BRAZIL as always are Copa America favourites but Lionel Messi will be desperate to get his hands on a major international trophy for the first time.

The action in South America started in the early hours of Saturday morning with Brazil massive odds on against Bolivia.

Neymar's withdrawal will give second favourites Argentina hope but they face a tough opener tonight against Colombia who are 9-1 fourth favourites at Ladbrokes.

Hosts Brazil were 5-4 before kicking off with Uruguay 7-1 at bet365 and holders Chile 12-1 with Paddy Power.

The rest of the 12 nations taking part – including invited guests Japan and Qatar – are written off by the bookies and it's difficult to see beyond the Brazilians.

Argentina's new rookie boss Lionel Scaloni was delighted to persuade Messi to take part and his reign has started with friendly wins against Morocco and Nicaragua

Colombia also have a new man at the helm in the shape of the more experienced Carlos Queiroz.

Scaloni has revealed his starting line-up with Messi in a familiar front three alongside Angel di Maria and Sergio Aguero. The midfield will be elatively inexperienced with Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes and Guido Rodriguez, while Tagliafico will be joined in defence by Nicolas Otamendi, German Pezzella and Renzo Saravia with Franco Armani in goal.

Both sides excel in attack and are sometimes leaky at the back so goals in the Group B opener looks the way to go.

Over 2.5 goals has a chance at 11-8 with Marathonbet while both to score is evens at Ladbrokes.

Argentina, a best 15-4 to win the tournament, are 27-20 with Unibet to win in while Colombia are 13-5 to cause a shock.

The favourites are unbeaten in against their rivals and one bet I like is Argentina and both to score at 17-4 with 888sport.

With the likes of Messi, Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala on show for Argentina and Radamal Falcao, James Rodriguez and Zapata in the Colombian ranks picking a first scorer isn't easy.

But when in doubt a good option is to turn to Messi and he is 4-1 at boylesports to score first and 7-5 at Ladbrokes to score.

Colombian's top hitman Falcao is 6-1 with Unibet to striker the opener and 8-5 just to score.

Messi is 3-1 with bet365 to finish tournament top scorer ahead of Brazil's Gabriel Jesus at 5-1 and Uruguay duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at 8s.

Saturday's other game is in Brazil's Group B and features Venezuela v Peru. The Venezuelans stunned Argentina 3-1 in a March friendly and are a side on the up who could surprise a few.

They reached the Under-20 World Cup Final two years ago and many of those players will be involved while up top they have quality in the shape of Salomon Rondon and Josef Martinez.

Peru have reached the quarter-finals eight times in a row but have an ageing squad that relies a lot on Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero.

Venezuela are as big as 12-5 to win so I'm backing them draw no bet at 5-4 with Unibet. Consider Newcastle hitman Rondon to score at 13-5 with Paddy Power.

Uruguay launch their campaign on Sunday night and look fairly priced at 4-5 with BetVictor to beat Ecuador.

Recommended Bets

  • Brazil to win Copa America
  • Argentina v Colombia btts
  • Messi to score
  • Venezuela draw no bet
  • Rondon to score
  • Uruguay
2 Comments
  1. grantheaney 2 months ago

    I had a wee peek at the Copa America markets today and I think there could be some profit to made with Uruguay. They are favourites to win their group and 10/11 is generous. Should they win their group and Brazil do the same it would open up an easier route to the final for Uruguay and I like the look of the 7/1 ( each way) on offer for Uruguay in the outright betting.

    The top goalscorer is always a popular pre-tournament market and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is as high as 10/1 with some firms. Gabriel Jesus normaly leads the line for Brazil but after a poor World Cup and bit part season at Man City, Firmino could feature regularly and looks overpriced for the host nation and tournament favourites.

    Here”s hoping for some bookie bashing in Brazil – good luck to everyone.

  2. smoothsailor 2 months ago

    Why don’t the tournament organisers of the coppa America invite the blue Brazil to participate if they are looking to have 16 teams without affecting the quality of team?

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