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Advanced Football Betting

How To Bet On The Copa America

As summer arrives, so too does the lure of international football competition. While not attracting the same attention as this summer's European Championships, the Copa America 2016 is still a great source of potential value betting opportunities. In our detailed Copa America betting guide, we'll show you how to make the most of this traditionally entertaining football tournament.

Betting On The Copa America: An Introduction

For 100 years CONMEBOL, the organisation committee of South American football, have been hosting the Copa America to find out who is the best international football team in their religion. Their competition is normally held on years ending in odd numbers but this summer there is a special tournament to commemorate 100 years of the Copa America.

Known as the Copa America Centenario, the tournament is taking place in the United States of America. It’s the first time that the Copa America has been held outside of South America and the 2016 edition will include 16 teams instead of the normal 12. From a betting perspective the change in format has had a big impact on the Copa America 2016 odds that you’ll see with the bookies.


1 - Betting On Copa America 2020
2 - Copa America History
3 - Copa America Betting Odds Explained
4 - Copa America Value Bets
5 - Copa America Betting Explained
6 - Copa America Betting Strategies
7 - Copa America Betting Tips


1 - Betting On Copa America 2020

Just like any other major sporting event, the tournament is proceeded by an opening ceremony at Levi’s Stadium, California. After the ceremonial duties are all out of the way the Copa America 2016 fixture list gets underway on the 3rd of June with the United States against Colombia. That is the first match of the Copa America groups 2016 which comprise four groups of four teams. After a round robin format in which the teams play the others in their group once, the top two teams progress to the knockout stage.

The Copa America schedule moves to the knockout stage on the 16th of June when the winner of Group A will play the runner-up of Group B. Each of the knockout matches are single legs with extra time and penalties being required for any draws.

The quarter-finals take place on consecutive days then there is a two-day break before the semi-finals on the 21st and 22nd. There is a third placed playoff on the 25th of June before the winner is crowned on Sunday 26th June at the MetLife Stadium, New Jersey.

It’s worth having a look at the bracket for the knockout stage of the competition before taking any Copa America winner odds as there is no reseeding and the way the bracket is set up will have a massive impact.



2 - Copa America History

At 100 years old, the Copa America is the oldest international continental football tournament in the world. It is easy for European football fans to get carried away with the European Championships and the World Cup but South American football’s top tournament has a history littered with some of the best players and teams ever to play the game.

Football in South America can be traced all the way back to 1867 when a group of British men who were working on the railways had a kick-about in Argentina. The game spread around the country and then around the continent. Eventually national teams began to form and in 1910 Argentina, Chile and Uruguay participated in an international tournament. That first tournament was never properly recognised though and CONMEBOL consider the first official Copa America to be the tournament in July of 1916 held between the three sides from 1910 and Brazil.

Uruguay were the first Copa America winners and within 14 years they would go on to become the first winners of the FIFA World Cup as well. It was also a Uruguayan, Hector Rivadavia, who came up with the idea of creating an international confederation from the South American national organisations. In the years that followed, the tournament was held a number of times but often sporadically largely due to squabble between the different national bodies.

Between 1975 and 1987 the tournament did not have a host, instead Copa America fixtures were played throughout the year in all of the competing countries. At this point the number of teams competing had grown with the likes of Ecuador and Venezuela being added to the mix and CONMEBOL decided that it was time for the tournament to return to one host nation.

From 1987 to 2001 the Copa America was held by one host every two years. The format of the actual tournaments changed quite often but the quality of the players and the presence of some of the best players in world football boosted the Copa America’s appeal beyond South America. The tournament is now generally held every four years but as ever with CONMEBOL, it’s never quite that simple.

Uruguay have won the Copa America more than any other side with 15 victories but Argentina are close behind with 14. Brazil trail a fair way behind with eight wins while Chile are the defending champions after picking up their first win last year.


3 - Copa America Betting Odds Explained

Crucial to successful betting, whether it be on the Copa America or any other sporting event, is understanding what betting odds reflect. Betting odds reflect the probability of a given outcome occurring. This probability is most often referred to as the 'implied probability'. For example, let's say that Argentina are at odds of 2.50 to win an upcoming Copa America match. What is the implied probability reflected in these betting odds? Well at odds of 2.50, according to the bookmakers, Argentina is regarded as a 40% chance of winning this match. Calculating the implied probability is simple. It can be calculated as:

Implied probability = 1 / decimal odds

Understanding betting odds is important to football and Copa America betting. If you are serious about making money betting on the Copa America 2016, then you need to understand betting odds and their implied probabilities.

