Copa America 2021 Recommended Bets:
|Brazil to win Copa America||2/1||BetVictor|
|Lionel Messi to be Top Scorer||7/4||888Sport||Uruguay to Win Group A||3/1||BetVictor|
|Venezuela to reach the Knockout Stage||6/4||888Sport|
*Odds correct as of May 19, 2021
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This will be an unwieldy football competition for several reasons. First, matches will be split between Colombia and Argentina, two countries whose capitals are six and a half hours apart by air. This is the result of an awkward compromise based on both nations’ desire to host the 2030 World Cup.
Argentina have announced a joint-bid with Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay and hoped to use this Copa America as a demonstration of their hosting capabilities. Colombia felt they should have been next in line to host the World Cup in South America, so CONMEBOL handed them half of the Copa’s games by way of appeasement.
The format is just as awkward. CONMEBOL only has 10 nations and usually invites at least two guests from other confederations to compete in South America’s flagship tournament. Qatar and Australia have pulled out, though, leaving two groups of five. The top four in each group will qualify for the knockout phase, which means 20 group games will be played to eliminate just two teams.
For all that, the Copa America promises to be a highly watchable tournament. The South American club game has fallen behind Europe, but the continent still produces many of the world’s best players. It's a competitive outright market and the fact the competition is coming on the back of a draining domestic season means we could be in store for a surprise or two.
So, where should you place your bets for the 2021 Copa America? Here are our tips below.
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Outright Winner: Brazil
Brazil are the holders following their triumph on home soil in 2019. The Selecao were the best team in that tournament, although in truth there was not much in the way of stiff competition. Peru did brilliantly to reach the final, but Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay disappointed at one stage or another, and Chile’s golden generation was clearly past its best.
Brazil are 2/1 with BetVictor and arguably have the strongest squad of the tournament. Neymar missed the last Copa through injury and will be desperate to get his hands on the trophy for the first time. Marquinhos, Arthur, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Vinicius Junior and Roberto Firmino are all playing for major European clubs, so the team has an abundance of talent to choose from.
Tite is an astute tactician who successfully navigated the high-pressure environment that was a Copa America on home soil. There are still doubts over one or two positions in his team, not least at centre-forward, but Brazil have the talent and experience to win back-to-back Copas for the third time.
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Argentina are just about holding onto favouritism at 7/4 with Paddy Power, as Lionel Messi seeks his first international trophy at senior level. Home advantage could play into their hands, although Argentina will have to fly to Colombia for the quarter-finals if they finish second in Group A. There is talent in the squad, not least in the form of Messi, but several key players are well into their 30s, while Lionel Scaloni is still untested as a manager.
Colombia last won the Copa America when they hosted it in 2001 and they are 5/1 with William Hill to repeat that feat this year. They have been inconsistent in World Cup qualifying and look to be in transition between generations.
Uruguay can never be written off and are sure to attract plenty of support at 8/1 with Betfair, although much will depend on how fresh Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are after a tough season. The 15-time champions have a gifted crop of youngsters in their ranks, but this might be a Copa America too soon for their rising stars.
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Top Scorer: Lionel Messi
Top scorer awards at international tournaments are often won in the group stage, and the format of this Copa makes that even more likely. A couple of braces in the first five games could set a player on his way to the prize.
Messi is perhaps the best choice in this category. There are doubts over Argentina’s defence in particular, but they should score plenty of goals in Group A, especially against Bolivia who are South America’s weakest team. Messi will take penalties and free-kicks, and Argentina should go far in the competition.
Suarez could run him close, but a relatively cautious Uruguay side will probably not score as many goals as Argentina. With uncertainty over who will start up front for Brazil and Colombia, pick a motivated Messi to finish as top scorer.
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Special Selection: Uruguay to Win Group A
Argentina might be outright favourites to win the tournament, but that does not mean they are guaranteed to finish top of Group A. It is still unclear exactly how far this team has come since the debacle that was the 2018 World Cup, and it would not be a huge surprise if they suffered at least one defeat in the group stage.
Uruguay might not be as entertaining as their neighbours, but there is reason to believe they will be more consistent over the course of the group phase. Unlike Scaloni, their veteran manager Oscar Tabarez knows how to guide a team through a tournament, and a useful blend of youth and experience could see them advance to the quarter-finals as one of the two group winners.
Special Selection: Venezuela to reach the Knockout Stage
Venezuela were once the whipping boys of South American football, but the nation from the north of the continent has made great progress in recent years. They reached the final of the Under-20 World Cup in 2017 (where England beat them 1-0 thanks to a goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin) and some of the members of that team have graduated to the senior squad.
Venezuela only lost 1-0 to Brazil in a World Cup qualifier last November, before beating Chile 2-1 a few days later. They are a national team on the up, so back Venezuela to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Copa America.
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