Argentina vs. Brazil Copa América Odds, Picks, Predictions, Preview: How To Bet Messi vs. Neymar (July 10)
Photo by CARL DE SOUZA,NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Neymar (left) and Lionel Messi.
- Argentina and Brazil continue their legendary rivalry on Saturday night in the Copa América final in Rio de Janeiro.
- While Brazil have been dominant throughout the tournament, Lionel Messi & Argentina have been equally impressive.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down which side he sees betting value on below.
Argentina vs. Brazil Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+155 / -195)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 8 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||FS1 | Univision | fuboTV|
|Odds as of Saturday morning via DraftKings|
South America’s two best teams and two best players will meet in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday to decide the champion of the 2021 Copa América.
Brazil and Argentina both won their respective groups in the group stage, and both knocked off two lesser CONMEBOL sides to book their spot in the final.
Neither side has lost in this tournament, as Brazil won three and drew one in the group before beating Chile and Peru 1-0 in back-to-back games. Argentina also won three and drew one in the group, smashed Ecuador 3-0 and survived a penalty shootout with Colombia in the semifinal.
Lionel Messi hasn’t yet won a major international tournament with Argentina, while Brazil’s Neymar has only won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics and the 2013 Confederations Cup. Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final in extra time. They also lost the 2015 Copa América final and 2016 Copa América Centenario final, both on penalties to Chilé.
Brazil won the Copa América in 2019 without Neymar but has a chance to repeat as champions for the first time since 2004 and 2007. Despite the Brazilians success and dominance in this tournament thus far, Argentina is undervalued to get a result within 90 minutes.
Argentina Continue Building Around Messi
Argentina’s national team has gone through a bit of a transitional phase since their Round of 16 exit at the World Cup in 2018.
At this Copa América, they’ve looked younger, more athletic and more balanced as a squad, and the results have followed behind.
At times, Argentina played like a team whose whole was less than the sum of its parts because of midfield and defensive deficiencies. With Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul running the midfield, they have an excellent mix of passing, pressing and ball retention.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has broken out as one of the best keepers in the Premier League and has continued that excellent form for Argentina. And up top, Lautaro Martinez is coming off a career year at Inter Milan.
The squad isn’t quite as deep as Brazil or solid at the back, but Argentina are certainly more competitive than they were a few years back, and their underlying numbers suggest the same. Argentina is second in the competition with a +1.48 xGD per 90 and did smother good attacking sides in Paraguay and Uruguay in the group stage, holding them to 0.6 xG combined.
Argentina’s defense has allowed the third-fewest passes into its own penalty area, while only Brazil has more final third and penalty-area touches in the tournament. They lead in carries into the penalty area and when you have an elite creator like Messi, the chances will always come. No team has more shot-creating actions.
Brazil Have Elite Talent All Over the Field
South America’s best team has proven that thus far, even if the final scorelines haven’t necessarily been as dominant as their actual performances.
Brazil scraped by Chile and Peru with 1-0 wins to reach the final but easily could have won those games by more with better finishing. They have an elite goalkeeper, two excellent center backs, one of the best holding midfielders in the world, good passers in midfield and Neymar, one of the world’s best players.
It’s hard to find a weakness in Brazil, either watching them or looking at their advanced numbers.
Neymar has more passes into the penalty area than any player in the tournament, and Brazil has more passes into the final third and box than any other team. They have pressured the ball more successfully than anyone else in the tournament, but they haven’t faced a team of plus passers like Argentina has yet.
If Brazil does have a weakness, it’s in front of goal, where Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino haven’t been plus finishers relative to xG in recent seasons. They’ve scored three goals from more than four expected in the last three matches and have missed more big chances than anyone else in the tournament. Part of that is because they have also created the most big chances, but the Brazilians not being clinical in front of goal in a one-off game against an elite goalkeeper could hurt them or prevent them from finding the winner in regulation.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Brazil have the slight edge in this matchup and have been the better team, but the number makes them a significantly better side, which they haven’t been in the six matches each has played in this tournament.
Argentina are undervalued to get this into extra time or even win it in the 90, and if the bad finishing run of Brazil continues, don’t be surprised if Argentina lift the trophy on Saturday.
With that being said, Brazil’s better squad depth makes them favorites if the game goes into extra time, so I like Argentina +0.5 in the opening 90 minutes. Brazil is slightly too big of a favorite given the underlying metrics and an improved Argentina.
Pick: Argentina +0.5 (-140 or better)