This weekend, we see the first Copa America tournament to be held outside South America as a special edition celebration of a century of CONMEBOL and 100 years since the inaugural competition in 1916 is hosted in the United States. Will Burns has researched some top tips and best value bets for the tournament. Read on…
From 3rd until the 26th June, sees South America’s premier competition hosted by the glitz and the glamour of the U.S.A. Who will win #Copa100? Who should you watch to notch the most goals? Well here I will run down the groups, the teams, the players, their strengths and weaknesses and lets see if we can find some value in the markets!
USA – COLOMBIA – COSTA RICA – PARAGUAY
Although, notoriously tough opponents, Costa Rica and Paraguay should be easily dispatched by the U.S. and Colombia so backing both of the group favourites at 4/9 to qualify is a short bet, but one that I am positive will give you a guaranteed profit. Perhaps, if you are fancying a double or treble with other groups these two would be a great boost to your acca.
Even though the crowds will be urging on the hosts, with all the talent that Colombia possesses I see them prevailing on top. Los Cafteros’ young talent have impressed manager Jose Pekerman so much that he left veterans like Radamel Falcao, Teófilo Gutiérrez and Jackson Martínez at home.
BRAZIL – ECUADOR – HAITI – PERU
The absence of Neymar in the Seleção squad certainly makes this tournament more interesting however, I fail to see Ecuador, Haiti or Peru pulling off a shock and beating the Brazilians to the group’s top position. Without the Barca starlet in tow is a blow, however the recent inclusion of Benfica goal-getter Jonas Goncalves Oliveira, makes Dunga’s side odds-on at 2/5 to be Group B victors. This is far too short when thinking about Ecuador.
The Ecuadorians are organised and looking at their World Cup qualification form (w4, D1, L1), they should push Brazil and if not at least grab second spot.
Peru is bringing a young team absent the likes of Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfán. Meanwhile, sturdy and strong on the counter, Haiti will hope to earn some respect and make its mark as the tournament’s underdog.
MEXICO – URUGUAY – JAMAICA – VENEZUELA
Uruguay are possibly the second strongest team in the tournament behind Argentina and apart from what could be a tough encounter against Mexico in game one. However, they have been hampered with an injury to star-man Luis Suarez, who is likely to miss the start of the tournament due to his hamstring.
The Mexicans could be real dark horses for the tournament – they enter the Copa America on an 11-game unbeaten run in competitive games, including eight wins in a row, and it has yet to concede a goal in five games under Colombian-born manager Juan Carlos Osorio.
Venezuela currently sit bottom of the World Cup Qualifying group with one draw out of six being the only positive result so they should pose no threat here. Recent defeats to Panama and Nicaragua should tell you all you need to know regarding Jamaica’s chances. The Reggae Boyz of the 1998 World Cup is a distant memory for this outfit, although they did defeat Chile in a friendly last week.
ARGENTINA – CHILE – PANAMA – BOLIVIA
Tournament favourites Argentina spearheaded by Lionel Messi face a fierce battle against Chile, starring Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, in their opening game which could prove to be a barnburner. However, the Argies hold a humongous historical head-to-head record against the Chileans, with 57 victories to six. Argentina are tournament favourites but the preparation on the way to America has been awful. Injuries, strange squad selections by Gerardo Martino and the AFA causing all sorts of problems.
One thing is for certain though, this group can promise you goals. With Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria lining up for Argentina, La Albiceleste should have no trouble finding the net against Panama and especially Bolivia.
Bolivia have conceded at least two goals in the last seven consecutive matches stemming back to June last year in a 3-2 win over Ecuador so you need to set alerts on all their games and back goals, goals, goals in each game. They have seen a total 25 goals end up in their goal throughout those seven games. Need I say more?
I can only find this on 188Bet, but profits must be made on the cracking ‘Highest Scoring Group’ market and with Group D favourites at 13/10, I feel this is one of the best bets of the tournament.
For the top goalscorer, for great value I would recommend backing Colombia’s Carlos Bacca each-way, a player I have watched for many years after his rise to prominence at Club Brugge. After notching 20 in 42 for AC Milan, Bacca will be in good supply this tournament from James Rodríguez and Juan Cuadrado. Not just this season in Italy, but he has reached 20 goals in each of the past four seasons (including two in La Liga with Sevilla and one with Brugge) and has scored three times in World Cup qualifying so far. He’s a great price at 25/1.
Another player to watch is a red-hot striker in-form with a decent price of 8/1 with 888 Sport, Sergio Aguero. Although, team-mate Gonzalo Higuaín may slot in up top for Argentina, even in the left forward position, the Manchester City man will terrorise the Panamanian and Bolivian defences, you can’t look past him to notch a few goals in the group stages alone therefore be in good stead to take home the Golden Boot after the knockout stages.
I am not confident about a picking a winner of this tournament as of yet, so my tip will wait until either nearer the tournament or during. I would like to see how Brazil and Uruguay start as there is a lot of questions hanging over their heads. However, I have a few views on at least two teams that you may want to observe or avoid.
As mentioned earlier, Mexico could be worth a punt as they come into the tournament in great form under the leadership of Osorio. The best price I found was a decent 12/1 at William Hill however, they’ll have to over-perform to beat the big guns when we get to crunch stages of the tournament, they are set to face Argentina or Chile in the first knockout round. I would recommend keeping an eye on their games for the group stages and then look to back each-way in the tournament, if the odds value roughly stays the same.
A lot of people (usually Americans) are pinning a lot of hopes on the Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States at 10/1 but the German boss has placed a tad more pressure on his team, which may backfire. Now five years into Klinsmann’s tenure, and with the crowd’s behind them, the Americans must deliver on the pitch. They must at least get a silver medal, especially now that Klinsmann has targeted the semi-finals in the media. Apart from the young blood of Christian Pulisic, Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood that are emerging, he has a veteran and possibly aging squad at his disposal that look far away from winning this tournament. In addition, if the U.S. cannot overcome Colombia and top their group, they may face Brazil next round which could spell the end of their tournament in the knockout round. Just like the last time they hosted a major football tournament, the World Cup 1994.
See below for all our official tips for this tournament and remember to check back every day throughout the tournament and our Facebook page and Twitter feed for daily tips on the matches.
Group D – Highest Scoring Group (2.30 at 188Bet)
Carlos Bacca (Colombia) – Top Goalscorer Each-Way (26.00 at Paddy Power)
Sergio Aguero (Argentina) – Top Goalscorer (8.00 at Paddy Power)