Longer-term readers of this humble corner of cyberspace may remember that Otto gave himself a $100 virtual pool of cash to bet on the first phases of the tourney last year...and promptly lost it all. So I awarded myself another hundred virtual dollars...and lost them all again. So now you are clear that I TOTALLY SUCK AT SPORTS BETTING, here are the matchups and prices (supplied by UK bookmaker Ladbrokes). I'm risking fate by adding another hundred to my imaginary bankroll and I'm going to try and pick a value bet or two (be clear that I don't bet for real...I really, truly suck at this and don't waste my own cash). Here we go!
Argentina 1/6 ..........Draw 6/1......... Venezuela 14/1
Ecuador 16/5 ........ Draw 9/4 ............. Brazil 8/11
Colombia 8/15 ....... Draw 11/4............ Bolivia 11/2
Peru 13/8 ............Draw 23/10........ Chile 13/8
Therefore I'm going to concentrate my cash on the other two matches. Ecuador and Brazil is fancy for a draw at 9/4, basically the weaker Ecuador needs a win and the stronger Brazil doesn't and will settle for a point away from home. As for the other match, Chile at 13/8 looks a very big price to me and the best value of the weekend. Peru is a truly mediocre national side, but this time around Chile has serious designs on claiming a place at the finals in South Africa next year. Marcelo Bielsa has got the team working well and there's new, quality young blood, too.
So my bets are:
$30 on Ecuador and Brazil to draw @ 9/4 (theoretical return $97.50)
And let's see how we get on.
UPDATE: Argentina 4, Venezuela 0. And oh my stars, this guy is good: