LOOKING for the best Copa America bets concerning Group B? We asked BBC’s South American football correspondent Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) and Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) for their thoughts.
Tim Vickery’s Verdict[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206968728?secret_token=s-KPnKB” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
Mark O’Haire’s Verdict
It’s been 22 years since Argentina last tasted senior success. Former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino is the man to take on the mantle and looking through La Albiceleste’s squad, you can understand why the bookies have made them 5/2 (Sportingbet) favourites to go the distance.
Like all 12 teams in Chile, the Argies have their faults and failings. Martino’s men continue to lack pace in defensive areas but even so, the likely centre-half partnership of Ezequiel Garay and Nicolas Otamedni is head and shoulders above what some Copa rivals can call upon.
So what’s the bet then? Pile in on the 3/10 (SkyBet) they top Group B? Hell no. You might be surprised to hear but Argentina have finished first in their group just once in six attempts since their outright success in 1993. Uruguay might be in transition but are certainly no mugs whilst Paraguay could easily frustrate the galaxy of stars.
I like Uruguay. Oscar Tabarez is nine years into his second stint in charge of La Celeste and yes, we all know they’re missing Luis Suarez and rebuilding but we’re also well aware they’re a horrid side to play against.
If the knockout draw wasn’t so tough for Group B teams, I’d be considering Uruguay to go the whole way (14/1 William Hill). For a nation that makes up less than 1% of the South American population, La Celeste continue to produce hard-working, disciplined fighters.
The 2003 U20 World Cup runners-up are starting to breakthrough into the senior squad and should Edinson Cavani rise to the occasion as Uruguay’s main man, playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro bring his A-game and that uncompromising back four remains rigid, Tabarez’s troops could sneak top spot. At 4/1 (William Hill) they’re worth an interest.
- Group B Winner: 14/1 (Bet65)
- Top-Two Group B Finish: 2/1 (BetVictor)
Former Oxford manager Ramon Diaz has been handed the role of reviving Paraguay’s fortunes. Diaz hasn’t had long to fine-tune La Albirroja and so the Copa will act as an opportunity to experiment before they begin their bash at reaching the 2018 World Cup.
It’s been a rough two years for Paraguay football fans and although hopes and expectations are low, failure to beat Jamaica will be seen as an abject failure. Diaz has filled the squad with old heads and an experienced spine and so they could and should take third and a place in the last eight. A repeat of their 2011 heroics looks optimistic at best.
Unlike CONCACAF rivals Mexico, Jamaica are heading to the Copa with a reasonably strong squad despite taking part in the Gold Cup in July. But even so, the Reggae Boyz face a daunting task in Group B alongside heavyweights Argentina and Uruguay.
The Copa has a habit of throwing up surprise results and qualifiers and head coach Winfried Schafer has filled his team with optimism. You get the impression Jamaica will relish the occasion and offer something totally different from their 11 other competitors.
The Paraguay fixture will be targeted and it’s not beyond their capabilities to pick up maximum points. But the most realistic call has to be an early exit for the Carribean champions.
Tim Vickery – Argentina/Uruguay straight forecast (23/20 Boylesports)
Mark O'Haire – Uruguay to win Group B (4/1 William Hill)
- 13th June 2015 | Uruguay vs Jamaica | 20.00 | Premier Sports
- 13th June 2015 | Argentina vs Paraguay | 22.30 | Premier Sports
- 16th June 2015 | Paraguay vs Jamaica | 22.00 | Premier Sports
- 17th June 2015 | Argentina vs Uruguay | 00.30 | Premier Sports
- 20th June 2015 | Uruguay vs Paraguay | 20.00 | Premier Sports
- 20th June 2015 | Argentina vs Jamaica | 22.30 | Premier Sports