GROUP A at the Copa America comes to a close on Saturday night as Venezuela take on Bolivia. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) runs the rule over the best betting options.
Venezuela v Bolivia | Saturday 22nd June 2019, 00:30 | Premier Sports
Bolivia, as many expected, have struggled to make their mark at this year's Copa America. A hefty reason why they’re here in the first place is down to their strong home form at extremely high altitude which gives them a unique advantage. Without that trick up their sleeve, they’ve been found wanting.
A 3-0 loss in the opener against hosts Brazil was to be expected; they started bright enough in round two going 1-0 up against Peru before being pegged back and ultimately downed 3-1 by Los Incas. They therefore can’t finish in the top two of the group but still have the slimmest of chances of finishing third, but it would be a miracle if they did so.
Bolivia are not used to coming out and playing attacking football so it will be interesting to see what approach gaffer Eduardo Villages takes given the circumstances they find themselves in.
For Venezuela, this is a huge game. Back-to-back 0–0 draws have been their results thus far, sticking it out with 10 men against Peru before surprisingly, and quite luckily, keeping Brazil scoreless. That game saw the Selecao denied a trio of goals by the infamous VAR – La Vinotinto were on the right side of technology and given Peru’s win against Bolivia it could prove a decisive point.
The group dynamics dictate that they need to win this really, and so they should. Opposition Bolivia have failed to win away from their own country in 65 of their last 68 games, an insanely bad record. True Venezuela aren’t on home turf here either but that should give them a great deal of confidence coming into this clash.
Martinez backed to strike
I personally think it would be foolish if Venezuela head honcho Rafael Dudamel doesn’t go a bit more attacking here and give some support to lone frontman Salomon Rondon. I’m desperate for Atlanta striker and MLS goalscoring record-breaker Josef Martinez to get a start. La Vinotinto haven’t scored yet and although their approach has been largely defensive, they have to show a bit more in the final third, especially against a weak backline.
Martinez bagged a hat-trick in the last meeting between these two so he has previous against La Verde. If he does start then I’ll be getting on the 11/8 (SkyBet) on him notching against this far from watertight Bolivia defence. Do wait for team news though and if he doesn’t start but comes on he could be an in-play bet too at a bigger price.
Although Bolivia have to win this to have any chance of progression, it’s not in their nature to go all-out early doors. They’ll more likely take a steady early approach and try push on later when they need to. Therefore I’ll take the 7/2 (Marathon) on Draw/Venezuela in the Double Result market.
At the break, all four games this pair have played have ended as draws at the interval, three 0-0’s and one 1-1. Ultimately though, the Venezuelans have the superior quality and should pick off the Bolivians as they press as time progresses.
Along similar lines, I’m also going to chuck in the 29/25 (Marathon) on the Second Half being the Highest Scoring Half. Given the need for a win from both, but particularly Bolivia it has to open up at some point. It’s a bet I regularly like to get on in the final game of a group stage given the dynamics that it throws up. The same bet is odds-on elsewhere so there’s seemingly a decent slice of value in this selection.