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Saudi Arabia vs. Argentina: The Biggest Upset in World Cup History?

Did that really just happen? Did a +2300 underdog just outfox a World Cup favorite? Let’s talk Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia and try to make sense of just how stunning this game was.

If your heart was aflutter for Lionel Messi entering what is almost certainly his final World Cup, you experienced what we may politely call an OMG moment Tuesday. Lucky Leo’s beloved Argentina, according to several sportsbooks, were the most-bet team to win the championship in Qatar based on overall handle. But when it came time for the Albiceleste to take the pitch as heavy, heavy favorites against Saudi Arabia, something happened that wasn’t in the script.

As the final whistle blew at Lusail Stadium, the scoreline was a dagger: Saudi Arabia 2, Argentina 1. Messi’s 10th-minute penalty was ultimately undone by a flurry of goals ultimately ruled offside and a pair of head-turning strikes from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari.

The latter goal — a cracker of a coup de grâce if there ever was one — could even be described as Messi-esque.

Your mileage may vary based on whether you gauge the sheer size of an upset based on narratives and popular perception, betting odds, or good ol’ gut instinct, but there’s no understating the historic nature of this soccering stunner in any event. None.

With that in mind, let’s examine the closing odds at FanDuel Sportsbook for these incredible, improbable occurrences to gauge just how outlandish the events of Nov. 22 truly were.

And how much money (read: MILLIONS OF DOLLARS) you could have won if you had bet these dumbfounding results together in a parlay.

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Was Saudi Arabia vs. Argentina the Biggest FIFA World Cup Upset Ever?

Here are the betting facts at time of kickoff:

  • Argentina were -1000 to win, an implied probability of 90.91%
  • Saudi Arabia were +2300 to win, an implied probability of 4.17%
  • Saleh Al-Shehri had +3000 odds to be the second goal-scorer, an implied probability of 3.23%
  • Salem Al-Dawsari similarly had +3000 odds to be the last goal-scorer

So, let’s imagine if you had parlayed Saudi moneyline along with those two goal props above.

You’d be looking at a three-leg parlay at +2306300 odds (read it aloud: that’s “plus two million six hundred and six thousand three hundred,” good for overall implied odds so statistically insignificant that they are best written as 0%).

A $100 bet at FanDuel Sportsbook would have paid out $2,306,400. Folks, that is NOT a bad day at the office.

Ditto for this keen bettor, who struck while the live-bet iron was hotter than hot:

Fortunately for those who were all-in on Argentina before the tournament, they’ve still got two more group stage games to play against Poland and Mexico. Neither of those nations is a slouch, but winning has a habit of curing just about everything that ails you.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t already witnessed a rip-roaring sort of history at the world’s biggest sporting event whose history dates back to 1930, however.

No matter how you slice it, Saudi Arabia vs. Argentina is truly among of the biggest FIFA World Cup upsets there’s ever been, and perhaps in the annals of international soccer at large — and we’ve still got about four more weeks of action to go.

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