CONCACAF: Canada-Argentina: Preview, Props, Odds

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Yes, Canada will show up for its Copa America semifinal against Argentina on Tuesday in East Rutherford, N.J., even though Canadian coach Jesse Marsch admits the billing could be David vs. Goliath.

Argentina, ranked No. 1 in the world, is the defending champion of Copa America 2021 and the 2022 World Cup. Canada, ranked 48th, is playing in its first Copa America.

“They’ve only lost twice in five years,” Marsch said. “Messi is the best player to ever play the game. But we believe we have a chance and that’s the way we’re preparing.”

ODDS TRENDS
Argentina is the -295 favorite at BetMGM, where it has been backed by 53 percent of all money wagered on the match winner despite very short odds. Canada has drawn 56 percent of the total bets as the +850 longshots.

The odds of the match ending in a tie and going to penalty kicks has been backed by 13 percent of the bets and 9 percent of the money at +400.

PROP PICK
Over 2.5 Goals (-120): Argentina’s first four Copa matches have average just 1.75 combined goals, including a 2-0 win over Canada in the opener. Meanwhile, Canada has reached the semifinals despite finding the back of the net just twice through four games. However, the public still expects to see more offense in the rematch, making the Over on this prop the most popular of all available at the book for this match.

MESSI ‘DOING OK’
The incomparable Lionel Messi, hampered by a leg injury in the group stage, played the full match in the penalty shootout win over Ecuador in the quarterfinals on Thursday. He’s expected to suit up as La Albiceleste march toward a record 16th Copa America title.

“He’s doing OK and he’s going to be part of the match,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. “It’s up to me to decide and when I see he’s in good condition, even if he’s not 100 percent, he will still play.

“Even when he’s not at his best, he still has a lot to give.”

FAMILIAR FOES
Canada, which used penalties against Venezuela to advance out of the quarterfinals, is confident even though it lost 2-0 to Argentina in the opening match on June 20. It was scoreless before Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scored in the second half on chances created by Messi.

“We know how good Argentina is because we played against them but we also had success in certain moments,” Marsch said. “I said after the (Venezuela) match that we probably have to play a perfect match and maybe even then it may not be enough.”

He’s eager but wary for the rematch.

“It’s helpful that we played against Argentina already so there’s less of an unknown,” he said. “But if you know good teams, the closer they get to titles, the more they’re able to kick it into another gear so I expect Argentina to deliver their best performance yet on Tuesday.”

UP NEXT
The winner advances to the final on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla., against either Uruguay or Colombia, who meet Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.

–Field Level Media

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