Tournament soccer tends to throw up shocks. Let's break down the groups for Copa America and start considering some soccer picks for this years event.
The 2016 Copa America kicks off in a couple of weeks at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. The first game will showcase the talents of the USA and Colombia in a match that may well end up deciding who ends up topping group A. Let's think this through and start considering some soccer picks.
Topping Group A will be the target for everyone in that section as it should mean avoiding Brazil in the 2nd round and although Brazil may not be the force they once were, they are still a side best avoided.
The surprise package of the last World Cup, Costa Rica, and Paraguay make up the rest of Group A. If Costa Rica can put in the kind of performances we saw from them in the summer of 2014 then this could be a tightly contested group.
Both Colombia and the USA are +137 to win this group with Pinnacle Sports, Costa Rica are +500 and Paraguay are expected to be the group whipping boys at +1000. Of those 4 sides I prefer Colombia and their attacking talent should give them an edge in this group. Their defence may let them down over the course of the competition though.
Group B has a clear winner really. Brazil (-350 to top Group B) have won this competition 8 times and will be looking to make that 9 times this summer. They will be relying heavily on the talents of Neymar Jr. who's just come off the back of a long and demanding European season. His ability to live up to the demands placed on him will be examined closely this summer.
Ecuador (+400 to top Group B), Peru (+900) and Haiti (+6600) make up the other 3 sides in Group B and Ecuador should have enough about them to take second place and face up against the winners of Group A (Colombia?).
Uruguay will be expected to top Group C ahead of Venezuela, Mexico and Jamaica. Uruguay have won this competition more times than any other nation and will be looking to add a 16th title to their list of honours. Another Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez, will be expected to lead the line and after his fantastic season in La Liga he'll be well motivated to perform well. He missed Copa America 2015 through suspension after “that” bite and this will be his first major tournament since returning to the fold at International level.
Mexico should take second place in the group but that could lead to a tricky match up in the second round as they will then face the winners of Group D which should be…..
Argentina are the most likely side to top Group D though they will be facing up against the 2015 Copa America winners Chile who will be looking to retain the title they won for the first time last year. Panama and Bolivia aren't expected to make much of an impact in this competition and you can expect they will dip out at the first possible opportunity.
At +900 Colombia look like a decent long soccer odds bet for this competition but their defence lacks real solidity and that could be their eventual undoing. Favourites for 2016 are Argentina (+225) and it's hard to see past the 2014 losing World Cup finalists for this one. Tournament soccer does tend to throw up shocks though and I wouldn't bet against us seeing another shock this year.