The English Winter Break is in play for the first time this season and I think it has not gone as well as the Premier League and the top clu...
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Copa America 2016 Quarter Final Picks (June 16-18)
Copa America Quarter Final Picks
The expanded Copa America tournament has been positive and I think I much prefer the idea that the top two teams in each Group making the Quarter Finals compared with the previous format that saw four of twelve teams out of the competition after eighteen games are played.
Not many would have expected Brazil to make up one of the eight teams that were not making it through the Group Stage this time around, but that goal I have imaged above cost them their place. It was a clear handball from Peru and it was shocking the goal was allowed to stand, although the dismissal of Dunga after the tournament was no surprise.
Most of the other nations aside from Uruguay, whose failure has been covered up by Brazil's surprise defeat in the Groups, have made it through to the last eight. We should have four solid looking games to look forward to as we go forward and I am looking forward to the games this week.
Thursday 16th June
United States v Ecuador Pick: Any time you get to the Quarter Final of a major international tournament, the tension in the matches tends to rise with so much on the line. For both the United States and Ecuador, this game represents a big chance for one of these nations to perhaps become a surprise Semi Finalist and I am convinced both teams are very satisfied with the opposition they face in the last eight.
I wouldn't read too much into the narrow 1-0 win the United States had over Ecuador in the friendly games in preparation for Euro 2016. Friendlies usually have a lot of subs to take away some of the flow of the game and you have to think both teams will be more confident now with three games behind them in the Copa America.
One thing it does point to is a tight game and I would be surprised if we see something different to that. The United States have back to back clean sheets and Ecuador kept clean sheets in 2 of their 3 Group games and I don't think either will want to give too much away.
The layers are also expecting a tight game and have shrunk those prices, but I think they have underestimated the chance of one, or both, of these teams not scoring in regular time. Neither team will want to give anything away and both have shown they are very good defensively and the prices look tempting enough to back that to be the outcome of the first Copa America Quarter Final.
Friday 17th June
Peru v Colombia Pick: This is a difficult Quarter Final to read because I can't help think Colombia are a little short in the win-draw-win market to win this one in normal time. That might be down to how impressive Peru have looked in the tournament, and they have previous with two Semi Finals in the previous two Copa America tournaments.
The win over Brazil was more than a little controversial though for Peru and they surprised Ecuador early in that match before being pegged back to a 2-2 draw. It would be a surprise if Colombia came in without focus knowing a run to the Final is a real possibility with the way the draw has shaped up and you also can't ignore the goals that Colombia are scoring.
They have managed to score at least twice in 6 straight games which makes them a big threat to a Peru team that look to defend properly and hope for goals on the counter.
In this one, like many of these Knock Out ties, the first goal is going to be critical. You do have to feel that Colombia will be able to control the match if they are in that position, and their recent record against Peru is very strong with 3 wins from the last 5, although they haven't won any of their last 3 against them in the Copa America.
I just think Colombia are scoring plenty of goals at the moment and it might be difficult for Peru to match that output over the course of ninety minutes. A late goal for Colombia should produce the final nail in the Peru coffin and I will look for Colombia to win by two goals and cover the Asian Handicap.
Saturday 18th June
Argentina v Venezuela Pick: Throughout this Copa America tournament Venezuela have been able to exceed expectations but this would be bigger than anything before if they can beat the favourites Argentina. They have defended well in their games, but keeping clean sheets against Jamaica and a Uruguay team missing Luis Suarez is not the same as facing an Argentina team that have scored ten goals in three games.
It would be a historical moment for Venezuela who only beat Argentina for the first time in the last set of World Cup Qualifiers. Beating Argentina in a major international tournament would be the biggest result in the history of Venezuela, but I simply can't see that happening here.
This Argentina squad have so much attacking talent that it is going to take something special for Venezuela to keep them from taking over this game.
If Argentina get their noses in front, it will be very difficult for Venezuela to find the right balance to get back into this one and I think the favourites will be able to dominate this game. I can see Argentina being in a position to kill off Venezuela on the counter attack late in this game once their opponents begin chasing in Knock Out football and I will back Argentina to win this by at least two goals.
Mexico v Chile Pick: This might be the most competitive and exciting of the four Quarter Finals at the Copa America as Mexico face off against Chile. Both teams are likely to put some attacking football together and I can see this being very good for the fans in attendance with a Semi Final place on the line.
That Semi Final place might create tension but I do think both teams will feel they are better going forward than backwards and so should give it a real go with the attacking players on display.
I do favour Mexico on the current form to perhaps have too much for Chile, but I think the defending Champions will play their part in this one and I think the layers might be wrong at pricing up at least three goals as big as they have.
I do fear a situation where it is 1-1 going into the final fifteen minutes which might see both teams begin to be a little cautious, but I am expecting attacking football through the game and I will back at least three goals to be shared out.
MY PICKS: United States-Ecuador Both NOT to Score @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Colombia - 1 Asian Handicap @ 2.15 Bet365 (2 Units)
Argentina - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Bet365 (2 Units)
Mexico-Chile Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.25 William Hill (2 Units)
Quarter Final Update: 2-2, + 0.20 Units
Group Stage Final: 11-12, + 3.45 Units