Mexico (-325) vs Jamaica (+1100), Draw (+415)
Mexico (1-0-0, 3 pts) got off to a fast start in the Copa America with an impressive 3-1 win over Uruguay. Their second challenge should be easier when they meet Jamaica (0-0-1, 0 pts) tomorrow at the Rose Bowl (Thursday, June 8, at 10:00 PM Eastern).
The win over Uruguay came on the strength of solid performances on both sides of the ball. Uruguay went down to ten men in the 45th minute, but Mexico were already up 1-0 and lost their own man to a red card in the 73rd minute. After Uruguay knotted the game at one, Rafael Marquez scored the winner in the 85th minute and Hector Herrera added an insurance marker in extra time.
Jamaica played well in 2015. They lost all three games in the Copa America by identical 1-0 results, but that belies their form. They were facing a trio of South American heavyweights -Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay – and acquitted themselves nicely.
They reached the 2015 Gold Cup final a month later, even beating the US on American soil in the semis.
Jamaican manager Winfried Schäfer is a true tactician who loves to make games as complicated as he can for opponents. He won’t be happy with the team’s start to this tournament, though. Jamaica fell 1-0 to Venezuela, one of the weakest sides in the bunch, in their opener. They looked like the better team to start, but gave up a goal in the 15th minute and went down to ten men a short while later. Jamaica continued to press for the equalizer, but it never came.
Mexico have won three straight over Jamaica, including the Gold Cup final in 2015 (3-1). They’ll have de facto homefield advantage playing in California, and the fan support they receive in US venues seems to help the team.
Mexico are big favorites for Thursdays game and there’s not much value on the moneyline, but the handicap is a different story. Mexico -1 is at even money. Take El Tri to win by two goals.
Pick: Mexico -1 (even).
(Photo Credit: Nizam Uddin (Flickr) CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)