Copa America Centenario Foreword & USA vs. Colombia Picks

Nikki Adams

Friday, June 3, 2016 4:23 PM GMT

USA hosting the Copa America. We preview the celebrated competition and the opening match between USA and Colombia, and bring you a winning soccer pick on the game.

Copa America Centenario – It’s My 100th Birthday!
Copa America celebrates its 100th birthday this year and to mark the occasion the event is being held for the first time outside of South America. Copa America, like most international competitions, follows a four-year interval since 1975 when it was rebranded from the South American Championship (began in 1916) to Copa America. Last year marked the 44th instalment of the competition and it was both hosted and won by Chile.

Copa America mainly features nations from the CONMEBOL, but given there are only ten nations in the category two additional guest nations need to be invited to round out the proceedings. As this is a special edition of the event, a record six CONCACAF nations have been invited – USA, Mexico, Panama, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Haiti – making it the largest ever with 16 participating nations.

The format of the competition has 16 nations divided into four groups, out of which the winners and runners-up will emerge into the quarterfinals. The sudden death knockouts (or playoffs) will decide the champions. As well, there will also be an additional playoff to decide third and fourth place finishers.

Given the size of the competition, the fact that its being held in the United States and, importantly, some of the best footballers the world over – the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Alex Sanchez, to name a few – are participating, it’s a bit of a big deal. Certainly, a soccer betting delight.

 

Hosts USA Have High Hopes
Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT have high hopes for the competition, possibly to pull off a similar feat as Chile in 2015, who both hosted and won the event. Chile defeated tournament favourites Argentina in the final, what marked La Albiceleste’s second major defeat after losing to Germany in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

USA are amongst the top five favourites at the soccer betting exchange, priced at +1000 to win outright. That puts them on par with Colombia on the Copa America odds board, but behind top favourites Argentina at +188, second favourites Brazil at +450, third favourites Chile at +750 and fourth favourites Uruguay and Mexico, both at +900.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side is coming off a respectable World Cup account in which they reached the knockouts, emerging from a group of death that included eventual champions Germany. But that’s hardly enough to consider them as valid contenders, or is it?

It’s a source of debate amongst soccer betting fans. What we must be able to agree on is that home advantage has made a major impact on this market outlook – fact is, it’s not often USA hobnobs with the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay on the soccer odds board. The USMNT has yet to prove anything meaningful on the big stage.

That amounts to a lot of pressure on the Americans. If there were a barometer to determine whether this market outlook is spot on or just wildly optimistic it has to be the opening match of the tournament between USA and Colombia, set to get underway on Friday, June 3 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. Inasmuch as the outright winner markets put USA and Colombia on equal footing at +1000 to triumph in this special edition Copa America, the outcome will set them apart significantly. If the Americans win, it will go a long way to underscoring the market outlook. By that same token a Colombia win will prove USA’s soccer odds false.

 

USA vs. Colombia Match Betting Preview and Picks
Despite the fact that the Americans are on par with Colombia at several sportsbooks in outright betting markets to win it all – and they slightly edge Colombia in group betting markets to triumph in Group A – the match betting markets take a completely contrarian stance. It’s Colombia that emerge as the favourites with most sportsbooks, matched at +140 soccer odds or thereabouts to win in 90 minutes. The USMNT is trading at rather large +220 soccer odds to win by comparison. Heck, even the draw is slightly shorter at +200. That’s enough to do anybody’s head in.

Fact is Colombia have serious designs on the trophy. They are riding a three-game winning streak into the competition having beaten Bolivia, Ecuador and Haiti (a triplet of fixtures that includes WC qualifying and a friendly). As it is, Colombia are fifth in the CONMEBOL standings with a 3-1-2 record, sat ahead of Brazil by a point.

USA, meanwhile, are trailing in their WC qualification, sat second in their division after going 2-1-1 in the competition. Still, form is a source of optimism as they come into the Copa America with a four-game winning streak that includes wins over Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Bolivia – the latter three friendly games in the lead up to Copa America.

The American’s will certainly be fired up for this clash and they can be optimistic about their chances despite the soccer odds. Under Jurgen Klinsmann the USMNT has improved considerably. However, they haven’t beaten Colombia in three previous meetings that date back to 2007 and include a 1-0 loss in Copa America and a couple of friendly defeats (as recently as 2014 when they lost 2-1).

Colombia were quarterfinalists at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (l. to hosts Brazil). With James, Cuadrado and Bacca all potentially starting in the line-up along with keeper David Ospina manning the posts, the Colombian’s quality is undeniable. As such, we’re backing the Colombians on our soccer pick to make a winning start against the Americans. Take Colombia at their tempting +140 soccer odds to win.

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Free Soccer Picks: Colombia at +158 to win
Best Line Offered:  at Pinnacle