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Jul 06, 2019

Sunday's Best Bets

FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Betting Preview
Netherlands vs. USA (FOX, 11:00 a.m. ET)

There is a feeling among supporters that the United States women have done the hard part of winning their fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup. They are a shorter price to win the final against the Netherlands than they were in their quarterfinal victory over France and their 3-1 win against England in the semis.

The favourites are 2/5 to win the final in normal time with the draw available at 7/2, and the Dutch 13/2. The US are 1/6 to lift the trophy, with an upset priced at 4/1.

The US were given a scare by England, eventually winning the match 3-1. Their opponents had a goal ruled out for VAR, and also missed a late penalty with the score at 2-1.

But in the end the result was deserved, especially as Morgan Rapinoe, who had scored twice against both Spain and France in the last 16 and quarterfinals. The US showed again that their fitness, tactical nous are probably unparalleled in the women’s game.

The road to the final has been harder for the Netherlands. Though they ended up winning all three group games, they left it until the 92nd minute to beat New Zealand in their opener. Their last 16 win over Japan came courtesy of a rather lucky late penalty, while they needed extra time to edge out Sweden in the semifinals.

But they have a talented forward line, most notably Arsenal’s Vivianne Miadema.

The US have conceded in all their knockout games, showing that there is a genuine possibility of the Dutch winning this match.

The Americans will have to guard against complacency, but realistically they should win the final with some comfort. The best bet is to back an entertaining game, following the general theme of the tournament.

Tip: Over 2.5 goals at 17/20
Prediction: Netherlands 1-3 USA


CONMEBOL Copa America Final Betting Preview
Brazil vs. Peru (ESPN+, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Brazil are red-hot favourites to continue their run of winning every Copa America hosted on home soil as they face Peru in the legendary Maracana stadium in the final.

Peru are surprise finalists, and the fallout in Brazil if they fail to oblige at odds of 1/8 to lift the trophy will be huge and toxic. Peru are 6/1 to be victorious, while the 90 minute market has Brazil at 3/10, a draw at 4/1 and Peru at 10/1.

The road to the final has been slightly awkward for Brazil, who have been without Neymar all tournament. At times, they have had to win ugly - in the 3-0 opening day win against Bolivia as well as the 2-0 semi-final win against Argentina. They had to defend for long periods against Argentina, and were grateful to the efficiency in front of goal of forward pair of Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino, both of whom have struggled to make that centre-forward spot their own.

Twice they have been held to 0-0 draws by unfashionable, yet stubborn opposition in Venezuela and Paraguay, the latter being defeated on penalties in the quarters.

Only once has it all clicked - and that came in the 5-0 demolition of Peru in São Paulo. There, Brazil got in front early, partly thanks to some suicidal Peruvian defending, and ran away with an easy win.

Before the semifinals, Peru had only beaten Bolivia. They were absurdly lucky to qualify through the quarters against Uruguay, winning on penalties after their opponents had had three goals ruled out by VAR. But they turned in arguably the result of the tournament to upset Chile 3-0 in the semi-finals. Again though, Peru were helped by terrible mistakes early on from Chile, and their goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was the man of the match as Peru lost the shot count by 19 to 9.

Peru are unpredictable, and no-one symbolises that more than Gallese, who was hopeless in the loss to Brazil. They are a quick, exciting team, but there is a lack of height in the side as well as a tendency to miss big chances when it matters.

The South American mantra is that finals are there to be won; they are not there to be played. Do not expect a classic. Brazil have not won a trophy since the 2007 Copa America, and any win here will do.

Tip: Brazil to win to nil at 4/5
Prediction: Brazil 2-0 Peru


CONCACAF Gold Cup Final Betting Preview
Mexico vs. United States (FS1, 9:00 p.m. ET)

The big question at the start of every CONCACAF Gold Cup is: “can anyone stop Mexico or the US”? Sometimes, as in the last two editions, we have to wait until the final to find out. Now, we know already. The two heavyweights have safely negotiated the group stage and two knockout rounds to reach the final.

But the road to Soldier Field, Chicago, has been tough for both sides. The US won their first two group games by an aggregate of 10 goals to zero, but their last three wins have all been much closer.

First they beat Panama 1-0, then they won by the same scoreline against lowly Curaçao, who had been ranked 250/1 outsiders to win the competition. The semis saw a match against Jamaica, losing finalists in the last two Gold Cups. The match was relatively even, with the US narrowly winning the shot count 18-16, and had to wait until the 87th minute before the magnificent Christian Pulisic put the game out of sight to seal a 3-1 win.

Although Mexico sailed through an easy group, their run in the knockout stages has been more fraught than their opponents.

Costa RIca’s failure to win Group B meant that they played Mexico earlier than predicted, and Los Ticos took their opponents all the way to penalties after a 1-1 draw. In the semi-finals they were held to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes by Haiti, and only qualified thanks to a penalty by Wolves’s Raul Jimenez three minutes into extra time.

Mexico still go into the match as favourites at 5/4, with both a US win and a draw priced up at 11/5. Mexico are 4/6 to lift the trophy; the US are 6/5.

Mexico, as they always do against local opponents, will look to dominate the ball, but unlike Haiti or Costa Rica, they will be facing a side who will not be content to just soak up pressure and not make any mistakes. Gregg Berhalter’s side will fancy their chances of hurting Mexico, especially given Pulisic’s improved form over the tournament. Mexico boss Gerardo Martino called him “one of the greatest emerging players in world football in this epoch” ahead of the match.

To win, the US will need to have enough possession to create chances. That is the biggest battle, as Mexico’s midfield is undoubtedly better at circulating the ball. The match prices look fair, so the value lies elsewhere with another high scoring game at this entertaining competition.

Tip: Over 2.5 goals at 13/10
Prediction: Mexico 2-2 USA


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