JAMAICA look to hold on to top spot in Group B when they take on El Salvador in their concluding pool fixture. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the best bets on offer.
Jamaica v El Salvador | Tuesday 23.00 | ESPN
They may have left it late but Jamaica’s stoppage-time winner to defeat Canada 1-0 in their last outing has handed the Reggae Boyz control of Group B. Winfried Schafer’s charges have secured their place in the knockout stages but there’s a bullish air of confidence surrounding the side as they bid to cement their position atop of the pool in Toronto on Tuesday night.
Despite being out-possessed by the Canucks in that encounter, Jamaica fired in 21 shots to Canada’s seven and dominated proceedings. Rodolph Austin’s late winner was reward for the persistence and determination showed by the group who’ve now set their sights on a first CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final appearance since 1998.
Avoiding defeat in Toronto against El Salvador will be enough for Schafer’s troops to take top spot and set-up a quarter-final showdown against Haiti. But the German boss has been talking up his side’s credentials as potential Gold Cup champions – not bad for our outright selection at 66/1!
However, I won’t be counting my chickens just yet. Jamaica head into this meeting unbeaten against their Central American opposition since 2000 (W5-D3-L0) but it would be wrong to dismiss Los Cuscatlecos’ prospects in upsetting the odds based purely on this head-to-head record.
El Salvador salvaged a stoppage-time point against Group B favourites Costa Rica last time out and Albert Roca's team have generally had the better of their two matches so far. Los Cuscatlecos have paid the price for spurning goalscoring opportunities, an ongoing theme for Roca’s men who’ve now triumphed just once in eight matches this calendar year.
So how do we play this? Jamaica don’t need to win but the confidence in the camp suggests they’d like to seal the group winners position with another positive performance. Their defensive record must also be mentioned – the Reggae Boyz have leaked just six goals in their last 10 games and they include fixtures against Argentina and Uruguay at last month’s Copa America.
El Salvador need the victory and although there’s plenty of promise to suggest they’re capable of collecting maximum points from their two Group B games, it’s hard to overlook the cold hard facts of recent form – W2-D4-L7 post Copa Centroamericana group-stage, netting two goals or more in a game against Nicaragua and St Kitts & Nevis (twice) across those 13. T
he money has come for Jamaica but I still think there’s a wee bit of juice left in the 8/9 from BetVictor on Jamaica -0.25 in the Asian Handicap market. Backing this selection means we’ll only lose half our stake should the game end in a draw but bank full profit should the Reggae Boyz bag the win.
Jamaica v El Salvador – Jamaica -0.25 Asian Handicap (8/9 BetVictor)