TOP SPOT in Group C of the CONCACAF Gold Cup is up for grabs in the early hours of Thursday morning. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) picks out the best betting angles for Mexico’s match-up with Trinidad & Tobago.
Mexico v Trinidad & Tobago | Thursday 01.30 | ESPN
Charlotte is the destination for a shootout as Mexico take on Trinidad & Tobago with the winner progressing from CONCACAF Group C in top spot. Trinidad are the surprise leaders as we enter the pool concluder with both teams arriving unbeaten but under different circumstances.
Six-times winners Mexico played their part in the biggest surprise of the competition thus far, faltering to a 0-0 draw with 10-man Guatemala in their last outing. Despite the rumblings of discontent and criticism hurled at the side from back home, El Tri dominated proceedings with 80% possession and out-shooting their opponents 19-3 but were unable to find the breakthrough.
Mexico boss Miguel Herrera was frustrated by his team’s inability to finish six or seven golden chances with the pre-tournament favourites failing to score for the first time in 32 previous Gold Cup matches. Many are suggesting the switch from three centre-halves to a more rigid 4-4-2 is to blame for the teething problems but we’ve already seen enough to suggest El Tri should still have more than enough in the tank to go the distance.
On the flip side, Trinidad will take the field in Charlotte amidst a whirl of optimism following a 100% start and a place in the quarter-finals already secured. The Soca Warriors flew out of the traps to dismiss Guatemala before subduing a Cuban team eager to bounce back from their 6-0 mauling by Mexico.
Stephen Hart’s men have impressed along the way and after predicting a dismal campaign this month for T&T, I’ve been forced to eat my words. The team played just three friendlies this calendar year, losing all three, with trips to Curacao and Jordan in June the only direct preparation for this competition.
Sheldon Bateau, Cordell Cato and Joevin Jones have all stood out for praise but Hart’s charges will be without suspended midfielder Andre Boucaud and inspirational goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams for this encounter, dampening their prospects for an upset.
Trinidad will have no doubt looked at Mexico’s recent toils against Honduras in a warm-up international as well as that stalemate with Guatemala for ways to strangle El Tri and from recent viewing, adopting a physical game plan with a defence sitting deep may work best. But with a knockout place already accomplished, I’d be surprised if T&T opted to change tact.
Mexico still mean business in their quest to top Group C. Another poor result would only heap more pressure on Herrera and although they misfired in their last outing, I’d expect El Tri to get back on track. Offensively the continental powerhouses should prove too good and I’m surprised to see Mexico available to back off a -1.5 Asian Handicap start at 13/12 with BetVictor – we certainly wouldn’t have seen these prices a week ago. Taking this selection means we’ll be in profit should Mexico win by two goals or more and I’m confident it’s well within their capabilities.
Mexico v Trinidad & Tobago – Mexico -1.5 Asian Handicap (13/12 BetVictor)
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