Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Copa Semis - Best Bets

Copa America Semi-Finals Betting Preview

Tournaments are defined by what happens in the knockout stages, and this year’s Copa America needs good semi-finals. There were just two goals scored in the four quarter-finals, both by Argentina, as defensive football and VAR took centre-stage.

Brazil are the favourites to lift the trophy at 3/4. Their opponents, Argentina, come next at 15/4, as do Chile, while Peru are the outsiders at 10/1.

Tuesday, July 2 (ESPN+, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Brazil vs. Argentina

Brazil and Argentina is the purest of footballing rivalries. There are no major historical issues between the two countries; this is a battle for global soccer supremacy.

But big question marks hang over both teams despite their progress to the semi-finals. Brazil are yet to concede a goal, but they have played four relatively weak opponents, and two of their matches - against Venezuela and Paraguay - have ended goalless. They seem to lack true penetration without Neymar, though in both games they were desperately unlucky not to score.

Argentina’s group was a repeat of the World Cup. A disastrous first two games followed by a do-or-die victory to see them through.

Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni finally seems to have settled on a system and a team. This involves a flat back four, three in midfield with Messi operating behind Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez. Performances are gradually improving, but they are yet to put in a fully cohesive, convincing display.

They are naturally attacking - with their riches in attack and lack of quality defenders, they have to play to their strengths. But that means it will be an entirely different test for Brazil, who have played against four packed defences so far. Their lack of a true penalty box operator will mean less when there is more space to break in behind the opposition defence.

Brazil are 4/5 favourites to win in normal time which, given they are at home, looks about right. But the price that really jumps out is the 13/10 about over 2.5 goals. Argentina can definitely get on the scoresheet with the attacking players at their disposal, and it would be a surprise if Brazil failed to score at least twice against an Argentine backline that is still desperately unconvincing.

Tip: Over 2.5 goals at 13/10
Prediction: Brazil 3-1 Argentina

Wednesday, July 3 (ESPN+, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Chile vs. Peru

Both Chile and Peru upset the odds to win their quarter-finals after drawing 0-0 and winning on penalties. For Chile, the victory was richly deserved after having two goals dubiously ruled out by VAR in normal time.

The win was a huge vindication of under-pressure manager Reinaldo Rueda, who is still managing to coax big performances out of his ageing squad. Colombia had arguably been the most impressive team in the group stages, yet Chile nullified them, with Erick Pulgar especially good in the centre of the midfield, and created the better chances.

Peru were much luckier, as this time it was their opponents Uruguay who were dealt a rough hand by VAR. They have scored in just one of their four matches at the Copa, in a 3-1 win against Bolivia, the weakest team in the tournament.

Yet it was Peru, not Chile, who made it to the 2018 World Cup, and the 17/20 about Chile winning in normal time looks too short to back.

Both sides struggle to put away their chances in the final third, with Peru especially wasteful, and this match could well go to extra time, and the 9/4 on the draw looks the best value available.

Tip: Draw at 9/4
Prediction: Chile 1-1 Peru

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