For more advice on betting odds and what they mean, please read these articles:

How To Bet On Football: A Beginners Guide
How To Convert Odds To Probability
Betting Odds Explained


4 - Copa America Value Bets

Why is understanding the implied probability of betting odds important? Because it helps us determine whether or not a particular situation is offering us betting value. The number one rule in sports betting is to only place bets in instances where you have identified betting value. What is betting value? A value betting opportunity is when you consider the chances of a given outcome to be greater than the probability implied by the bookmaker's odds.

Determining betting value requires a simple calculation:

Value = (Decimal Odds * Your Assessed Probability) - 1

So, let's say we have been offered odds of 2.50 for Argentina to win an upcoming Copa America match (an implied probability of 40%) and we consider the likelihood of Argentina winning to be 50%. In this instance we have a value betting opportunity because our assessed likelihood of an Argentinian victory is greater than likelihood implied in the bookmaker's odds.

For more information on betting value and football staking strategies, read the following articles.

How To Bet On Football: A Beginners Guide
How To Find Value Bets
Calculating The Perfect Bet Stake
How To Manage Your Betting Bankroll


5 - Copa America Betting Explained

For people who like betting on football the Copa America is an absolute goldmine. Usually it is held on years when there are no other major international tournaments to enjoy but this year it will act as a complement to your Euro 2016 betting. There are a massive amount of markets so let’s have a look at the most popular ones.

Tournament Winner

Sometimes known just as ‘the Outright Market’ the Tournament Winner is the simplest and most popular betting choice for football punters. Simply put, you make your choice of who you think is going to win the Copa America and then back them. If they win, you win. If they don’t win, you lose. Most bookies also allow you to bet on teams each-way with 1/3 the odds paid out on the place part of the bet if your team makes the final.

Group Winner

This outright is much like the Tournament Winner market but instead of betting on a team to win the entire tournament you choose a team to win their Copa America group. Each-way betting is generally unavailable on the Copa America 2016 groups.

Top Goalscorer

Copa American top scorer odds are always very popular. Some of the very best attacking players in the world will be on show in the tournament and you can have your pick of which player you think will score the highest number of goals in the tournament.

Match Betting 1X2

This is the most popular market for anybody looking to bet on individual Copa America matches. Some bookies call the 1X2 market ‘Match Odds’ but whatever it’s called you get three selections: Team A, Team B and the Draw. You are betting on the outcome that you think is going to occur come the end of 90 minutes plus injury time.

Asian Handicaps

The 1X2 market is very popular but sometimes you want the option to be a bit cuter with your betting on the outcome of a match, this is where the Asian Handicap market is a real help. In the Asian Handicap market, the two teams are given a handicap – either positive or negative. It’s as if one team is given a head start and one starts with a deficit. When you bet on a team with a --0.5 handicap for example, you are betting on them to overcome a 0.5 goal deficit the end of the match. Asian Handicaps are great if you want to get a bit more value on a big favourite or if you think an underdog can get a result with a bit of help from the handicap.

Read more about Asian Handicaps here

Goal Totals

You don’t just have to choose between odds to win Copa America matches, you can also try and make some profit from the bookies by using your knowledge to bet on the number of goals that will be scored. In the Total Goals market, you bet on the minimum number of goals that you think will be scored. So, you won’t get big odds on betting on there being 1 or more goals but you’ll get huge odds if you bet on there being 7 or more goals. You can also bet on goals markets with specific lines. The most popular of these is the Over/Under 2.5 goals market where you simply bet on whether there will be more than 2.5 goals scored or fewer than 2.5 goals scored. These lines go from Over/Under 0.5 goals all the way up to Over/Under 9.5 goals with some bookies.

Read more about betting on Over/Under Goal Totals here

Both Teams To Score

The Both Teams To Score markets allows you to bet on a specific outcome in a Copa American match without having to predict who is going to win or exactly how many goals will be scored. Often times in the Copa America you’ll get a match where both teams have wonderful attacking players and the 1X2 odds suggest that it’s going to be a tight encounter. That’s a perfect example of a time where you could back the ‘Yes’ selection in the Both Teams To Score Market. Alternatively, you can back the ‘No’ selection if one team is much stronger than their opposition.

Correct Score

It’s great to use your knowledge to accurately predict the outcome of a match in a big tournament like the Copa America but sometimes you want the chance to land a bigger odds winner. The Correct Score market is a very popular option in this regard. As the name of the market suggests, you simply have to predict what the score of the match will be. Obviously this is no easy undertaking and quite often the odds quoted by the bookies will be fairly big, so it is a great risk reward opportunity if you are feeling confident.

