Gold Cup Soccer: Friday Analysis and Predictions

Gold Cup Soccer: Friday Analysis and Predictions

Gold Cup Soccer: Friday Analysis and Predictions
By Shawn Young

Group A wraps up on Friday at The Cage in Miami, home to FIU’s Golden Panthers. Temperatures will be in the 80s and the teams will have to deal with humid conditions and a chance of thundershowers.

Canada sit atop the group with six points and are virtually assured a quarterfinal berth. El Salvador and Costa Rica are on three points each. El Salvador won the head-to-head contest last Friday.

Jamaica has no points from two games and is a hair away from elimination.

COSTA RICA pk-130 vs. CANADA, 2.5 goals under -125

Costa Rica used the extra man to slip past Jamaica 1-0 with a second half goal on Tuesday. For the second game in a row, Costa Rica hasn’t impressed. Another Ali Gerba goal for Canada on Tuesday, another hard-fought 1-0 win.

“Under” looks like the safest play here. Canada’s warm-weather record is, not surprisingly, abysmal. Canada has been playing their games tight and a draw would certainly suit them. Costa Rica wants more than a draw to be sure, but can’t risk a loss under any circumstances.

The massive juice built into most draw prices usually means gamblers can’t play it straight out. Here we would need +300 to be truly interested and good luck finding that.

So we’ll stick with the synthetic approach of going under. Most draws go under after all and we also get 1-0 and 2-0 working on our side.

Prediction: Costa Rica 1, Canada 1.

EL SALVADOR pk-120 vs. JAMAICA

Austin is suspended for Jamaica after kicking a grounded opponent in the match against Costa Rica. Strangely enough, a Canadian win in the early match gives Jamaica a great deal to play for here.

If Costa Rica get the draw or beat Canada, Jamaica can take third place from El Salvador with a win, but wouldn’t know if they made the playoffs until Saturday or Sunday night.

El Salvador were a bit unlucky not to get something out of the match with Canada but they only have themselves to blame. Canada is not a big offensive team, but clearances still need to be taken care of.

El Salvador needs a result in this game no matter what happens in the early matchup, but the betting strategy is all on Jamaica’s lineup. If Canada does not win the first game, you’ve got about 20 minutes to grab El Salvador on the pk-line and you’ll want to go ahead and bet them after seeing Jamaica’s line-up.

The Jamaicans won’t be that jazzed up about trying to take third place, so they’ll likely send out their second team. If Canada defeats Costa Rica, once again, look at Jamaica’s starters. If Jamaica’s team sheet includes the likes of Gardner, Phillips, Shelton, and so on - which is highly likely - it’s no bet.

El Salvador versus a full strength Jamaican side could finish any which way and it’s best to keep your money in your wallet. If Jamaica inexplicably sends out the second unit instead, the play is El Salvador.     

Prediction: El Salvador beats the Jamaican second string comfortably. El Salvador vs. Jamaica’s best is a real mystery.

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