The Euros have been fun, despite there being not a lot of surprises. On the contrary, the Copa America went about exactly how we thought it would go.
The problem with the Copa America is the tournament structure. For one, the tournament itself takes place anytime between one and four years after the previous one. Next, there are ten teams in the Copa America and eight of them make the knockout stage. Third, they each play four (mostly inconsequential) games in their group stage.
Because of this, there’s almost nothing at stake in the group stage, aside from seeding for the knockout stage. You only need to really win one of the four games to guarantee a spot in the next round.
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As expected, Copa America didn’t garner anywhere near the same viewership as the Euros, but it doesn’t mean the games were awful. In a region with such a limited number of teams and a narrow distribution of great talent, Brazil and Argentina predictably blew through their groups and now will face each other in the Copa America Final.
Argentina has finished second in four of the previous six Copa America’s and has not won the title since 1993. It gives Lionel Messi the chance to win his first major international title and provides Brazil with the opportunity to re-affirm their dominance of the region.
The Euros have gone pretty much to plan as well. We had Italy as the favorite following the exit of France and their last game really validated that belief. Despite a heated battle of possession and intricate passing, Spain failed to successfully exploit the Italian defense, with the exception of the one goal.
We also said England would have a fairly simple path to the final and that has also been true. Despite falling behind 1-0, the English squad managed to rally and take down the Cinderella Danes in extra time, courtesy of a penalty. Overall, these two teams have only allowed a total of three goals in the tournament, so don’t expect too much excitement.
Last week, we put out some betting options for the Quarterfinal round of the Euros. The only one we nailed was the parlay of England and Spain to advance. This week, we have a good mix of bets for the Finals of both the Euro Final and the Copa America Final.
Italy to score over 1.5 goals +250
The Italian team is playing their best Soccer since the 2006 World Cup. They haven’t lost a match since their 2017 World Cup Qualifying playoff match against Sweden in Stockholm. Though I don’t really believe this game will turn into a high-scoring affair, I do believe this outcome is very possible.
England has played Denmark, Ukraine, a disheveled German squad, Czech Republic, Croatia, and Scotland. It hasn’t been a very challenging field. Italy is playing the most complete soccer of any team in the field, and better (by far) than any team they’ve played thus far. With how potent the Italian team has been for spurts of this tournament, I wouldn’t be surprised if one Italian goal turns into another as a result of a counterattack.
We’ve had plenty of examples of this happening in big games in the past. This is definitely not the most likely income, but at +250, I love the odds here, even if I am not supremely confident in the scenario. The value is just there.
Game Props – Correct Score: Italy 2-0: +1150
This is another home run swing pick, so here’s the explanation. Like I said in the last prop, I expect Italy will break down the England defense for a goal at some point. Once that happens, I anticipate England will overcommit to scoring the equalizer late.
That’s when I think Italy counters with the final nail in the coffin. Of course, this is pure speculation, but Italy has beaten both Belgium and Spain. Belgium profiles similarly to England and Spain was in very good form throughout the tournament as well. Given England’s opponents thus far, this is a decent bet, given the odds.
First Goalscorer – Lucas Paqueta: +800
The Goalscorer props are almost always not a good idea. I’m not saying this game is any different, but Paqueta, a midfielder, has scored the lone Brazilian goals the last two matches. Coming on as a sub in the second half, Paqueta scored the eventual winner against Chile and then the next match against Peru.
Brazil’s goals have been fairly well distributed throughout the tournament, so there is no real obvious goalscorer here. We may as well roll the dice here and go with the only guy who has found the back of the net in the last two matches.
After all, it seems Brazil may have found a formula, using their forwards to penetrate the back and laying it off to Paqueta both times.
Brazil to win the trophy -177
The expected number of goals for this game is 2. It’s a low line and for good reason. In three of the four games in the knockout stage, these two teams have each scored just one goal. The lone exception was Argentina’s 3-0 win against a poor Ecuador squad, who failed to record a win in the group stage (0-3-1).
Though Argentina had a smooth path to this point, Brazil’s defense just looks a little better. When you have the talent of a team like Brazil and the defense is playing exceptionally, that’s typically a winning combination.
Game Props – Correct Score: Brazil 1-0: +500
We’ve already gone over why we believe Brazil will raise the title but here’s the argument against Argentina. Argentina has gone 0-5 in their last five finals between Copa America and the World Cup since 1994. On the contrary, Brazil has gone 7-2 over that same stretch.
From a historical standpoint, it just seems apparent when both these teams are playing at their best, Brazil is the superior team. There’s also the Messi curse looming over the match, so you have to factor that mentality in the matchup as well.
If you’re the kind of person who is more of a soccer purist or romantic, what better ending to Leo Messi’s career than an upset over Brazil in his final Copa America match? If you want to go that route, Argentina +145 offers a decent return in a relatively even matchup.
Good Luck this weekend!