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Analysis | Tuesday, April 2, 2024 7:03 AM (Revised at: Tuesday, April 2, 2024 7:04 AM)

Copa Libertadores Prediction Preview: Outright Winners and To Qualify

Copa Libertadores Prediction Preview: Outright Winners and To Qualify
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.February 29, 2024 Copa Libertadores das Américas (RECOPA) match between the teams Fluminense and LDU at the Maracanã stadium

The 2024 Copa Libertadores group stage returns in April and our very own South American football expert Nathan Joyes is back to provide his insight, knowledge and seven of his best selections for the Copa Libertadores Prediction Preview.

From outright picks, value selections and group qualification, there’s a variety of bets Nathan has recommended to back ahead of the competition kicking off in April.

  1. Copa Libertadores Tip 1: Flamengo to Lift The Trophy
  2. Copa Libertadores Tip 2: Botafogo to Lift The Trophy
  3. Copa Libertadores Tip 3: Botafogo to Win Group D
  4. Copa Libertadores Tip 3: Estudiantes to Win Group C
  5. Copa Libertadores Tip 3: Talleres to Qualify Group B
  6. Copa Libertadores Tip 3: Independiente del Valle to Qualify Group F
  7. Copa Libertadores Tip 3: Rosario Central to Qualify Group G

Copa Libertadores Prediction 1: Tite to regain Flu’s title

Copa Libertadores, April 2nd, 20:00 (UK)

Nobody likes to kick off an ante-post column by backing a tournament favourite but hold tight, as there’s reason to believe Flamengo are a fantastic price.

Brazilians dominate this tournament having won the last five, and the squad depth Fla have is by far the best out of all the teams in this competition.

Last year, the club was a mess. Two managers came and went, punch ups occurred between certain players and the staff and the board simply didn’t know how to fix the problems.

However, order was restored when Tite took over at the end of last season. He’s since had a full pre-season with his team and they look not only settled, but ruthless.

The addition of Roma’s Matias Vina replaces an ageing Felipe Luis, Bragantino’s captain and centre-back keeps David Luiz out of the picture, while River Plate’s Nicolas de la Cruz is arguably the best signing of the window across South America.

With Pedro leading the line, quality in-depth across the park, and up-and-coming youngsters who will grow and feature in 2024, no one can match Flamengo’s quality. With last year’s disastrous campaign out of sight, Flamengo can focus and get back on top – arguably where they belong.

For context, Flamengo have beaten Fluminense twice already this season, and comfortably. They look very hard to beat in 2024.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 1: Flamengo to Lift The Trophy (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 4.50
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 8/10

Prediction 2: Big money spenders Botafogo overpriced

For those who want to back a team at a big price, Botafogo have been massively overpriced. Currently 19.0, they should be at least half this and I’m baffled by their odds.

Similar to Flamengo, Botafogo have performed incredibly well in the off-season market. The addition of Real Betis’ Luiz Henrique for a Brazilian record of £20m surprised many, but they didn’t stop there.

Former winger Jeffinho has joined on loan, as has Jefferson Savarino from Real Salt Lake City – that’s three very good wingers for this level of football. In 2023, their strikers lacked service and now there are no excuses.

Damian Suarez arrived from Getafe to add experience to the defence, while Tiquinho Soares and Junior Santos are high-quality strikers capable of firing Botafogo into the final rounds – and perhaps even further.

The main question mark over their heads is a lack of manager heading into the new season. Their appointment will be key, but they certainly have the players capable of winning the Libertadores.

Last year, Fluminense opened up at 26.0 and won the trophy, so perhaps this is another promising outside bet at the title.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 2: Botafogo to Lift The Trophy
  • Best Odds: 19.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 5/10

Prediction 3: Argentines can barge out Brazilians

A price which stood out was for Estudiantes to top Group C, mainly at the expense of Brazilian club Gremio.

Both teams have lost key players in the off-season, but Gremio have arguably been hit the hardest. Luis Suarez carried them back into the Libertadores all on his own, with 28 goal contributions in the Brasileirao.

His replacement? Diego Costa – a player who struggled to provide for Botafogo last campaign when brought in on an emergency transfer.

Wingers Bitello and Ferreirinha who played either side of Suarez have also moved on, and haven’t been replaced with the same level.

Estudiantes may have lost Benjamin Rollheiser to Benfica, but the Copa Argentina champions are stronger than bookmakers believe. Enzo Perez returns to the club after several years with River Plate, who will orchestrate and lead the midfield.

Edwuin Cetre catches the eye having signed from Independiente Medellin, and he looks like he’ll be a danger in the final third.

The Strongest and Huachipato may have success at home, but neither will put up a fight on the road, and Estudiantes can finish top of the pile.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 3: Estudiantes to Win Group C
  • Best Odds: 3.50
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 6/10

Copa Libertadores Prediction 4: Bank on big Brazilians

As I’ve already mentioned, Botafogo have been overly priced to win the tournament, and are therefore a good price to win Group D.

