Copa América moves from the Group Stage to the Knockout Round and the Quarterfinals with a match Thursday between the US and Ecuador in Seattle, so let's check the soccer odds.
The US vs Ecuador is followed by a Peru-Colombia showdown in East Rutherford on Friday and then on Saturday by two wonderful Quarterfinals between Lionel Messi and Argentina and Venezuela in Foxboro, Massachusetts and Mexico and Chile in Santa Clara, California in maybe the best match of the four. Let's look at the matchups for this Round, the Futures Odds updates heading into this Knockout Stage and make a soccer pick or Thursday, Friday and the Copa América winner.
Introduction: Final Eight Set For Copa América Centenario Quarterfinals
With Group Stage play ending on Tuesday night, Copa América Centenario will now enter the Knockout Stage with the winners of the four Groups (USA, Peru, Mexico and Argentina) now playing runners-up from other groups (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile). And the biggest surprise from the just-completed Group Stage was that legendary Soccer nation of Brazil was eliminated, causing the Seleção to fire Head Coach Dunga on Tuesday just two weeks before the start of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games which are being held in Brazil and start Aug. 5. Group D's Argentina scored the most goals in the three Group Stage games (10) and also had the biggest Goal Differential (+9) after cruising to an easy win over Bolivia on Tuesday night, 3-0 (with Messi sitting to start) on 1st Half goals from Erik Lamela (3'), Ezequiel Lavezzi (15') and Victor Cuesta (32'). And La Albiceleste and GK Sergio Romero have also allowed the least number of goals (1) in the Group Stage, the lone score against them coming on a José Pedro Fuenzalida score deep into stoppage time (90'+3) in a 2-1 win over Chile in their Group D opener on June 8 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The four winners will next move on to the Semifinals which start on Tuesday, June 21 at NRG Stadium in Houston where the winner of the USA-Ecuador match will play the winner of the Argentina-Venezuela affair meaning a potential Messi-USA showdown in the Lone Star State in a week. The second Semifinal will take place on Wednesday June 22 at Soldier Field in Chicago and will see the winner of the Peru-Colombia match facing the winner of the Mexico-Chile match in the Windy City, making this bottom half of the final 8 bracket a bitch with Mexico entering play with a 22-match unbeaten streak in international play. The two Semifinal winners will then meet in the 2016 Copa América 2016 Final on Sunday, June 26 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Fox Sports 1 USA, Fox Soccer 2GO, Fox sports GO, fuboTV, Univision Deportes USA, Univision USA (US), Premier Sports (UK), 8 p.m. EDT/ 5 p.m. PDT) with the third place game set to be held in Glendale, California on June 25.
Here is the upcoming Quarterfinal schedule with updated (highest) Futures Book odds for the eight remaining countries in this quadrennial regional tournament which is playing a special 100th anniversary edition which includes not only teams from South America (CONMEBOL) but also teams from the Caribbean, Central and North America (CONCACAF) this time around.
Copa América Quarterfinals (Knockout) Round Schedule
Thursday June 16—USA vs Ecuador, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, 9:30 p.m. ET
Friday, June 17—Peru vs. Colombia, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 18—Argentina vs. Venezuela, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass, 7 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 18—Mexico vs. Chile, Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California, 10 p.m. ET
Futures Book Odds to Win Copa América Centenario 2016
Argentina 4/5 (Paddy Power)
Colombia 13/2 (Paddy Power)
Mexico 13/2 (Paddy Power)
Chile 9/1 (BetVictor)
USA 16/1 (Betway)
Ecuador 18/1 (Paddy Power, Betway)
Peru 50/1 (Betway)
Venezuela 80/1 (Betway)
Copa América Quarterfinalists Form Guides (FIFA World Rankings)
Conclusions: Will Lionel Messi Finally Help Argentina Win a Major Tournament?
So we end up having five South American sides and three North or Central American sides left and we can definitely expect the CONMEBOL countries to want to protect their pride against the CONCACAF troika even though this centennial tourney is being played on North American (US) soil this time around and even though Clint Dempsey and the USMNT theoretically have the Home Site and Crowd advantages and El Tri (Mexico) has a 22-game unbeaten run going. And with Argentina (9/4 opening odds to win Copa América, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Chile (6/1 opening odds to win Copa América, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Carlos Bacca (Anytime Goalscorer +150, Bet365), James Rodriguez (Anytime Goalscorer +187, Coral) and Colombia (8/1 opening odds to win Copa América, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Peru (50/1 opening odds to win Copa América, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and now-longshot Venezuela (80/1 opening odds to win Copa América, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) all left, odds are the winner of this tourney will come from South America and will likely have those prolific dudes that know how to simply put the ball in the net in Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) on their talented chalk-worthy Argentinian Roster.
And getting through that top half of the Bracket for silverware-hungry Argentina appears much easier—beating Venezuela in the Quarterfinals and then facing the US-Ecuador (US +170, Ecuador +180, Draw +210, 888Sport) winner from Thursday just to get to the Final—as opposed to the dogfight that will be happening in the bottom half of the Bracket between upstart Peru-Colombia (Colombia -162, Peru +500, Draw +275, Bet365) on Friday night and Mexico-Chile on Saturday and whomever survives that mess. Sure, we could still have a US-Mexico Final for the Centenario to properly thank the South Americans for inviting us and letting us have this tournament on North American soil for a change, but Logic and the Soccer Odds say that we're probably looking at an Argentina-Chile, Argentina-Colombia or maybe an Argentina-Mexico championship game if the cream ends up rising to the top from here on and if the 28-year-old Messi can prove he can help finally win a major competition for his native Argentina and La Albiceleste.
THURSDAY PICK: US-Ecuador Under 2½ -154 (William Hill)
FRIDAY PICK: Colombia -162 over Peru (Bet365)
FUTURES WINNER PICK: Argentina -125 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)