River Plate will once again lead the Argentinian efforts in the Copa Libertadores and they can end the recent Brazilian dominance of the competition.
Who do Bettors Favor?
It is no surprise to see that clubs from Argentina and Brazil dominate the futures markets at the best online sportsbooks with the Copa Libertadores in its early stages. Flamengo and Palmeiras, the finalists from last year head a powerful Brazilian contingent, while there is also some market support for tournament regulars from Argentina, River Plate and Boca Juniors.
|To Win Copa Libertadores|
How does the Copa Libertadores Work?
The tournament is the South American equivalent of the Champions League or the Concacaf Champions League and features teams from across the continent, though the stronger nations with a better record have more entries. For instance, this year’s tournament features nine Brazilian teams, six from Argentina and four each from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
The 47 teams are whittled down to 32 via three qualifying rounds, and the tournament proper begins on April 5 with of eight groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group progress to a knock out stage which concludes with the final in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on October 29.
River Plate Head Argentine Challenge
If there is going to be an Argentine winner of the Copa Libertadores in 2022, it is most likely to be River Plate. They returned to the top of Argentine football for the first time since 2014 last year and did it in some style, finishing seven points clear at the top of the Primera Division. Winners of the Copa Libertadores in 2015 and 2018, they reached the semi-finals in 2019 and the quarter finals last season, so they are not lacking in experience when it comes to this tournament.
Copa de la Liga Profesional champions Colon will be hopeful of making an impact on the continental stage, but the club has very little experience in the Copa Libertadores and will be in the third Pot when the seeds for the Group stage are drawn.
A better alternative from among the Argentine contenders is Boca Juniors. The six-time winners and five-time runners up have the second-best all-time Copa Libertadores record of all teams and were runners up in 2018 but they haven’t won the tournament since 2007 but now have former player Sebastian Battaglia as manager in place of Miguel Angel Russo and that might bring some new energy to the squad.
Brazil Have a Strong Hand Again
While the two South American powerhouses have dominated this tournament this century so far, it is Brazil that has had the upper hand recently. The last two Copa Libertadores finals have been all-Brazilian affairs, and Flamengo won the competition in 2019.
Palmeiras have won the tournament in each of the last two years and that dominance has come despite the fact that they haven’t won the Brazilian Championship since 2018. So the fact that they finished third in the 2021 edition, 18 points behind the winners Atletico Mineiro, may have little bearing on their prospects in the continental competition.
Regular contenders Flamengo, who finished second in the Campeonato Brasileiro last season, will be among the favorites again but there won’t be much value in their odds, so the league winners may be a better bet if you want a Brazilian team on your side in the Futures market.
Atletico won this competition in 2013, reached the quarter finals in 2016 and the semi-finals last year, when they pushed the eventual winners all the way, eventually losing on the away goals rule. Last season was also only their second Brazilian championship, the previous success coming in 1971, so they are clearly a team on the up and could be a good bet in the winners’ market.
Underdogs to Look Out For
Ecuador’s Barcelona had a good tournament last season, topping a tough group and then progressing to the semi-finals where they were knocked out by Flamengo. However, they struggled domestically last season, fading badly in the Ecuadorian Serie A Second Stage and Independiente del Valle were the surprise winners, claiming their first-ever title.
Renato Paiva’s team may not have the same domestic reputation as Barcelona but they have some form when it comes to the Copa Libertadores. They have regularly qualified for the tournament, reaching the final in 2016 and the last 16 in 2020, and are in the second Pot of qualified teams, which means that they should have a good chance of making it through to the knockout stages again, and with the final to be staged on home soil, they have every incentive to progress.
The other underdog that could be worth going with is Atletico Nacional. One of only two Colombian teams ever to have won the Copa Libertadores, they won the league stage of both domestic tournaments last season although didn’t win either Torneo. They have to progress through the qualifying stages to get to the main tournament but that shouldn’t be a problem and they could offer some value here.