Early on Saturday morning, the 2011 Copa America gets under way with Argentina facing Bolivia at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, with the hosts clear favourite to not only win this opening match but the whole tournament.
The Copa America is the Latin America equivalent of the European Championships and bet365 offer even money that La Albiceleste make up for a disappointing 2010 World Cup by triumphing in front of their own supporters.
While there are twelve teams participating in the Copa America in total, the bookmakers don’t expect to see the likes of Bolivia, Venezuela and Costa Rica featuring at the business end, although we should expect Brazil to make plenty of progress and they are available at 5/2 (Boylesports – £20 free bet).
The Selecao have won the past two Copa Americas, while it should be noted that Argentina have not won this competition in the past six renewals. Brazil have won four of the last five tournaments and this is the last time they will be involved competitively until they host the World Cup in 2014.
Should we look beyond the front two in the betting to try and find the winner? The answer to that question is yes, especially when you consider that Uruguay were the furthest progressing team at the 2010 World Cup and La Celeste could be a spot of each-way value at 12/1 with Victor Chandler.
The Uruguay team has retained the managerial services of Oscar Tabarez and the twin strike threat of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez should yield plenty of goals, although Chile represent a potent threat in Group C and the match between the pair on July 8 could go a long way to determining who goes through as section winner.
Chile are a vibrant attacking team who didn’t do themselves justice after qualifying second behind Spain in the World Cup. If they can overcome their phobia against the so-called bigger teams such as Brazil and Argentina, then the Chileans could be the surprise package at 12/1 (Ladbrokes – £30 free bets).
Argentina are draw with Colombia in Group A and Paddy Power offer 1/5 that the hosts go through as winners, with Colombia expected to finish second at odds of 4/1 (Betfred – £50 free beting). Meanwhile, Brazil will have a tricky match against Paraguay and they are 2/5 (Stan James) to top the section compared to the 4/1 about their nearest rival.
The Top Goalscorer betting is likely to be popular and it is three Argentina players that feature prominently at the top of the market, with the bookies prepared to take no chances about Lionel Messi. The Barcelona forward is 7/2 with William Hill although it should be noted that Messi is not as prolific for his country compared to club.
Perhaps Carlos Tevez is a better option at odds of 10/1 (William Hill) with the Manchester City forward likely to start every match and there will be plenty of chances coming his way.