BOTH Peru and Venezuela gave good accounts of themselves in their opening Copa America games. Now the two nations face-off in a crucial Group C clash. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the best bets available.
Peru v Venezuela | Friday 00.30 | Premier Sports
Peru and Venezuela were rated 20/1 outsiders to top Group C of the Copa America pre-tournament but both nations produced positive displays in their opening encounters to leave underdog backers purring.
Peru will consider themselves unlucky for leaving their showdown with Brazil pointless. The Incas were outdone by the outstanding quality of Neymar but Ricardo Gareca’s men showed no shortage of attacking intent. The last-minute loss will have hurt and represented their first defeat in an opening Copa match since 1991.
What made the performance all the more encouraging was the lack of preparation time Gareca has had with his team. A friendly draw with Mexico earlier this month was Peru’s only warm-up fixture but having netted in five of their last six games and winning 19 of their previous 29 bouts with Venezuela, the Incas will be confident of getting a result in Valparaiso.
Venezuela were surprise but fully deserved 1-0 winners against a well-fancied Colombian side in their curtain-raiser thanks to Salomon Rondon’s header. Noel Sanvicente’s troops have now failed to net just twice in 10 matches under ‘Chita’s’ charge but with only two clean sheets across those outings, we’re right to assume goals could be on the agenda.
Sure, the Vinotinto can afford to sit back and soak up the pressure knowing they already boast a three-point advantage over Peru but against Colombia Sanvincente’s side played a containing game that worked to perfection against their lacklustre opponents. It would be a surprise should Venezuela stray from a similar game plan on Friday morning.
Pundits might highlight Venezuela’s 1-0 win over Peru in a Florida friendly barely three months ago as a decent indicator but the Incas were missing a whole host of first-choice players in that bruising encounter and it’s worth noting that the Vinotinto have never registered back-to-back victories at the Copa.
So again I’m straying towards the Both Teams To Score bet (13/12 888 Sport). I’ve already highlighted a few decent trends in our favour but it’s also worth noting that eight of the 10 Venezuela outings under Sanvincente have seen three goals or more with six fixtures also breaking the Over 3.5 Goals mark.
Peru have struck in all bar one of their previous eight competitive meetings with Venezuela whilst six of those games also featured at least three goals – five also broke the Over 3.5 Goals barrier too.
The stats and trends are in favour of a goal-laden game and so I’m happy to take the odds-against quotes on BTTS banking with 888 Sport.
Peru v Venezuela – Both Teams To Score (13/12 888 Sport)