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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.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal in spotlight on Premier League Matchweek 2 Betting Lines

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With both teams under new sideline leadership, it could be a good time to take a chance on Arsenal flipping the script against Chelsea.

Chelsea is a -130 favorite on the EPL Matchweek 2 betting lines with Arsenal coming back at +335 for Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +285 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.0 goals. Chelsea is 5-0-1 in its last six EPL home games against Arsenal, but that trend took place under Arsene Wenger and the Gunners are now adapting to new manager Unai Emery.

Chelsea, which is also adapting to new manager Maurizio Sarri, won comfortably in its opener against lightweight Huddersfield Town, with Eden Hazard (+150 to score any time, +500 to score the first goal) showing great form. Laying chalk is defensible, but there is something to be said for being experimental in the early phase of the season.

Both newly promoted Cardiff City (+210) and Newcastle (+145, draw +205) could be anxious to avoid having nothing to show after two games, which could lead to a low-risk game. The host Bluebirds are -180 on the double chance as manager Neil Warnock attempts to get his first win against Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez, coming in 0-4-1 all-time.

Tottenham at -400 on the Premier League odds this weekend, hopeful that Harry Kane has played off some of the post-World Cup rust, could open the floodgates against Fulham (+1000, draw +475), which is still adjusting to the top flight. There is good value with Tottenham at minus-1.5 goals (-130) and over on the 3.0 total (-125).

Everton (-115) has some relief on the injury front since Richarlison (calf) might be good to go against Southampton (+350, draw +235). Everton also has six clean sheets in its last 13 home fixtures against the Saints, suggesting there’s value with the under on the 2.5 goals total (-145) and on Everton keeping a clean sheet (+125).

Burnley (+135) hosts Watford (+230, draw +200) in a Sunday matchup which will be just three days after the Clarets won an Europa League match. Burnley has three clean sheets in a row and has won or drew seven of its last eight matches against Watford, whose away record last season would make a skeptic of anyone. Whether playing in Europe for the first time in 52 years affects Burnley likely won’t come into play just yet.

Brighton (+425) beat Manchester United (-135, draw +245) in their home fixture last season, albeit for it only the second time in 19 tries. Brighton (+110 on the double chance) might have a nothing-to-lose attitude while heavily favored Manchester United works to rebuild cohesion as Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young re-integrate into the lineup.

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.

Man City v. Arsenal Clash Highlights EPL Matchweek 1 Odds Slate

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Manchester City at even money is hard to pass on, since its recent form against Arsenal might offset the absence of stars trickling back into training after the World Cup last month.

Manchester City is a -110 away favorite with Arsenal getting +280 at home on the EPL Matchweek 1 odds on Sunday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +275 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.5 goals. The defending champions are 5-2-0 (wins-draws-losses) in their last seven matches against Arsenal in all competitions, and every match had either three or four goals scored.

While Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are unlikely to get the start, Manchester City can still count on Fernandinho to keep its midfield together. Leroy Sane has also scored in three of his last six starts against Arsenal.

Arsenal, playing its first competitive game under manager Unai Emery, could have some element of surprise going for it in the form of new tactics built around playmaking midfielder Mesut Ozil. Arsenal believers might want to look at the percentage play of a win/draw double chance at -110. A draw with both teams scoring offers +325.

Manchester United (-190) hosts Leicester City (+600, +280 draw) in the lone Friday betting matchup. With big names such as Paul Pogba and Jamie Vardy on post-World Cup breathers, it could be a scrambly game with ample scoring chances at each end. The price on Manchester United to win with each team scoring and the total going over 2.5 is +150.

Newcastle United (+275) is a home underdog against Tottenham Hotspur (+100, +240 draw), which is waiting on the fitness of no fewer than six mainstays who have myriad aches and pains, including striker Harry Kane. Newcastle is worth taking on the double chance (win/draw) and the under on the 2.5 total offers -125.

Bournemouth (-120) shouldn’t have any reason to stay in low gear against newly promoted Cardiff City (+335, +250 draw), whose roster upgrades have mostly come from lower leagues. The Cherries are offering +250 to cover the minus-1.5 goals line.

Wolverhampton (+130) was aggressive in the transfer market after winning promotion from the championship, while Everton (+220, +220 draw) expects to push for the top six after its big summer of signing of Richarlison in the midfield. Each team should be capable of scoring in what could become a wide-open game.

And talk that Liverpool (-450) might challenge for the title has zapped their moneyline betting value against West Ham United (+1200, +525 draw) in a Sunday betting matchup. With Fabinho and Naby Keita shoring up their midfield, Liverpool should be more a cohesive team than last year’s offense-oriented, defensively-dodgy iteration and they’re offering +105 for a shutout win.

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.