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Messi, Argentina favorite to win Copa America Centenario Tournament

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Lionel Messi ought to be motivated heading into the last four of the Copa America Centenario, since the world’s greatest soccer player has his first chance to win a major international trophy with Argentina as the betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Argentina, which has outscored their four opponents 14-2 ahead of Tuesday’s game, plays the upstart United States in the semifinal at NRG Stadium in Houston. The Argentines are listed at -175 on the tournament champion board, with the United States listed as the +800 long shot. Chile and Colombia, who meet in the second semifinal on Wednesday at Soldier Field in Chicago, have odds of +325 and +500.

For Tuesday’s semi, Argentina is the heavy -220 favorite, with the underdog United States at +650 and a draw at +330. They are 6-2-2 all-time against the Americans, and Messi will be complemented by other threats such as striker Sergio Aguero of Manchester City. It is a safe assumption that Argentina will control the possession time.

The wild card will be the stout back line that the United States has built under coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Like many North American or northern European teams, they have a size advantage that can keep skilled opponents from completing plays in the 18-yard box. The likes of D John Brooks and D Geoff Cameron will pose an obstacle to Messi, which will assist in the Americans’ effort to stretch out the scoreless portion of the match, and perhaps force Argentina to go to extra time or penalty kicks.

Meanwhile, Chile is listed as a slight +150 favorite to prevail on Wednesday, with Colombia at +195 and a draw at +215.

Chile is minus a critical element, since MF Arturo Vidal, of Bayern Munich, is suspended for accumulating too many yellow cards. Lacking Vidal will affect Chile somewhat, but the world’s fifth-ranked team isn’t exactly lacking for depth. Bettors should try not to fixate on how good Chile looked during their 7-0 quarter-final win against Mexico, since margin of victory in the previous game is not necessarily predictive.

Colombia, conversely, prevailed against Peru in their quarter-final after a penalty shootout. Colombia’s lineup has been in flux throughout the tournament, and it has not won outright in either of its past two games. Striker Carlos Bacca, of AC Milan, has said he will play in spite of an ankle injury. In David Ospino, Colombia also has one of the best goalkeepers still active in the tournament.

The Copa America final is on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

EPL Week Betting Preview: Man City Slim Favorite Facing Tottenham

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The recency factor might point to Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Kane instead of Manchester City, which is lagging after having run out front all season.

Manchester City is a super-slim +150 favorite with Tottenham Hotspur coming back at +160 and the draw offers +255 on the three-way moneyline for this English Premier League betting matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

However, Tottenham has yet to lose an EPL match since January 1, while Manchester City has lost three games in a row and has seen its ambition of an EPL/Champions League double go up in smoke.

Four of the last five matchups between the Citizens and Spurs have had at least three goals with both teams scoring. The over on the 3.0 total still offers +105. There should be scoring. Tottenham is also even-money on the draw no bet prop, offering a fallback to Spurs backers in the event of a tie.

The twist for the matchup between relegation-threatened Southampton (+345) and Chelsea (-120, +255 draw) is that the sides will soon meet again in an upcoming F.A. Cup semifinal. Southampton will have to play desperate attacking football, which makes both the over (2.5 total) and Chelsea on the goals line (-1.5) worth considering.

Burnley (+155) will not have captain Ben Mee in the center of its back four for a big match against Leicester City (+195, +210 draw). Each team is healthy up front, though, which means the over on the 2.0 total should hit. Both teams have scored in five of Burnley’s last seven home games and in 10 of Leicester’s last 12 away games.

Huddersfield Town (+160) and Watford (+180, +215 draw) are on five- and four-match winless streaks and have both been porous defensively. Neither team is more than a hunch play but taking the -140 over on the 2.0 total seems self-explanatory since eight of their last nine matchups have had three or more goals.

Swansea City (+150) catches Everton (+195, +210 draw), who is struggling to create scoring chances and has won just two of 16 away games in the league. Swansea City needs the full three points and also has Jordan Ayew back as a potential finisher.

Newcastle (+220) has won only one of its last 22 matchups against Arsenal (+115, +255 draw), whom it hosts in a Sunday betting matchup. Newcastle has an excellent chance to end the drought, since Arsenal seems to be saving itself for Europa League. Newcastle’s draw no bet price is a still-generous +135.

And West Ham United (-105) faces last-place Stoke City (+295, +240 draw) in a Monday betting matchup with a chance to solidify its place in the 2018-19 EPL. West Ham forward Marko Arnatovic is facing his former team, making him worth looking at in goal scorer props.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Manchester City Betting Favorite vs. Manchester United in Highlight EPL Clash

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The outlook, in the greater scheme, has changed for Manchester City and they just may try to take out some frustrations on their cross-town archrival.

With a chance to clinch the English Premier League crown this weekend, Manchester City is a -115 betting favorite while visiting Manchester United comes back at +310 with the draw priced at +260 and a 2.5-goal total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

 It is just a matter of when Manchester City will wrap up the title, so bettors will have to stay alert about whether manager Pep Guardiola goes with a first-choice lineup or rests players such as Sergio Aguero. Man City, which is expected to have midfielders Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva ready to go, might be eager for a big show to wash away the stain of a 3-0 defeat against Liverpool in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg.

Manchester United has a good record in this matchup, with a 3-1-2 (wins-draws-losses) mark in the last six matchups. But they don’t play the pressing style that can give Manchester City trouble.

A late-season derby often means more to the lower-placed team, which means Everton (+310) offers value against Liverpool (-120, draw +260) on the Premier League betting lines in this edition of the Merseyside derby. Liverpool might scratch Mohamed Salah (groin) and could make further lineup decisions to preserve other core players for Tuesday’s quarterfinal second leg at Manchester City. With that in mind, Everton is worth taking for the upset.

Neither Brighton & Hove Albion (-120) nor Huddersfield Town (+365, draw +240) is in good form, as Brighton has failed to score in three games, whilst Huddersfield has been shut out in its last four. The home team has not lost in the last 10 editions of this matchup, and given the teams’ perilous position in the standings (13th and 16th) it’s worth taking the under at +105 on the 2.0 total.

Last-place West Bromwich Albion (+140) has brought in Darren Moore as interim manager after sacking Alan Pardew and the shake-up might lead to some fact-facing ahead of its match with Swansea City (+215, draw +210). Swansea City, which will essentially be clear of the relegation zone with three more points, is poised to pounce for an away win with midfielder Sam Clucas back in the lineup.

Arsenal (-195) takes on Southampton (+500, draw +325) in a Sunday betting matchup, but forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play. However, Arsenal has won its last two league games and also has an attainable minus-1.0 goals line (priced at -110). With Southampton averaging fewer than one goal per goal, Arsenal has a strong chance at a shutout as well.

And Chelsea (-385) takes on West Ham United (+1000, draw +475) in a Sunday betting matchup. Chelsea has the motivation of playing a London derby, but with Champions League qualification out of reach, this could be a trap game. West Ham, with Joao Mario providing a boost up front, could be worth taking on the win/draw double chance.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.