It has been a painfully quiet summer on the football front with not a lot for followers of the beautiful game to get excited about. Liverpool’s dramatic Champions League win over Tottenham in Spain now feels like a distant memory and the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualifiers did little to fill the hole in our stomachs.
Thankfully, we have a feast to be served this weekend with the 2019 Copa America getting underway on Saturday. The 46th edition of this famous quadrennial international tournament, a dozen teams are shared across three divisions before we move into the knockout phase of the competition following the final result of matchday three.
Brazil Plays Host
Brazil will play host this summer and judging by the spectacular showing they gave us when putting on the FIFA World Cup in 2014, we can look forward to a party atmosphere, filled with colour, music, big crowds and great football. Chile are the holders and defending champions, having won the Copa America in each of the last two outings, kissing silverware in 2015 and 2016, seeing off Argentina in the final on both occasions. Will they land the hattrick in Brazil? It’ll be great fun finding out.
Six cities will host the matches – Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Sal Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre – with the schedule starting on 14th June and the final played to a conclusion on 7 July. The opening match pairs Brazil and Bolivia with the locals expected to get off to a winning start. A host of major television stations, including Premier Sports, broadcast each of the matches live, meaning armchair fans can enjoy what will be a gripping three weeks of football. The final has been penned in for Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro with the game kicking off at 17:00 local time.
Promoted under the banner ‘Rocking the Continent’ we fully expect this football festival to live up to the hype, but its appeal goes much further than South America.
Bookmakers Have Their Say
Bookmakers aren’t usually slow in picking up on widespread interest and the trading teams at major firms have their house in order in good time for the Copa America. You can bet on hundreds of markets in each and every game or give yourself a long-term interest by playing one of the many exciting antepost lists.
Have your say on the winner of the 2019 Copa America, which team will reach the final, the two finalists, top goal scorer, stage of elimination for each country, the player to provide most assists during the three weeks, winner of each group, and much more besides. That’s great news for punters, especially those eager to place a big priced accumulator for small stakes.
Bookmakers have had their say, and they’re rarely too far off the mark, but how do the money men see the Copa America panning out and what clues can be taken from their stance? A flick through the odds on various betting markets helps answer those questions.
Chile Going for Three-in-a-Row
Chile are chasing down three-in-a-row but it’s unlikely they’ll manage it, if this tournament follows the betting. The defending champions have been scratched up as 14/1 chances – top price with Betfair – and that leaves them fifth in the betting.
Host nation Brazil start as favourites and that’s little surprise, odds-makers believing home advantage and the backing of a passionate support will make all the difference when things get serious. The Samba Boys are available at 6/5 when taking advantage of Betfair’s generosity. If you plan on going with that one be careful who you trust as many bookmakers offer only 11/10 on the same bet. Make sure you’re getting the most for your stake money.
Following Brazil, we have Argentina as the main danger as they aim to go one better than their last two efforts. Backers will find them with a 7/2 price tag attached by Coral. We notice Uruguay third in the betting at 7/1 – market top price with Ladbrokes – before Colombia’s 9/1 with the same firm. Looking for a lively outsider capable of performing better than their price? You’ll be interested to know Japan have been invited and are 80/1 shots.
Reach the Final Provides a Safety Net
Perhaps you fancy a team to go well in Brazil but would prefer a bit of a safety net. You can back them to lift the trophy in the outright betting or take advantage of one of the many specials, including a side to reach the final. With this bet your selection doesn’t need to be crowned champions. As long as they appear in the last two, you’ll land a pay-out. The prices are shorter as you have more chance of winning, but there’s still plenty of value around if you act quickly.
Betfair are the go-to bookmaker if you’re playing this market and they have Brazil marked on the board as 8/13 favourites to reach the final, ahead of Argentina at 7/5, Uruguay 11/5, Colombia 11/4 and Chile 4/1. There’s also a chance to take an outsider and hope they upset the odds. Peru are 9/1 to go all the way to Rio.
The fact Argentina have reached the final in each of the last two outings suggests they will be popular, although the price makes them one for big hitters or accumulator backers. The side will be desperate to build on their recent Copa America efforts and the World Cup in Brazil. They’re sure to be a big hit in many markets due to their quality and experience.
Who Will Be the Star Men?
Such if the coverage of bookmakers here, you can avoid the unpredictability of the competition and play one of the many player specials. This will allow you to enjoy the competition without having to worry about who wins it. It’ll also give you twice the interest as for your bet to stand the best chance of winning your chosen player’s team must remain active for as long as possible. One market sure to prove a big hit this summer is the top goal scorer list. Here you’re tasked with predicting the player that will finish up with most goals, regardless of how their nation performs.
The list reads like a who’s who of world football with plenty of household names to take your fancy. Punters wont’ fall over in amazement to find Argentina’s Lionel Messi as favourite. Arguably the best player in the world, the striker is more than capable of showing his rivals the way home in the coming weeks and traders are falling over themselves to keep on the right side of the Barcelona hitman. He’s 3/1 at Betfair to win the golden boot and that will appear on a fair share of bet slips.
If Messi doesn’t deliver, then who are the men expected to fill his boots? Gabriel Jesus rates as the main danger and the 22-year-old Brazilian has already scored 27 goals for employers Manchester City in the English Premier League and netted 16 times in 29 appearances for the tournament favourites. Luis Suarez is another UK football fans are all too familiar with and the former Liverpool man is third favourite at 8/1 with Coral.
He doesn’t always make headlines for the right reasons but there’s no doubting the fact he’s a natural goal scorer and the 32-year-old will be confident in his ability to hit the goal trail again here, helping fire Uruguay to glory. Suarez netted 69 goals in 110 games for Liverpool, already has 131 in 163 for current employers Barcelona and 56 for his country, having earned 107 caps.
An Exciting New Market (Assists)
An exciting new market that has hit the betting industry hard in recent times is the assists betting where backers are asked to predict which player will end the competition having set-up most goals. This is fascinating as it gives you an interest in every match, either cheering on your selection or hoping the main rivals have an off day. Lionel Messi is favourite again here at 7/2 with Betfair to head home having set-up most goals.
Interestingly, another former Liverpool man in Coutinho is next in line at 9/2 and the Brazilian’s attacking flair and unselfish attitude to the game means backers are sure to get a run for their money. To stand the best chance of winning this bet you’re after a player with the skill and class to unlock defences with a killer pass, but you’re also looking for one with the teammates around him that can be relied upon to put the ball in the net. There’s no point in your selection doing all the hard work only for a teammate to miss the opportunity to score. Punters can rest assured Coutinho has major firepower in support and is a player who should hit the ground running in Brazil.
Others worth a mention in this market are James Rodriguez at 15/2, Richarlison 9/1, Alexis Sanchez 11/1, Angel Di Maria 11/1, Luis Suarez 11/1 and Roberto Firminio 11/1. All quotes mentioned there have been taken from the Betfair site and are correct at the time of writing, although are subject to change. You can also bet on all of the markets listed in-play, with odds updated to keep pace with the results.
Take Your Seats for the Show
Three weeks of entertainment lies ahead with football fans treated to a show involving some of the top teams and players in the world. This is one of the most famous of International tournaments and the 2019 version of the Copa America will remind us just why we love South American football.
Be sure to take your seat for the first game involving Brazil and Bolivia in the early hours of Saturday morning, kick-off scheduled for 01:30am GMT. Brazil are hot favourites to collect all three point, as you would expect, with Gabriel Jesus 23/10 at Coral to score the first goal of the competition.