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Confederation Cup Final: Analysis and Picks

Confederation Cup Final: Analysis and Picks

Confederation Cup Final: Analysis and Picks
The final for the Confed Cup goes down Sunday. We don't want you going in blind, so we turned to a former oddsmaker for European soccer to help us break down the matches for us.

It’s been a wild ride in the Confederations’ Cup.

Hats off to anyone who faded this column Wednesday and took the USA to knock Spain out. A correct score bet of USA 2, Spain 0 paid off at 66/1 or more.

Rematches of group games are on tap in Sunday’s closing contests. Spain plays South Africa for third place in Rustenburg, and then Brazil faces a resurgent USA squad in the final in Johannesburg.

SPAIN -1, flat vs. SOUTH AFRICA 2.5 goals under -120

(June 20 result: Spain 2, South Africa 0)

Forecast: 70 degrees, sunny

Betting the side here could be poisonous as Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque will be sending out his bench. That cuts both ways: maybe the players will be motivated, and maybe they won’t. The one-goal handicap is difficult to argue with.

The bet here is actually over goals. This third-place game means little and it comes at the end of a long season. Most players will have to report back to their clubs around July 10. This game is all about having a little bit of exercise and not leaving the field on a stretcher. The defending will be half-hearted, much like an NHL or NBA All-Star game. prediction: Spain 3, South Africa 2.

BRAZIL -1, -120 vs. USA 2.5 goals under -130

(June 18 result: Brazil 3, USA 0)

Forecast: 48 degrees, clear

This one’s all about which American side shows up: the one that folded against Italy and rolled over pathetically against Brazil in the group stage, or the one that destroyed Egypt and then expertly played smash-and-grab to steal the finals berth from Spain.

If you need a bet on the side, know that Cinderellas in major international finals usually get the Shower Scene from Psycho, not the trophy. The occasion overwhelms them. So a bet on Brazil at -1 makes some sense.

What makes more sense is a bet on the under this time. The playing surface looked terrible in Thursday’s semifinal and the local organizers have neither the time nor the money to re-lay the grass before Sunday’s final. This is a disgrace, but at least bettors can profit from it. The poor conditions actually work against a flashy team like Brazil, but that’s fully priced in the odds.

Brazil was a 1.5-goal favorite in the group stage game and won extremely easily. It would be 1.5 goals again, even with the USA’s recent run, if the field was actually covered with grass. In four matches at Ellis Park, there have been two goals total.

File this game for next year’s World Cup whether the game stays under or not Sunday. Goals will be hard to come by if the matches are played in sandlots. prediction: Brazil 1, USA 0. 

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