2019 Copa America Top Assists Betting – 14 June 2019

Coutinho to dethrone Copa America assist king

Football Betting

The latest edition of the Copa America, featuring 10 South American nations competing alongside guests Japan and Qatar, will kick-off on 14 Jun, with the final to be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 7 July.

Most popular betting brands have provided a Top Assist market for the three week tournament and while it may not attract the same level of interest or volume of bets as the outright winner or top scorer betting, it is only fair that those who are keen on getting involved are at least provide with some degree of insight and guidance. Hopefully we can assist with that!

2019 Copa America Betting at Betfair

 

Lionel Messi Justified Favourite

There is no more appropriate place to start than with the favourite; and that is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Argentina forward Lionel Messi (7/2 with Betfair). Without even looking at statistics, the Barcelona supremo would be an obvious bet for some. We’ve all seen his brilliance on a football pitch plenty of times. The numbers, however, make for an even more compelling argument.

Just four players (none are at this tournament) in the ‘Big Five’ European leagues registered more league assists than Messi in 2018-19, with his tally of 13 better than every player who may feature here. The same applies for his rate of key passes, which at 2.7 per game is comfortably better than most. Infogol’s end-of-season assessment of all players in Europe concluded that Messi finished with an Expected Assist figure of 0.48. Once again, it was a figure vastly superior to everyone else.

If that wasn’t enough, he has form, having finished each of the previous three Copa America’s with the most assists despite his team not winning any of those tournaments. Quite simply he is levels above anyone else on the continent for creativity, and is justifiably favourite.

 

Is there any point in opposing Messi?

That Messi is a worthy favourite is undeniable. However, if it were a foregone conclusion then the odds on him would be a lot shorter than they currently are. He has claimed the most assists in the last three Copa America’s but the last of those was back in 2016, when he was 28. He is now three years older at 31 and while he is still posting exceptional numbers in most statistics that matter, there have been some indications that even he has his limitations and can only do so much – especially when playing for his country!

At last summer’s FIFA World Cup, Messi appeared lost at times as his abject Argentina team laboured throughout. The fact they made it as far as the Round of 16 was a surprise in itself. He recorded only two assists in that tournament which, funnily enough, was still the most, although it was an honour shared between more than a dozen other players. It could be that his team holds him back yet again, especially if they suffer another early exit that would deprive him of sufficient games to work his magic.

 

Lionel Messi Most Assists 2019 Copa America
7/2

Bet at Betfair

 

 

The Best of the Contenders

 

Argentina – Despite their recent troubles as a team, it is two fellow Argentines who arrive at this tournament boasting an impressive number of assists for their clubs last season. However, Angel di Maria (11/1) and Sergio Aguero, with 11 and 8 assists respectively, played in sides that were the dominant forces in their respective leagues, at PSG and Man City, and so their numbers are perhaps inflated. Both have often been frustrating at international level. It’s difficult to trust either.

Giovani Lo Celso (40/1) could be influential from the middle of midfield. The 23-year-old was a shock omission from last summer’s squad for the World Cup but displayed his full versatility for Real Betis last season, flourishing in a variety of attacking positions. Argentina desperately needed some fresh impetus after their France nightmare and Lo Celso, with 4 assists and 0.8 key passes in a fairly average La Liga team, could be their answer.

 

Brazil – The host nation are expected to go far and should be good for a fair few goals, which would naturally be a positive when backing someone. Roberto Firmino (11/1) possesses superb link-up play and his selfless nature would make him a solid candidate, if he plays regularly. The Liverpool man recorded six assists and 1.3 key passes per game last season.

Philippe Coutinho (9/2) endured a difficult campaign at Barcelona, with only 2 assists in La Liga, but will now take most set-pieces in Neymar’s absence and would be a serious contender if somehow recapturing his old Liverpool form especially if presented with the opportunity to link up more regularly with his former Anfield team-mate, Firmino. He plays in central midfielder for his country, which is where he used to play to such a high level before leaving England, so he should see a lot more of the ball as opposed to when he plays out wide for Barca.

 

Colombia – For Colombia, the creative mantle will fall to James Rodriguez (15/2). The Bayern Munich playmaker averaged a very impressive 2.7 key passes per game in the Bundesliga last term, however only three were converted into assists. The 27-year-old has a habit of picking up knocks but when fit is a real handful and should link up well with Radamel Falcao. At the odds he could be excellent value should Los Cafeteros, now managed by the savvy and experienced Carlos Queiroz, make good progress.

 

Chile – Defending champions Chile will require one of either Alexis Sanchez (11/1) or Arturo Vidal (16/1) to step up if they’re to retain their title. Sanchez has endured a horrid 18-month period plagued by woeful form and plenty of injuries. He managed only 3 assists last season for Manchester United, although that wasn’t a bad return in such limited playing time. He also finished second in the assists chart in the last Copa America with three, one behind Messi.

 

Uruguay – There aren’t many strike duos at international level more experienced as a partnership than Uruguay’s Luis Suarez (11/1) and Edinson Cavani. The pair have over 100 caps each for their country, most of which were played together, scoring a combined 100 goals between them. Cavani only managed 0.6 key passes in an attacking and very dominant PSG team though, whereas Suarez averaged 1.4 for Barcelona although did finish the season with injury problems. Uruguay aren’t usually prolific either.

 

Venezuela – One player who could surprise a few at the odds is Salomon Rondon (50/1). A strong and imposing figure, the Newcastle forward’s best attribute is his hold up play and ability to set-up a teammate in dangerous positions. A rate of 1 key pass a game and a total of 7 assists in a team that wasn’t renowned for its scoring exploits, is not to be dismissed lightly.

His nation aren’t fancied at these finals, possibly because they have been placed in the same group as Brazil. It is a young and an improving side though, one that stunned Argentina to win a friendly 3-1 earlier in the year. Rondon could be hugely influential.

*All odds displayed were gathered from Betfair at 22:45 on 12 Jun 2019.

 

Betting Tips

Main Selection: Philippe Coutinho (Brazil) – 9/2

Value Pick: Salomon Rondon (Venezuela) – 50/1

 

Betting Conclusion

Despite his strong credentials, I have decided to oppose the assist king that is Lionel Messi. I couldn’t really put anyone off him as his price remains very appealing actually, considering he is aiming to finish as the leading assist creator at the fourth Copa America in a row. The biggest reservation, for me at least, has to be the team he plays for. Argentina were abysmal in Russia at last summer’s World Cup and simply cannot be trusted to go all the way here.

It is no guarantee that Brazil reach the final despite being favourites to do so, but they still should. Assists are more difficult to come by than goals and thus I would like to be on a player with a lot of potential to feature in a lot of matches. Philippe Coutinho fits that role, playing in a Brazil side that are three years in the making under this manager and should be primed for a tournament win. Coutinho will be the most senior figure in this Selecao team, from an attacking sense, in the absence of Neymar and will look to dictate most of the forward play. Assuming the role of set-piece taker certainly adds to his appeal as well.

There is usually one surprise package at a tournament and I am quietly predicting it could be Venezuela. If that does indeed come to fruition, Rondon could be a key player.


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