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CONCACAF Gold Cup – Knockout Round Odds and Value Picks

Mexico(7 titles) @ United States(5 titles)

  • Where: Levi's Stadium. Santa Clara, CA
  • When: July 26, 2017 9:30 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Mexico (+160), United States (+175), Costa Rica (+500), Panama (+1000), Jamaica (+1400), Canada (+1400)

A quick glance at the betting board will tell you all you need to know about the special circumstances surrounding the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Knockout round.

Mexico, far and away the top North American FIFA side for…well, all of recorded history, is touted as only a minuscule favorite above the USMNT. The Americans stand at a (+175) money line in outright-winner futures, and appear to be going up in betting value.

What’s the rub? U.S. Soccer might be quick to point out that its men’s team has won 5 of 14 Gold Cup tournaments, only a couple less than The Tricolor – and that the USA also happens to be hosting in 2017. But such PR overlooks the realistic truth of the matter.

Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio told reporters on Sunday that he is bringing in zero reinforcements to add to a “young” roster which played its way into the quarterfinals. “We believe that the group that is here deserves to continue,” Osorio said. “This is a young group with the chance to experience this tournament and the great responsibility to represent Mexico.”

Translated, that means the Mexican Football Federation views this tournament as a developmental challenge for its up-and-comers. Meanwhile, Estados Unidos is bringing in the heavy artillery. Jose Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard are among seven additions to the U.S. roster as the elimination stage nears. The USMNT is already unbeaten over three games.

But that’s the same American side that lost to Costa Rica, the third most-favorited team on the Gold Cup board, 4-0 in a recent World Cup qualifier. Are the Stars & Stripes a mirage once again?

Bovada is offering wagers on each Q-final game in addition to outright-winner futures, so let’s briefly take a look at each category and see where the betting value is.

Four very different matches

International soccer fans used to a lot of sameness in early elimination rounds can look to the 2017 Gold Cup, which could not have a more diverse set of quarterfinal matches.

New/old USMNT coach Bruce Arena is not the only skipper adding veteran talent to his Knockout-round roster.  Costa Rica, for instance, has added Kendall Waston of the Vancouver Whitecaps. But not only have the Americans loaded up on world-class athletes, they are scoring beautiful goals and attacking with skilled abandon.

The third goal in Sunday’s 3-0 win against Nicaragua was a classic, Matt Miazga heading-in a perfect free-kick from Graham Zusi. The USA’s newfound scoring touch and prohibitively short odds (-575) make their Q-final match with El Salvador moot for money line betting. El Salvador is not a value bet even at (+1200), since the ball will be in their end of the pitch often.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica is a slight favorite over Panama, which played to an impressive 1-1 draw with the U.S. on July 8th. Bovada gives (+600) on a wager that the Panamanians will score in both halves. That’s a good value bet, considering that an upset will likely entail scoring more than one goal on La Sele, and strikers like Gabriel Torres are lurking.

The over (2 total goals) in Canada-Jamaica looks appealing at (+105), and Mexico is a safe favorites’ bet (-215) over Honduras.

Stars and Stripes…for now 

Wager on the USMNT to win the 2017 Gold Cup at Bovada Sportsbook and receive a 50% off sign-up bonus.

Tim Howard of the Colorado Rapids has become the key player in the 2017 tournament. It is no secret that Bruce Arena is an attack-minded coach…sometimes to the detriment of defending. Experienced strikers like Dempsey can benefit from fresh legs and find the net behind Mexican GK Jesus Corona. But in a final that will likely involve swift counter-attacks from Mexico, Howard must be there to hold the clean sheet…or at least a near-clean sheet.

Mexico’s Gold Cup bid as a “B” team should not be mistaken for a fool’s errand. Edson Alvarez is a 19 year-old flash of lightning with an accurate shot, and Orbelin Pineda is a dangerous young mid-fielder. But Howard is having another brilliant year, preventing not one, not two, but three penalty kicks from finding the net in a dramatic Colorado Rapids playoff win.

Finally, what about the Costa Ricans? Rodney Wallace of New York City FC is a dangerous mid-fielder with stamina, and David Ramirez is also entering his prime. But look at the draw – Le Sele is less likely to win their Q-final match than the U.S., and less likely to beat Mexico in a final. In between, a semi-final with the newly souped-up Yanks would await in Arlington. Yes, they handled the USMNT easily last time around…but are unlikely to do so again in Texas.

Just because you’re paranoid

Sometimes, an underdog is really the favorite even though a million people say so.

It’s easy to be skeptical of the hype around the United States’ men. After all, the side has looked promising, then let down state-side World Cup fans forever. But it’s not that we think Arena is a reborn genius, it just doesn’t take a genius this time. The tournament appears set up for the USA to win it. Q-final and semi-final matches will take place mostly in the attacking half, saving a porous defense from overwork. If the youthful Mexican reserves manage to play through fatigue and generate chances in the final, Howard will be there as insurance.

MSB sees a 60% or 70% chance that Estados Unidos wins the Gold Cup. At (+175) futures odds, that’s a terrific play.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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