Argentina (-800, 2.5 o/u) vs. Paraguay (+350)
A David-versus-Goliath matchup is on tap for the Copa America today as tournament favorites Argentina host Paraguay (ranked No. 85 in the world by FIFA) at Estadio La Portada de La Serena in La Serena, Chile (5:30 PM Eastern).
Today’s game will be the tournament opener for both teams, which join Uruguay and Jamaica in Group B. Argentina and Uruguay are the heavy favorites to claim the two automatic berths in the knockout phase of the tournament from the group. But, with the top-two third-place teams also advancing to the quarterfinals in the 12-team tournament, Paraguay will feel they have a real shot to move on, as well.
Unfortunately for the Paraguayans, the team hasn’t had much success of late; they have played three friendlies in 2015 and have yet to win. They drew a strong Costa Rica squad away (which was a decent result), but then lost to Mexico (1-0) in the US, and only managed a draw at home against Honduras (2-2).
Indeed, the team has only one win in its last ten matches – a 2-1 home victory over Peru in late 2014 – and has suffered setbacks against mediocre squads likes China and South Korea (both away) over that span.
Making matters worse, they’ll be stepping up in competition when they take the pitch against Argentina. Currently No. 3 in the world, the Argentinians are coming off an appearance in the 2014 World Cup final (where they ultimately came up short in extra time against Germany) and boast arguably the best player in the world, Lionel Messi.
Argentina come into the tournament hot, winning three straight to stay perfect in 2015. In their last contest, La Albiceleste proved that their offense is not solely dependent on the “Little Wizard” (Mess), shellacking Bolivia 5-0 on the strength of three goals from Sergio Aguero and two from Angel Di Maria.
Betting wise, four of Argentina’s last six matches have seen three or more goals; the same goes for Paraguay. Look for these two squads to hit the over (2.5) today.
(Photo credit: Fanny Schertzer (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)