The CONCACAF Gold Cup is underway in America and there are a host of group stage matches over the next few days and leading into the weekend. We tipped Mexico to win their opening game the other night, which they duly did by beating El Salvador 3-1. USA let us down though as they were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by Panama despite taking the lead in the first half.
Canada and Costa Rica are in pole position to qualify for the quarter finals from group A, with the two sides sharing top spot with four points. Their game against each other resulted in a draw, and they will play Honduras and French Guiana respectively on Friday night/Saturday morning.
Martinique are in the surprise position of being top of group B after a 2-0 win over Nicaragua, but with games against the USA and Panama to come, it will be tough to hang onto that position. That draw between the patter pair means that both will need to take three points from their next matches scheduled for Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
Finally group C saw both Mexico and Jamaica secure wins, and those two are top of the group ahead of their meeting on Wednesday night. This one will go a long way to determining the winner of the section and Mexico are strong favourites to emerge victorious. It may not be completely one-way traffic though, as they look to build on last year’s campaign which saw them reach the final.
Mexico v Jamaica
Jamaica could be worth backing on the Asian handicap with a +1.5 headstart at -128 with BetVictor
This means that even if they lose by one goal the bet will be a winner. Mexico were off to a good start with a 3-1 win against El Salvador, going 2-1 up in the first half before adding a third in the second period. Jamaica had an equally good start, beating Curacao with a pair of second half goals.
Mexico sent an experienced squad to the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia just a few weeks ago, and this is a lesser group of players than that which contested last season’s Gold Cup. Mexico won last term’s competition – beating Jamaica 3-1 in the final – but they might have a tougher time in this tournament.
Jamaica scored some very impressive results last year, including a semi final victory over the USA. World Cup qualifying hasn’t been successful by any account, but they are capable of giving Mexico a game and proving defensively sound.
Panama v Nicaragua
On the other side of the coin, we’ll back Panama to beat a -1.5 Asian handicap when they face Nicaragua, at odds of -125 with 188Bet.
Both USA and Panama need to secure points to justify their positions as favourites to qualify, and now that they have drawn their opener with each other, goal difference could also be important. Panama have struggled for results in recent times, drawing the last four in a row, but they can get back to winning ways here.
Nicaragua have lost six of their last eight matches and have been beaten by Panama in three of the last four meetings.
USA v Martinique
USA are our tip to lift the trophy and although they have a young and inexperienced squad, the players are good enough to have an impact. Dom Dwyer is one of those players, and he followed up his debut goal prior to the tournament with another in the draw against Panama.
Martinique, having won three points from Nicaragua, can approach this game on the front foot. They have won seven of their last ten matches, albeit against questionable opposition, and have scored at least two goals in each of those seven victories.
USA have conceded in five of their last six games, so they are by no means a tight defence. The Americans should have too much power and quality and ought to go on and win this game, but there are reasons to believe Martinique can find the net as well, and it would be no great shock to see plenty of goals here.
Jamaica +1.5 to beat Mexico
Friday 14th July, 03:30 GMT
Panama -1.5 to beat Nicaragua
Wednesday 12th July, 23:30 GMT
USA v Martinique – Over 2.5 Goals
Thursday 13th July, 02:00 GMT