Draw No Bet

The Draw No Bet market is like the 1X2 market except there is only two selections, Team A and Team B. You simply make your choice between the two and, as the name of the market suggests, if the match ends in a draw there is no bet and you have your stake returned. It’s a great option for close matches but the odds available on each team winning will be shorter than those available in the 1X2 market.

Half Time/Full Time

In the Half Time/Full Time market you have to choose which outcome will be winning at half time and which will be winning at full time. The selections are a combination of Team A, Team B and the Draw. So, for example you can bet on Team A to be winning at half time and at full time or you could choose Team B to be winning at half time but for the match to be drawn come full time. In total there are nine possible combination selections to choose from.


6 - Copa America Betting Strategies

Before you pile straight into the many options available to you for your Copa America betting there are a few things that you need to bear in mind. Copa America odds to win the tournament, groups and individual matches are not always a straight forward as they look and it is wise to carefully consider your bets.

Consider Underdogs

The presence of Argentina and Brazil in the Copa America outright market often throws punters’ otherwise sensible considerations out of the window. They may be the Copa America favourites but it is by no means a given that Brazil or Argentina will go on to win the tournament. Brazil had a very good 10-year spell between 1997 and 2007 when they won four out of five tournaments but they’ve been very unpredictable since 2007. Argentina, meanwhile, have not won the Copa America since 1993 despite having Lionel Messi in their ranks for the past decade. Chile and Uruguay are the last two winners and it often pays to look beyond the obvious.

Consider Team Chemistry

When thinking about betting on the Copa America top scorers you have to consider more than just the individual player. It is important to consider how good their team is as the better they are, the longer they stay in the tournament and the more chances your chosen player has to score. You also have to think about their place in the team. Carlos Tevez, for example, is still a wonderful striker but is he going to get many minutes with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuaín also in the Argentina squad? Finally, have a look at who your player will come up against in the group stage. If they’re guaranteed to play against a very weak team it should signal a green light for your bet.

Consider The Schedule

Given that the Copa America draw has been made for a while now you absolutely have to consider a team’s potential run to the final before betting on them to win. Are they likely to top their group? Will they have a particularly tricky quarter-final match? Mapping the most likely route can really help with your outright bets.

Remember Regulation Time Only

From a more technical standpoint, it is important not to make a very common mistake in the knockout stages. The vast majority of match markets offered by the bookies only apply to 90 minutes plus injury time, not extra time or penalties. For example, if you bet on Brazil in the 1X2 market and they win in extra time, the winning selection in the 1X2 market is the draw as it applies only to the 90 minute match.


7 - Copa America Betting Tips

The extension of the format for this special centenary tournament means that there are tons of options for our Copa America betting tips.

In the outright winner market Argentina are very much thought of as the team to stop. They are best priced at 3.25 with Betfair to win the tournament for the first time since 1993 and are going to take some stopping. The attacking options available to manager, Gerardo Martino, are second to none and with a draw that should keep them apart from Brazil and Uruguay until the latter stages they are fair favourites.

Talking of Uruguay, they must also be fancied at big odds of 13.0 with BetVictor. In Luis Suarez they have arguably the most in-form striker in the world and they are certainly one of the most competitive sides in the tournament. Oscar Tabarez led Uruguay to their 15th Copa America victory in 2011 and he looks well placed to achieve the same feat this summer.

Copa America group predictions are another popular way of making some profit from the bookies. In the pre-tournament markets Brazil and Argentina are clear favourites in Group B and D respectively but the other two groups look pretty open. Uruguay at evens to win Group C looks like a good option as does the USA to win Group A at 2.38. This is a huge tournament for the USA as they look to build on the huge interest created by their performance at the 2014 World Cup. There will be massive crowds at each of their games and they’ll all be disappointed with anything other than a group win.

Away from the team outright markets there is sure to be a cracking battle to be crowned the tournament’s top goalscorer. Sergio Aguero has to be considered a great front runner at 8.0 with Paddy Power. The Manchester City forward doesn’t get the same sort of international coverage and adoration that Lionel Messi gets so he’ll be desperate to prove to his home fans just what Premier League fans know – he is one of the very best strikers in the world. Playing alongside some of the best attacking and creative midfielders in the world, Aguero is sure to bag his fair share of goals.

For more Copa America 2016 betting tips, visit our Copa America betting tips page, with every tip posted throughout the 2016 tournament.