Copa America Group A: Second-string Mexico can beat Bolivia
Mexico manager Miguel Herrera has gone for a relatively inexperienced squad of 23 for the Copa America in Chile, due to his preference to the Gold Cup also this summer, although one name in particular stands out.
Legendary defensive player Rafael Marquez, 36, will get the chance to further his international career and add to his 124 caps to date, starting with El Tri’s first match of the competition against Bolivia.
Herrera’s men are the odds-on favourites with Coral at 8/13 for victory, despite their second-string squad, and will hope that their experience will take them through Group A, which they are 5/1 to top and 10/11 to finish in the top two.
Despite missing the likes of Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos, Guillermo Ochoa and many others, the Aztecs do have seven plus-30s players, and having older heads as well as youngsters hoping to prove a point could work well.
One of those up-and-coming stars include Atletico Madrid forward Raul Jimenez, who enjoyed limited game-time at the former La Liga champions last season so will be fresh and raring to go. The 24-year-old is odds-on at 4/5 to net anytime, and 7/2 for two or more.
Mexico can also take heart from the fact that they have a brilliant record against Bolivia, and have won each of their last seven meetings with them to nil. They are 31/20 to beat them without conceding again.
However, perhaps surprisingly, El Verde are undefeated in both Copa America head-to-heads against Mexico, having defeated them 3-1 in the 1997 semi-finals on home soil – they eventually lost in the final – and drawing 0-0 in the 1993 group stages.
Bolivia, therefore, are very tempting 5/1 shouts to cause an upset and win this fixture at the Estadio Sausalito, but they are more fancied at 3/1 to claim a crucial point. They are, though, the group outsiders at 5/1 for a top two finish.
El Verde’s main threats going forward will come from former Wigan Athletic loanee Marcelo Moreno, who is price at 11/4 to score anytime, and the unfortunate-named Paraguay-born Pablo Escobar (10/3).
Betting tip – Raul Jimenez scores two or more @ 7/2