LDU Quito look to be Botafogo’s main rivals, and the Sudamericana champions will prove to be a very difficult team to break down, and a nightmare to play against in Quito due to the high altitude.

However, away from home is where the Ecuadorians are more likely to drop points than the Brazilians, who should have the edge with the amount of quality they have across the pitch.

Peru’s Universitario and Colombia’s Junior both have limitations and can’t be considered to top this group. The Peruvians sold key assets over the break and appear weaker than when they won the league in 2023, while Junior still rely on Carlos Bacca (37) to lead the line.

Junior’s squad isn’t the youngest either, with their manager preferring to trust his experienced players. However, competing in the Libertadores and the league is difficult. With plenty of games coming thick and fast, they don’t have the depth to compete with the likes of Botafogo.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 4: Botafogo to Win Group D (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 1.80
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 8/10

Prediction 5: Two horse race

It appears to be a straight shootout between Sao Paulo and Talleres to win Group B, which is why it is worth siding with the slight outsiders to make it through to the knockout stage.

Talleres massively impressed last year to return back to the Libertadores, and although their manager has since moved on to Independiente del Valle, his assistant has been promoted and hasn’t changed too much.

With the players familiar with the system, and lining up with a similar formation in the early stages of 2024, Talleres have carried on their good form, despite losing key players in Rodrigo Garro and Rodrigo Villagra in the off-season.

Due to these two standout players leaving the club, it makes more sense to back Talleres to finish in the top two, rather than compete for top spot.

Sao Paulo lost their head coach Dorival Junior to the Brazilian national team, and have turned to a Serie B coach – which can go one of two ways.

With no Libertadores experience, and having not been in the tournament since 2021, they may be caught out during the group stage. The Brazilians also lack depth in attacking areas, as high-profile signings such as James Rodriguez haven’t worked out – which may open the door for Talleres.

Both Barcelona and Cobresal will cause problems in their home fixtures, but are arguably a level below the two teams mentioned above. Talleres looks like a banker to at least finish second in Group B.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 5: Talleres to Qualify Group B (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 1.75
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 8/10

Prediction 6: Ecuadorians to settle for second

In what appears to be the most competitive group of them all, Group F looks set to be between Palmieras, San Lorenzo and Independiente del Valle. Liverpool, sadly, have had most of their best players pinched in the latest transfer window, and without a budget to bring others in, will likely have to settle for fourth spot.

Independiente del Valle would have been disappointed with their round of 16 exit last year, but the Ecuadorians look to be one of the most exciting teams outside of Brazil in 2024.

They’ve managed to convince Javier Gandolfi to leave a promising project at Talleres to move to Ecuador, where the club are producing many talented youngsters – but remain competitive themselves.

All eyes will be on Kendry Paez who will remain with the club in 2024 before his move to Chelsea. He alone, will be a huge asset to the club and their main attacking threat in the group stage.

With club captain Junior Sornoza continuing to be a leading figure in the midfield, Michael Hoyos a constant threat from wide positions, and the addition of Uruguayan forward Renzo Lopez, del Valle have more than enough to qualify.

Based in Quito, the high altitude will see the other teams struggle to land a blow. Last year, the Ecuadorian club won all three home games comfortably, including a 3-0 victory over Corinthians.

Palmeiras are likely to have too much quality and will top the group, but Ecuadorian football is on the rise and expect del Valle to showcase exactly that in Group F.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 6: Independiente del Valle to Qualify Group F (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 1.75
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 8/10

Copa Libertadores Prediction 7: Ridiculous value with Rosario

My final ante-post selection is another really good looking bet at the current price. In Group G, it’s highly likely Atletico Mineiro will top the group.

With Felipe Scolari at the helm, and with Paulinho, Hulk and Gustavo Scarpa leading the line, they arguably have one of the best attacks in the tournament.

Rosario Central also have an experienced coach in charge with Miguel Rosso, who was the man who helped Boca Juniors’ win their last Libertadores title back in 2007. The league cup winners in 2023 may not have been the most exciting to watch, but they were resilient defensively and ridiculously hard to break down.

The permanent signing of loanee Jaminton Campaz is a wonderful addition to their front line, while Abel Hernandez from Penarol could come back to haunt his old team in this group.

The Uruguayans have failed to make it past the group stage in their last nine attempts, whereas Venezuelan outfit Caracas simply do not have the quality to compete with an Argenitian club in this competition.

Priced almost at evens, Rosario should advance to the knockout stage at the expense of both Penarol and Caracas, who will battle it out for third spot and a place in the Sudamericana.

  • Copa Libertadores Prediction 7: Rosario Central to Qualify Group G
  • Best Odds: 1.90
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 8/10

Copa Libertadores Predictions odds via bet365 as at 18;00, March 22nd, 2024. Odds may now differ.

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