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Analysis | Tuesday, January 23, 2024 8:40 AM (Revised at: Monday, March 18, 2024 9:48 AM)

Copa America Prediction Outright Preview: Ante-Post Tips

Copa America Prediction Outright Preview: Ante-Post Tips
Copa America Predictions, Ante-Post Tips and Best Bets Preview - IMAGO / Action Plus - Copa America tournament final, Argentina versus Brazil; The Argentinian team celebrate their 0-1 win with the trophy as Lionel Messi holds up the silverware.

With the Copa America looming in the summer, we thought we’d get ahead of the curve and rope in Nathan Joyes to give us pointers throughout an ante-post Copa America prediction, outright tips, and best bets preview.

All four Copa America groups are analysed and picked apart, with seven different ante-post predictions and tips suggested, including World Cup victors Argentina taking a leading role.

  1. Outright Winners Tip 1: Argentina
  2. Outright Winners Tip 2: Uruguay
  3. Group A Prediction Tip 3: Chile
  4. Group B Prediction Tip 4: Mexico
  5. Group C Prediction Tip 5: Uruguay
  6. Group D Prediction

Copa America Winner Prediction: Argentina rightful favourites

Argentina heads into the 2024 Copa America not only as the holders but also as World champions. Lionel Scaloni addressed rumours about vacating his post, confirming he would continue to be the man to lead the charge as Argentina hunts down their 16th Copa America title.

Argentina’s recent form

Five wins from six in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers put them at the top of that particular leaderboard and in control of qualifying for the top spot as they look to defend their title in 2026.

Before the break, Scaloni’s side was victorious in Rio de Janeiro, inflicting a 1-0 defeat on Brazil – which was the Selecao’s first-ever defeat on home soil in a World Cup qualifier. This defeat was the final nail in the coffin for Fernando Diniz – but more on Brazil later.

All five of Argentina’s victories were won to nil, too, which included victories over Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, as well as against Bolivia in the depths of La Paz.

The squad

Defensively sound, their experienced back-line has rarely been broken, having conceded just two goals in six World Cup qualifiers.

Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez has been ever-present between the sticks, while a centre-back pairing of Benfica’s Nicolas Otamendi and Spurs’ Cristian Romero provides an experienced brick wall.

At the other end of the pitch, the combination of Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez, and, of course, Lionel Messi has to be one of the deadliest attacks in world football. This will also be Messi’s last major tournament with Argentina, an occasion he will no doubt rise to, as we saw in Qatar.

It’s important to note Argentina is in Group A, which means they won’t potentially face Brazil or Uruguay until the final, with Mexico or Ecuador likely to be the strongest teams in their path. Of course, this has been factored into their price, but there’s a clear gulf in terms of quality in South America at present.

As obvious as the selection is, it’s difficult to find any reasons not to back Messi and his last dance with Argentina to scoop yet another prize.

  • Copa America Winner Prediction Tip 1: Argentina
  • Best Odds: 3.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Copa America Winner Prediction: El Loco’s Uruguay carry a threat

Many will back Brazil to knock Argentina off their perch, but at this moment in time, it’s difficult to know exactly where they stand with Dorival Junior coming in as head coach.

The Selecao have recently gone through the worst year in their entire history, and although Diniz is no more, there’s a more rounded, exciting team to back at a great price.

That nation is Uruguay, who were the only nation to have defeated Argentina in the World Cup qualifiers. Marcelo Bielsa was appointed after the disappointment in Qatar to try to turn their fortunes around.

Copa America Prediction - Futbol, Uruguay vs Chile

Eyebrows were raised when the Argentine was appointed, but those who questioned El Loco soon had to hold their hands up and admit they were wrong. He’s proven himself within a short period of time.

Uruguay’s recent form

Back-to-back victories over Brazil and Argentina – the latter held in Buenos Aires – were standout results. Not only were the results impressive, but the clean sheets at the other end of the pitch can’t be ignored. It’s also worth pointing out Brazil failed to register a single shot on target, a first since Opta first started recording this kind of data.

