Copa América Betting Preview

The 46th edition of CONMEBOL’s headline tournament, the Copa América, is being held in Brazil and features a range of intriguing storylines.

Few tournament hosts have ever been under as much pressure to win a home tournament as Brazil are in 2019. The competition marks the centenary of their first Copa América triumph and offers the chance for redemption from when they last hosted a major tournament – the 2014 World Cup, during which the Seleção suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany. History in their favour though, as Brazil have won every Copa they’ve ever staged.

History of the Copa América

The Copa América is probably international football’s most random and, dare we say it, disorganised event. It is also the oldest international continental football competition around, having been first staged in 1916, and determines the continental champion of South America. With only 10 members, the South American football federation – CONMEBOL – has taken to inviting teams from other federations, such as CONCACAF and the Asian Football Confederation, to participate. Mexico are the most regular guests, having participated in every tournament since the policy began in 1993.

Ecuador and Venezuela are the only nations of the ten CONMEBOL members not to have won the tournament. Uruguay are the tournament’s heavyweights, having won the inaugural edition of the competition and amassed 15 tournament victories in total. Argentina are the most regular hosts, having staged the competition nine times, while the United States are the only non-CONMEBOL country to host. Throughout the years, the competition has been held at constantly changing intervals – with this year’s edition the fourth to be staged between 2015-2020!

Copa América 2019

Chile were slated as the original hosts of the 2019 Copa América, with Brazil supposed to hold the 2015 tournament. The locations were switched due to Brazil’s stacked schedule of international sporting events around this period – the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympics.  

The 2019 Copa América will be the final edition to be played on odd years and with 12 teams. As from 2020, the tournament will take place every four years, in the same year as the UEFA European Championship. This year’s event will feature both Asian Cup finalists, with losers Japan making their second Copa América appearance and winners Qatar making their Copa debut. For the first time since 1993, Mexico will not be appearing.

COPA AMÉRICA BETTING ODDS

Host’s Brazil are under excruciating pressure and placed as favourites at 11/10 (2.10) to win the tournament. Lionel Messi seeks his first international trophy with Argentina who are 7/2 (4.50), while Chile, winners of the last two tournaments, are 12/1 (13.00) to triumph again. An invited team has never won the tournament, with Mexico coming closest as losing finalists in 1993 and 2001, so it’s no surprise that Japan at 80/1 (81.00) and Qatar at 100/1 (101.00) are complete outsiders to win. 

Copa América 2019 Contenders

Brazil – The Seleção have not made it beyond the quarter-finals in any of the past three Copa tournaments, even falling at the group stage three years ago. Coach Tite has turned to experience in an effort to win the Copa for the first time in 12 years; Daniel Alves of PSG and Manchester City’s Fernandinho have both made returns to the squad. Brazil will look to instil more defensive solidity into their general play than was evident at last year’s World Cup, with the emphasis on goalscoring falling to the Premier League trio of Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino and Richarlison.

Argentina – La Albiceleste are a hot mess. For a while, Lionel Messi’s participation looked in doubt with the global icon sitting out all of Argentina’s post-World Cup friendlies last year. The team enters the competition with inexperienced caretaker-coach Lionel Scaloni at the helm and a number of established names jettisoned – only nine of the Russia 2018 squad remain, while just five players survive from the last Copa. Messi continues to divide opinions in his home nation as in the Messi-era Argentina have won nothing on the international stage at senior level. Since 2004, the year before Messi debuted, Argentina have contested four of the five Copa finals, losing them all.

Uruguay – While Brazil and Argentina have seemed in permanent flux over recent years, Uruguay have been the very model of consistency. Coach Oscar Tabarez has been in charge since 2006 and overseen an era of stability and resurgence. The side features a good blend of experience – Diego Godin, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani – and relative youth – Maxi Gomez and Jose Maria Gimenez. Uruguay are the most successful side in the history of the competition and have a particular fondness for upsetting the hosts. A run to the final is almost guaranteed.

The Rest – Chile waited nearly a century to conquer the Copa, then promptly went and repeated the feat next time around. The reigning champions overcame Argentina on penalties in the last two finals, but this tournament seems a bridge too far for an ageing squad. Colombia look like dark horses and have assembled a squad that combines physicality with attacking flair, and have, in James Rodriguez, a player who has performed well on the international stage in Brazil before. Japan and Qatar, meanwhile, are highly unlikely to become the first invited nation to lift the trophy.

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.

Barcelona vs Liverpool Betting Preview

On Wednesday night, Liverpool visit Camp Nou to play Barcelona in the glamour tie of the Champions League semi-final stage.

 

Barcelona and Liverpool are European football royalty and head into this contest level on 5 European Cups apiece. With the top scorer across all European leagues – Lionel Messi – turning out for the Catalans, and the top two scorers in the Premier League – Salah and Mane – leading the attack for the redmen, 0-0 looks an unlikely result.

Barcelona

Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool, Barcelona were able to put their league campaign to bed with a 1-0 victory over Levante; securing their 26th La Liga title in the process thanks to a goal from second-half substitute Lionel Messi.

Winning another La Liga title will not be enough to classify this season as a success for the Catalans. This is, after all, their fourth Spanish title in five years and Messi’s 10th overall. The La Liga title is almost expected. To attain true glory, Barca must succeed in completing a treble: La Liga, Copa del Rey, and a first Champions League title since 2015 (the last time they reached the final). Central to Barcelona’s success will be, as ever, Lionel Messi.

Liverpool

Much like Barcelona, Liverpool are chasing success on two fronts. Unlike Barca, one of those fronts is their domestic league. Any other year, this Liverpool side’s Premier League record (only one loss and already taken over 90 points with two games remaining) would be lauded as one of the best in recent years. Unfortunately for Liverpool, they still train an outstanding Manchester City side.

Have no doubts, Liverpool are the side that Barcelona would least have liked to face in the competition. With away victories in the last two rounds, the reds have proved they can travel abroad and upset the hosts on their own turf. And while Mohamed Salah once again top’s the goalscoring chart in the Premier League, this Liverpool side is built on much firmer foundations than the side that lost last year’s final against Real Madrid. With PFA Player of the Year Virgil Van Dijk marshalling the defence and Brazil no.1 Alisson Becker between the sticks, Liverpool stand a better chance than most at shutting out Messi.

BARCELONA VS LIVERPOOL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ODDS AT ENERGYBET

Barcelona head into this massive Champions League semi-final clash at Camp Nou as favourites for victory at 7/8 (1.87). But Liverpool shouldn’t be underestimated given their recent form – 10 victories in a row in all competitions – and will fancy their chances despite odds of 31/10 (4.10) for the win.

Barcelona vs Liverpool betting tips

Given the European pedigree of both clubs, it’s a little surprising that Barcelona and Liverpool have faced each other on only eight occasions. Liverpool have been the dominant force in these fixtures, winning three (two at Camp Nou) and drawing two of the matches played. Barcelona have never knocked Liverpool out of a European competition, losing the tie courtesy of away goals the last time the sides met – a round of 16 Champions League fixture in 2007.

With their high-intensity football and goal-scoring threat, Liverpool have every chance of taking a second consecutive Champions League victory at the home of Barcelona. But, even with the colossus that is Virgil Van Dijk at the heart of their defence, keeping Lionel Messi at bay for the entire game seems like too tough a task. That’s why we’d back Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 26/5 (6.20).

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of going to print.



The team behind EnergyCasino and EnergyBet bring you the latest gaming, betting and sports news. Insider information, expert commentary and exclusive offers all in one place. Make sure you don’t miss a thing.