas City FC has longer odds at +1600.
Because Sky Blue doesn’t play their first match until the 14th, Sugarhouse doesn’t have markets up yet. Does the club have a shot at the tourney’s prize? Sky Blue FC will need players to step into new roles to pull that off.
Handicapping the path to hardware
Sky Blue’s front office has been busy since the NWSL Fall Series ended. They sent forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Sarah Killion Woldmoe to the Chicago Red Stars in exchange for three draft picks and two international slots.
Something else that oddsmakers likely took into account was the uncertain status of top keeper Kailen Sheridan. Sheridan had surgery on her right quad earlier this month. Right now, it’s unclear whether she will be ready for April 14.
Pugh was one of Sky Blue’s primary offensive weapons during her time with the club. They’ll have to determine who the new top striker will be in preseason play, which is currently ongoing. Margaret “Midge” Purce is a likely contender.
The club did upgrade the midfield by using one of those international slots to bring Sodam Lee, a regular on the South Korean team, to Sky Blue. Joining McCall Zerboni, Lee will give them a solid chance to control possession during matches.
If that midfield can set up Purce and others to find the back of the net frequently, Sheridan returns healthy, and the club gets some lucky bounces, a +1400 payout could create nothing but blue skies for those willing to take a wager on the club right now. Either way, this tournament presents a great opportunity for soccer bettors to learn more about the NWSL ahead of the 2021 regular season.