Uruguay’s defence is notably less experienced than either Argentina’s or Brazil’s, but three consecutive clean sheets in the World Cup qualifiers has shown vast improvement after Bielsa’s side conceded five in their first three fixtures.

There’s a lot of optimism for a successful tournament from La Celeste, with a well-balanced squad showing they can compete against any South American side that comes their way.

It’s been a case of out with the old and in with the new for Uruguay. Edinson Cavani’s services are no longer required, and although Luis Suarez fought back into the squad after his incredible season at Gremio, he appears to be there to influence the dressing room more than anything.

The squad

Bielsa has instead turned to Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez, who has had his fair share of critics in a Liverpool shirt since arriving in the Premier League. However, the 24-year-old has flourished under El Loco, who has been quick to praise the manager for his new-found confidence when representing La Celeste.

Nunez has scored five goals and produced two assists in just six World Cup qualifiers.
Yet it’s those in behind who deserve just as much credit. Nunez has struck a phenomenal relationship with Nicolas de la Cruz, who has just moved from River Plate to Flamengo. The 26-year-old has scored three goals – the same as Messi – as well as producing three assists – putting him in pole position in the World Cup qualifiers.

Either side of de la Cruz acting more as a protective shield is where you’ll find Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde and PSG’s Manuel Ugarte. Two young yet experienced pros, arguably making up a trio to rival any midfield found in South America.

Although nothing has been officially announced, Bielsa has been keen for his Uruguayan side to compete against European opposition in friendlies prior to Copa America.

Competitive fixtures are only a positive, and the proof is there that Uruguay are capable of beating South America’s finest.

They might have to beat Brazil along the way, but priced at 6.00 to lift the trophy, it’s too big to ignore based on what we’ve witnessed over the last few months.

  • Copa America Winner Prediction Tip 2: Uruguay
  • Best Odds: 6.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Copa America Group A Prediction: Second spot up for grabs

Alongside Argentina, Chile, and Peru, either Canada/Trinidad & Tobago will battle it out for a qualification spot. Let’s run through the outstanding trio.


While Canada is a rather unknown quantity to most, their form in 2023 leaves a lot to be desired. Having been knocked out of the CONCACAF Nations League in the play-offs to Jamaica, as well as losing in the quarter-finals of the Gold Cup to the US, there are concerns around their defence.

Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Lille’s Jonathan David are their standout players, but the rest of the team lacks depth to compete in this tournament. They are fortunate enough to be drawn against two South American teams suffering for any kind of form or direction at present, but with one place up for grabs, it’s going to be a tall order for the Canadians.

Although Canada won four games in 2023, victories over Curacao, Honduras, Panama and Cuba won’t quite cut it in the Copa America.


Both Chile and Peru have underperformed in the World Cup qualifiers, yet it’s the managerless side which currently sits three points above Peru thanks to their 2-0 win over them.

Eduardo Berizzo, who signed a four-year deal in May 2023, resigned from his post after a 0-0 draw at home to Paraguay. Their next appointment will be crucial, and there needs to be a plan in place before Copa America, or else it could be a swift exit from the tournament.

There are positives to address. Club America’s Diego Valdes was one of three goalscorers during the World Cup qualifiers, yet the midfielder has consistently performed domestically. Since 2019, he’s always had a 10+ goal/assist record, which has only improved in recent years. He’ll be a key asset in the group stage.

Flamengo’s Erick Pulgar is an experienced head, shielding the back four, and his performances will play a big part in how far Chile go in this tournament.

The combination of Inter’s Alexis Sanchez and on-loan Sheffield United’s Ben Brereton Diaz offers hope, although neither has shown much domestically in the last 12 months. The fact Chile still relies on Sanchez is a worrying sign.


Having lost to Australia on penalties, Peru missed out on attending Qatar’s winter World Cup, and they’ve been on a downward spiral ever since. The fact that Peru has only picked up two points across six matches and scored just once is a severe cause for concern.

With limited friendlies ahead of the tournament, their goalscoring inability won’t be ironed out in the upcoming months, which is why the value lies with Chile to sneak through in second spot.

Peru appears to be in a transitional period, although they still rely on old heads in crucial matches. Paolo Guerrero, 40, has been a prominent figure in the qualifiers but has been restricted against stronger, younger defences.

