Gold Cup soccer: Day 1 analysis and predictions

Gold Cup soccer: Day 1 analysis and predictions

Gold Cup soccer: Day 1 analysis and predictions
By Shawn Young

Group A is the toughest of the three preliminary groups. Costa Rica is starting to make a habit of qualifying for the World Cup. El Salvador has a good chance of at least reaching this year’s inter-zonal playoff. Canada usually runs well at the Gold Cup and Jamaica is the Caribbean champion.

Friday’s games are in Los Angeles. The weather should be cloudy, with temperatures in the 70s.

JAMAICA (pk-150) vs. CANADA

Recent results: 1-1 August 20 in Toronto; Jamaica won 3-0 Nov. 19 in Kingston.

The wrong team is favored here. Canada should have won the home game last August. Canada was already eliminated from World Cup qualifying by the time the rematch was held in Jamaica and the Canadians sent a weak team.

Make no mistake: the Jamaicans are not a bad team. Most of their players play in Europe or the MLS. King, Shelton, and Williams will provide firepower. Canada is simply a better team when Canada gets to play at home or in the USA, where this tournament is typically held.

Canada will rely on Gerba and de Guzman to bang in goals and on Stalteri to rally the defense. Canada will never qualify for the World Cup until it shows it can go to Central America, put up with hostile fans throwing projectiles at them and get results. This game is a different situation. Playing in the USA will suit Canada just fine.

Canada pk+130, Canada +.5, -135, and Canada -0.5, +210 are all good wagers. Paying some juice to get the draw on your side might be the best idea since it’s the first game.

Prediction: Canada 2, Jamaica 1.

COSTA RICA -1, flat vs. EL SALVADOR

Recent results: Costa Rica won 1-0 August 20 in San Jose; Costa Rica won 3-1 away on November 19 in San Salvador; Costa Rica won 1-0 April 1 in San Jose.

Costa Rica is mostly a home-based side with plenty of players drawn from the Saprissa and Liberia clubs. For El Salvador, only Pacheco plays his club games outside his country, with the team drawn from a handful of clubs.

These teams know each other well and Costa Rica always seems to be a little bit better. The Costa Ricans should have more composure here. They’ve been to the last World Cup and are likely off to the next one.
That said, Los Angeles has a large Salvadoran expat community that will make the match feel like a Salvadoran home game.

The one-goal line looks pretty finely balanced. If you can lay -0.5 on Costa Rica without paying more than -175, or if you can take +1.5 on the dog without paying more than -175, either play is worth a bet.

If your book is dealing the game at exactly -1 only, play the game only if you can make the bookie the gambler. That is to say you’re getting +110 on either option.

Prediction: Costa Rica 1, El Salvador 0

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