Argentina and Brazil sit atop the Copa America Centenario oddsboard, and there’s a sizable gap between the two favorites and the rest of the field. But there are knocks against both of these South American giants, making the tournament ripe for bettors looking for a big price in the futures market.
The 45th edition of Copa America kicks off Friday night, with USA and Colombia meeting at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. It will be contested over the next three-plus weeks, culminating June 26 with the final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
Track goers are familiar with the term “second-itis,” a less-than-flattering description of a horse that can’t seem to win a race – he’s always finishing second. It also applies to the Lionel Messi-led Argentinians.
La Albiceleste has yet to win a major title since 1993. They lost in a penalty-kick shootout to host Chile in last summer’s Copa America final and to Germany in the final of the2014 World Cup in Brazil.
On paper, though, Argentina is the strongest side in this summer’s version of Copa America, a sentiment reflected in the betting market.
Neymar’s not playing for a weakened Brazil side, so when you’re looking at the top (of the oddsboard), you’re taking one of the teams and lessening them, so it’s basically shifting all of Brazil’s support to Argentina.”
That brings us to the El Canarinho. Barcelona, Neymar’s club team, insisted the star striker compete in only one international tournament this summer. Neymar chose the Olympics since they’re being held in Rio. But he’s not the only marquee name who won’t be on the field for Brazil at Copa America. Thiago Silva, Marcelo and David Luiz have all been left off coach Dunga’s roster.
Brazil opened at 3/1 at the , but the lack of interest in backing it to win the tournament has driven the price to 9/2.
You still may not find that price enticing, and you may also not be interested in Argentina at its short number. So if not one of the favorites, then who?
Uruguay, Chile and Colombia are among the next logical bets, and if you’re a bookmaker in Las Vegas, you’ve probably written a lot of tickets on Mexico. El Tri represents easily the largest liability at both the Westgate and William Hill.
This surprises neither bookmaker; in fact, it always happens this way in soccer.
“They love betting their team and they do every game,” Pullen said of William Hill’s Mexican clientele. “We always need them to at least draw or lose – we’re always hoping that they don’t win.”
Anticipating this action, Pullen sets Mexico’s odds accordingly.
“We’re not trying to be ridiculously low, but (we are on) the low end of the market,” he said.
The same dynamic applies to the big-four sports in the U.S.
“We have so many books in northern Nevada, you’re probably not going to get the best odds on the Raiders or 49ers, the Sharks, the Giants, the Warriors, because we know we’re going to take so much money on those teams every year,” said Pullen “Why give them more when they’ll take a little less. That’s bookmaking 101.”
In addition to Mexico, William Hill is a “very small loser” on the USA, and while the book also loses on Haiti, Pullen isn’t losing any sleep over one of the longest shots on the board.
The Westgate is a winner on any result other than a Mexico or Argentina title.
COPA AMERICA 2016 ODDS
COSTA RICA 60/1
GROUP A ODDS
COSTA RICA 13/2
GROUP B ODDS
GROUP C ODDS
GROUP D ODDS