There’s talk Piero Quispe could be Peru’s next-best midfielder coming through, but although linked to Europe, he has decided to move north to Mexico. With a lack of players plying their trade in Europe, it’s easy to see why Peru has been struggling to compete.

Neither Chile nor Peru are standout contestants, but the former should have the edge – back Chile to qualify out of the group.

  • Copa America Group Qualification Prediction Tip 3: Chile to Qualify
  • Best Odds: 2.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Copa America Group B Prediction: Don’t underestimate Ecuador in the betting

While most groups have a clear favourite in the betting, Group B presents an opportunity to hunt down some value. Mexico is the outright pick to come out on top, yet it seems Ecuador has been underestimated.


Since their opening day defeat to Argentina in Buenos Aires in the World Cup qualifiers – which was because of a superb Lionel Messi free-kick – Ecuador followed it up with an unbeaten five-match run.

A 2-1 victory over Uruguay before a last-gasp winner against Bolivia in La Paz followed, where Félix Sánchez’s side also kept three clean sheets in the process.

A mix of European, Mexican, US and Brazilian-based players, Ecuador’s squad is rather balanced throughout. Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo and future wonderkid Kendry Paez have struck an eye-catching relationship during the qualifiers, and both will be key figures on the pitch if they are to be successful in the tournament.

Although only 16, Paez lit up the Under 20 World Cup and has shown why he’s going to be a world-class player. Playing just behind the striker, his quality on the ball is far beyond his age and no doubt he’ll be the player everyone will be talking about after the tournament has finished.

Enner Valencia and Kevin Rodriguez are very much confidence players up front who need to be in good form heading into this. However, both are capable finishers who have players behind them who are competent in terms of providing.

Doha, Qatar, Nov 25th 2022: Enner Valencia of Ecuador celebrates after scoring a goal for Ecuador (1-1) during the match between Netherlands vs Ecuador

Head coach Felix Sanchez was the man who has spent most of his career with Qatar at various levels, but his appointment so far has been favourable. The Spaniard prefers a 4-5-1 formation, setting up from the back but allowing his key players fluidity in the final third.

Ecuador are unlikely to win the Copa America, yet against the likes of Mexico and Venezuela, they have enough to secure the top spot.


The Reggae Boyz are through to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League after defeating Canada over two legs. A fine achievement, or did Canada wildly underperform? Time will tell, but there are a few players scattered within this squad capable of competing.

Fulham’s Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Al-Ettifaq’s Demarai Gray, Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey and West Ham’s Michail Antonio (when fit) is a rather decent frontline.

However, it’s those in behind which bring Jamaica back down to earth. A lack of defensive/midfield quality is concerning, especially going up against Ecuador’s fully-stacked midfield.

Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, the man who famously led his nation to victory against England at Euro 2014, has been in charge since 2022 with mixed success. Although his achievements with Iceland will go down in history, his previous role in Qatar with Al-Arabi wasn’t anything to shout about, and the Copa America is a huge step up from where he’s recently been.

With just two appearances back in 2015 and 2016, Jamaica have never progressed further, and in a highly competitive group, this doesn’t look like changing any time soon.


Favourites to top Group C, Mexico, are also fancied to go far. Only Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are shorter than them in the outright market.

While they have quality sprinkled throughout the squad, including the likes of PSV’s Hirving Lozano, West Ham’s Edson Alvarez and Feyenoord’s Santiago Gimenez, a large proportion of their team is domestically based.

The quality of Mexican football is up for debate, but it’s by no means far better than South American leagues.

Jaime Lozano has been in charge of the national team officially only since August 2023. He was the interim manager when Mexico won the Gold Cup, defeating Panama 1-0 in the final.

His spell with the Under 23s over a three-year period was promising, yet his decision to take the role with Necaxa lasted less than eight months prior to taking the national job.

There’s real quality within this Mexican side, and they are capable of winning the group, but Lozano is an unknown quantity heading into Copa America. An injury or two leading up to the tournament would really damage their hopes, and a reliance on domestic players makes them vulnerable.

