Gold Cup soccer: Day 2 analysis and predictions

Gold Cup soccer: Day 2 analysis and predictions

Gold Cup soccer: Day 2 analysis and predictions
By Shawn Young

Group B looks like the most settled group before the games are played. The USA and Honduras will take the top two spots and the automatic berths in the quarterfinal. Grenada and Haiti will be fighting for third place and the hope of a wildcard quarterfinal place.

Saturday’s games are in Seattle. Temperatures are forecast around 70 degrees, with no rain called for.

HONDURAS (-1.5, -120) vs. HAITI

Honduras has players playing for clubs all over the world. They currently hold the last qualification spot in the regional World Cup qualifying (Mexico are in pursuit). Amado Guevara is missing from the Gold Cup roster but otherwise the team looks good. Honduras scalped Mexico 3-1 on April 1 and recorded home wins over Mexico, Canada, and Jamaica last autumn. Make no mistake, this team can play.

Haiti is only here because Cuba withdrew. Most of the squad plays domestically in what is essentially an amateur league. Goal scoring will be a problem. Only Fucien has ever scored more than five goals for his country.

This looks a little too easy, but we’ll take the Hondurans anyway on the spread. If you’re betting the straight win, don’t lay more than -375, just on principle.

Covers.com prediction: Honduras 2, Haiti 0

USA (-2.5, -125) vs. GRENADA

Unless Jason Roberts magically appears for Grenada (on the preliminary list; not on the official list, but one spot remains unfilled), this will be a completely amateur side. Grenada is going to get hammered at this tournament. If the USA beats them by four, they’ll be three-goal underdogs or more against Honduras.

The USA is sending a B-team to this competition. That could cost them if they don’t win this event. A trophy here on the heels of a surprising Confederations Cup run gives the Americans a legitimate shot at a No. 1 seed in the World Cup draw in December. Either way, even the current roster is far too much for Grenada on the road on the Fourth of July

Betting: The USA is the play; the question is by how much. At -3 you need plus money (+120?) to make it worth your while. At -2.5 you can lay up to -135. Three-way lines currently run at -1000 or shorter; -800 gets interesting.

Over on the total may be your better bet, but don’t count on Grenada to get more than “a quarter of a goal”. Something “proppy” like “USA to shut out Grenada” at -250 is very appealing. (The terminology overseas is usually phrased as “USA to keep a clean sheet”.)

A USA team total might also be worth doing, certainly over 1.5 laying less than -200, but that might be hard to find. Have a sniff around and pick up what you can while trying not to overpay. This game is a scavenger’s market.

Covers.com prediction: USA 3, Grenada 0

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