Mexico vs Canada Odds, Picks, Prediction: CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal Betting Preview (July 29)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Rogelio Funes Mori.
- Mexico and Canada kick off the second semifinal of the Gold Cup on Thursday night.
- The Mexicans, along with the Americans, have long been the favorites to reach the championship game.
- Ian Quillen, however, explains below that pressure could be a factor to consider against the Canadiens.
Mexico vs. Canada Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+110 / -150)|
|Day | Time||Thursday | 10 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||FS1 | Univision | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Wednesday night via DraftKings.|
Mexico continues its bid for its first back-to-back CONCACAF Gold Cup titles since 2009 and 2011 when it faces Canada in Houston on Thursday second semifinal.
Both teams enter this match following their best performances of the tournament. Mexico jumped all over a banged up Honduras early in a 3-0 quarterfinal win that should boost the confidence of an offense that performed unevenly in the group stage.
On the other side, Canada saw off Costa Rica in a 2-0 quarterfinal win in a contest that announced the Canadians’ intentions beyond this tournament and into upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying fixtures.
Pressure Mounts for Mexico
The public pressure on Mexico at the Gold Cup is far greater than on any other nation.
Like the United States, Mexico is expected to at least reach the final if not win the tournament. Unlike the U.S., El Tri is the singular lead story in Mexico’s sports media whenever they are playing.
The best analogy for American sports fans might be if you took the attention and expectations on the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Olympics and multiplied it by five or 10.
That dynamic perhaps explains the tentative nature of modest group performances. Mexico eventually won Group A but only after a narrow 1-0 win over El Salvador, needing a victory following a scoreless draw against Trinidad and Tobago to open play.
Their 3-0 win over Honduras was a different story, and easily Mexico’s best performance this tournament.
Rogelio Funes Mori opened the scoring with his third goal of the 2021 Gold Cup.
With Honduras missing attackers Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto, Jonathan dos Santos put the game effectively of reach with a wonderful volley to make it 2-0 after 31 minutes.
Canada Lacking Option Up Top
Canada earned one of the most important results of their recent footballing history when they thoroughly outplayed Costa Rica in a 2-0 quarterfinal win.
But the victory should come with two caveats:
- The Ticos are a national team in transition relying on a core of players who are above 30 years old, much like the United States squad during the 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle.
- Canada now find themselves similarly limited to Honduras in attack as they prepare to face Mexico.
Strikers Ayo Akinola and Cyle Larin have been lost to injury. Lucas Cavallini will be suspended after picking up his second yellow card.
That leaves Tesho Akindele — only called into the squad before the quarterfinal — as the most likely starter up top, though manager John Herdman could push Junior Hoilett or Tajon Buchanan higher up the field.
Center back Steven Vittoria is also out due to card accumulation, leaving a back line that is already a weakness more vulnerable. Doneil Henry is his likely replacement.
More generally, three consecutive games against FIFA top-50 opposition represents an enormous step up in competition compared to the recent past.
Prior to this stretch, their last such match came in the fall of 2019 with two CONCACAF Nations League matches against the U.S.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’d favor Mexico to progress comfortably in most circumstances.
But these are the Gold Cup semifinals, a stage that very often proves difficult for El Tri.
While Mexico has progressed in five of its last seven semifinal appearances, it’s always been tough work, be the opponent Guadeloupe, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica or Haiti.
They required penalties once and extra time on three more occasions. They’ve been shut out in regulation on their last two occasions and failed to score multiple goals in 90 minutes across those last seven.
The total goals scored has also gone over 2.5 exactly once — in Mexico’s 2-1 defeat to Panama in 2013.
For such trends to inform betting there needs to be causation. I think there is here. Namely, the pressure regularly facing Mexico at this stage is even greater than in the final.
In the eyes of Mexican fans and media, there’s no direct good that can come from a win here. The expectation is to win a title. However, there are plenty of bad — even humiliating — possibilities that can come from a loss against another side that has played its way to the semifinals.
That psychological element might also explain why Mexico’s Gold Cup final performances are actually better than those in the semifinal round.
With Canada’s injuries and inexperience, I’m not inclined to bet El Tri to win in 90 minutes, but the draw, the total under 2.5 goals and the Mexico team total under 1.5 are all good value to me.
For sake of argument, I’ll take the team total at -108 odds and an implied 51.9% probability, if only because it’s the most consistent trend of them all.
Pick: Mexico Team Total Under 1.5 Goals (-108)