Priced at 1.20 to win the group, it feels extremely short compared to Ecuador and Venezuela who may prove to be more difficult than most suggest.


The only South American nation to have never reached a World Cup is on a mission to change that. Victories over Paraguay and Chile, as well as a magnificent 1-1 draw away to Brazil indicated it might be their time to achieve qualification.

With the World Cup fixtures to one side, Copa America is the perfect platform to showcase the progress they have made.

It’s their attack which has certainly improved. Yeferson Soteldo has recently moved on loan to Gremio, while Talleres’ Sosa Cordero, on the other wing, has added a threat lacking in recent years.

Veteran Salomon Rondon continues to lead the line, but now at Pachuca, his expected regular game time should keep him fit. After missing out on plenty of international fixtures when stranded in China, the captain is determined to end his career on a high.

Girona’s Yangel Herrera is another key player in the midfield worth mentioning. And so outside in, Venezuela may look destined to battle it out with Jamaica to not finish bottom, but I’d argue they could put up a good fight against a heavily-based domestic Mexico side.

The Group B Predictions

There are three selections I like for Group B at Copa America in the summer, all of which lean towards Ecuador enjoying a fruitful group stage at Mexico’s expense. The three I’ve landed on are Ecuador to Qualify (1.50), Ecuador to win Group (2.60) and Mexico not to win Group at 4.33.

Given the size of that Mexico price and Ecuador being the main protagonists in my eyes for the number one spot, I’ve settled on the latter of the three as the leading prediction in Group B.

  • Copa America Not to Win Group Prediction Tip 4: Mexico
  • Best Odds: 4.33
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Copa America Group C Prediction Tip 5: Uruguay to prevail

In Group C, it’s Uruguay who wrestles my betting intentions in a group consisting of Panama, Bolivia, and the USA.


It’s fair to say most won’t have watched Panama since England’s demolition job over them in the 2018 World Cup. However, if there is one nation that could pull off a massive shock at the Copa America, it could well be Panama.

Los Canaleros shocked everyone to reach the Gold Cup final, beating the US en route in the semi-finals on penalties. Mexico’s 88th-minute winner spared their blushes, but it showed how far Panama has come in recent years.

They recently dumped Costa Rica out of the CONCACAF Nations League 6-1 over two legs to reach the semi-finals, and there’s a lot of positivity around the squad with 14 victories in 2023.

The vast majority of their best players ply their trade in the US, with a strong core in the MLS. Gone are the days of a purely domestic-based squad.

This bold prediction I’m presenting doesn’t mean they will win it. Far from it, in fact. Yet a friendly win over Bolivia indicates third place is a distinct possibility, and the US will be hoping a repeat scoreline in the Gold Cup doesn’t happen. Whatever happens, Panama will be an entertaining watch.


The other team that will be fighting it out to not finish bottom is Bolivia, who has wildly underperformed during their World Cup qualifiers.

Four consecutive defeats didn’t convince anyone Gustavo Costas was the right man for the job, and in turn, he was soon dismissed after their 1-0 defeat to Paraguay.

A Brazilian, Antônio Carlos Zago, replaced the Argentine and secured a 2-0 win in his first match in charge against Peru. However, the former Palmeiras manager was humbled by a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay in Montevideo.

Bolivia has never defeated Uruguay out of their own nation, and the US will also have too much class for them on a neutral playing field. Their priority is to win home matches in the World Cup qualifiers, and this competition will be nothing but an opportunity for Zago to try new tactics.


Having frustrated England in Qatar before eventually being knocked out by the Netherlands, the US has been rather consistent since.

However, consistency has necessarily meant progress. Routine victories over minnows haven’t taught us anything new about the US squad, but exits in the Gold Cup to Panama and Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Nations League were bitterly disappointing results.

A European-based XI was embarrassed by Trinidad & Tobago, who only had one player based in Europe in their starting XI – St. Johnstone’s Daniel Phillips.

Gregg Berhalter has been the head coach since 2018, and it’s up to the 50-year-old to shake off the defeats and prepare for Copa America.

Despite the rise of the MLS and American players, this US side still heavily relies on Christian Pulisic, which could be a problem for them. If he’s marshalled out of the match, the US completely loses their sting.

