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The South America World Cup Qualifiers: Round 12 coming at you

Mere hours ago was round 11 and we managed to bag a decent profit thanks to Peru's late winning goal versus Chile. But less of the past and more of the future, here we are with round 12 to be played on Tuesday, March 26th and all to play for (well, all my $151.80 bankroll anyway). It's Peru's turn to take a break this round, so here we go with the match-ups, prices from Ladbrokes dot com as per normal:

Bolivia 9/2    Draw 13/5   Argentina   8/15
Ecuador  8/15   Draw  5/2    Paraguay   9/2
Chile 6/5   Draw  11/5  Uruguay   9/5
Venezuela 2/1   Draw 11/5   Colombia   11/10

This round has tough to call matches, be in no doubt.

  • Starting with Bolivia vs Argentina and there's no doubt at all as to where the footy class lies in this game, but teams are often found out by the altitude of La Paz (if you're a sea-leveller, try playing footy at 12,500 feet above sea level and find out why all by yourself) and Argentina has an (in)famously bad time up there on occasion (anyone remember the 6-1 loss last time, Messi and all playing?). It's pure lottery ticket stuff that tie, not going to try and call it. 
  • Ecuador is favourite to beat Paraguay, also at altitude (~9,500 feet this time, not quite as severe but still a significant factor), but the price is rather prohibitive and Paraguay managed to grab a draw vs Uruguay last time by playing ugly, disruptive footy in Montevideo, so in other words this one is a lottery as well. 
  • Chile at home to Uruguay is the most interesting of the draw football-wise, as Chile can be pretty or can be rough (especially at home) and Uruguay isn't a namby-pamby team either...this one could see sparks flying. Playing against Chile is the loss of suspended star Alexei Sanchez for the game, who was by far the most dangerous vs Peru last time and will be missed by the home team. Uruguay can play anything between mediocrity and worldbeating, has the raw materials (Suarez, Cavani, Forlan and others) but still, coming away from Santiago with points isn't easy for the best of them. 
  • Then we have the northern derby and Venezuela will fancy their chances at home, but Colombia is arguably playing some of the nicest stuff at national level right now and may just about sneak this one. They took the poor Bolivia apart last Friday (5-0) and deserved that scoreline, too. Right now Colombia is the form team on the continent, looking solid for qualification for Brazil 2014 and has the look of a dark horse candidate for the big party next year.
So to the betting and I'm going for two wagers this round. 

$20 Colombia to win at 11/10 and we fish for the away win here. Colombia plays attractive, attacking, skillful stuff and has a world class front line these days, so every chance of a couple of goals here, away or not. Total potential return $42.

$5 on a Chile/Uruguay draw at 11/5. Both of these teams have the goods to win by two or three clear goals, but I'm going to have a small punt at the value result, nothing big being risked, just a value guess on two teams that may finish cancelling each other out. Total potential return $16.

If all else fails, it will still leave our treasury with $126.80 for the rounds to come (i.e. we're still up on our original $100 investment, whatever happens this round). And let's see how we get on.

UPDATE: Two failed bets. Chile won 2-0 in a scrappy match, Venezuela did well to beat a Colombia that didn't take its chances, a deserved 1-0. Therefore $126.80 to take to June.