Uruguay will walk all over the US if they find their rhythm, but with Panama and Bolivia next, the US ‘should’ be able to secure second spot. Panama could be a banana skin for them once again, and it’s up to Berhalter to make sure lightning doesn’t strike twice.

  • Copa America Group Winner Prediction Tip 5: Uruguay (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 1.75
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Copa America Group D Prediction: Brazil and Colombia easing through

Sometimes, the best bet is no bet, and with their being very little value, considering Brazil dominates the betting markets, that’s exactly how I’m feeling here. Regardless, I’ve still run the rule over the lay of the land in Copa America Group D.


The 2023 campaign was a disaster for Brazil. Officially their worst year in their history, the Brazilian FA decided Fernando Diniz was not the man to lead them to Copa America glory. His tactics may have shone domestically, but trying to reform a group who ply their trade in Europe in a short period of time was never going to work.

Carlo Ancelotti announced his decision to stay at Real Madrid, much to the embarrassment of the Brazilian FA, who had been very vocal about how much they wanted him to take over.

Instead, Dorival Junior has been appointed to lead the charge. The 61-year-old has spent the last 12 months managing Sao Paulo, where he won the club their first-ever Copa do Brasil title.

Having been in management since 2002, Junior is highly respected within Brazil. With multiple titles, with his best achievement securing two Copa Libertadores titles with Flamengo, it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to international football.

This is the first time he has managed a team with this level of Galacticos. There’s a sense of intrigue here to see how the relationship unravels in the friendlies leading up to the tournament itself.

However, Junior has all the ingredients to make it work – only Neymar will miss out after suffering his horrendous injury against Uruguay in Montevideo. And let’s be honest, it couldn’t be much worse than what has happened over the last 12 months.

Copa America Prediction - SAFF Roshn Saudi Pro League 2023-24 MD8 Neymar Jr of Al-Hilal SFC in action during the Match Day 8 of the SAFF Roshn Saudi Pro League

The change may have come at the right time for Brazil, but with Argentina continuing to flex their muscles and with Bielsa up and running already with Uruguay, these two nations are well ahead of where Brazil currently are.


Looking to topple Junior’s Brazil is a nation that has recently beaten them in the World Cup qualifiers.

Colombia were victorious 2-1 in the sweltering hot Barranquilla thanks to Luis Diaz’s second-half brace. Back on a level playing field, away from the Caribbean Sea, it’ll be a tall order to record back-to-back results against the 2021 finalists.

However, there’s plenty to like about this well-drilled Colombian side. At the time of writing, they’ve not lost in 20 matches, stretching back to a 1-0 defeat against Argentina in February 2022.

They may not be the most glamorous side under Nestor Gabriel Lorenzo, but their heavily European-based squad are resilient yet possess the firepower to win football matches.

With their favoured 4-5-1 formation, with two holding midfielders, Kevin Castano Gil and Jorge Carrascal Guardo, it’s no surprise to see they’ve only conceded three goals in six World Cup qualifiers.

Colombia will have no difficulty in qualifying from this group and will have high expectations of running deep into this tournament. Goals will need to be added in order for them to achieve that, but their clash vs Brazil is one of the standout group matches to keep tabs on.


Paraguay is another South American nation in crisis. They share an unwanted record with Peru in having scored just once in their six World Cup qualifiers. However, their goal was a crucial one, as it saw them pick up all three points against Bolivia.

Despite the victory, this doesn’t paint over the cracks, which are clear to see.

Even with the likes of Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron, Talleres’ Ramon Sosa, Argentinos Jrs’ Gabriel Avalos and Corinthians’ Matias Rojas within the squad, their lack of direction in the final third is massively concerning.

It was only their victory over Bolivia, who are incapable of results outside La Paz that Paraguay had more than three shots on target. Transitioning the ball into attacking areas is nonexistent at present, and the strain this puts on the defence is too much – and often broken.

Both Brazil and Colombia will be able to see them off, and an early exit is on the cards.

Copa America ante-post predictions, tips and best bets odds via bet365 as at 13:00, January 22nd, 2024. Odds may now differ.


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