Five Betfair writers give us their top tip ahead of this summer's Confederations Cup. Dave Farrar, Michael Cox, Ed Malyon, Tobias Gourlay and James Horncastle all discuss where to find the best value in Brazil...
My area of expertise for betting.betfair.com is Italian football, and so for a preview of this nature I should probably be coming up with an imaginative way of following up my opinions on Cesare Prandelli's squad. As it happens, I think that he has chosen well, and I'm particularly pleased to see several of Serie A's form players included: Antonio Candreva for one has had an outstanding season, and is playing well enough to be a big part of next year's World Cup. I think that Italy are priced up fairly though, at 8.615/2 to win the tournament and roughly half that to make the final, and it's the team which tops the betting in Italy's group that most interests me from a betting perspective.
Brazil are hosts (you probably knew that) and are naturally expected to go well. But they are way too short at 2.486/4 to win the tournament and at odds on to make the final. I haven't been impressed by Brazil at all in their recent friendly matches, and Luis Felipe Scolari has many problems to solve. He isn't close to finding the strength that it takes to play consistently at a major tournament. I wouldn't write Brazil off for the World Cup, but this Confederations Cup has come too soon. If you take on the Selecao, you have Mexico, Italy and an underrated Japan on your side in the Group, and then Spain or Uruguay in a tough semi final. There will be many rivers to cross for this overrated side, and I'm not sure that they'll stay dry. They're a lay for me.
Dave Farrar says:
I think the top goalscorer market could be particularly interesting - especially with an outsider like Tahiti in the competition. If one striker manages a hat-trick against the minnows, they could effectively wrap up the Golden Boot at an early stage. Tahiti's first opponents are Nigeria, and while Brown Ideye doesn't have a great goalscoring record at international level, he played well at the Africa Cup of Nations by darting inside from the right flank, and if you can back him at around 100.099/1, he might be a handy back-to-lay.
Frankly, it is impossible to see past Spain for this tournament but at the last Confederations Cup they slipped up and therefore a price shorter than 2/1 won't be attracting my mortgage.
How Brazil are anywhere close to Spain's price is an absolute mystery, with the baffling decision to replace Mano Menezes still costing them, and their record under Felipão absolutely appalling.
Home advantage is being overestimated, with the weight of expectation on this squad resulting in boos at two significant home friendlies in the last year. Scolari told the press at Wembley that he always starts slowly and it may be that he finds a system that works and his side can compete come 2014 but right now you'd be a fool to back the 2.447/5 favourites and they are a cast-iron lay for me.
Ed Malyon says: Lay Brazil at 2.447/5
I watched Mexico notch their first win of 2013 on Tuesday. The 1-0 result in Jamaica means they will probably qualify for Brazil 2014. The performance means I will definitely oppose them at Brazil 2013.
The Friday before last Tuesday, I saw El Tri draw a friendly 2-2 with Nigeria. It was the Olympic champions' sixth straight draw. You might say they are unbeaten in the calendar year (W1-D6-L0) but that's a statement which needs some context.
Failures to beat any of their lower-ranked CONCACAF neighbours until Tuesday reflect a serious deficiency in the centre of the park: they don't have a 10 worthy of the number. With Chicharito offering nothing but his goals, Chepo de la Torre's side have scored six times in seven games this year and pose a predictable threat. It comes from the flanks - where you'll find Valencia's Andres Guardado, Fulham old boy Carlos Salcido and others - and can be negated by the other teams in Group A - even the outsiders, Japan.
With Cesare Prandelli's restyled Italy unproven and Luis Felipe Scolari's Brazil under pressure and lacking competitive match practice, Alberto Zaccheroni's Samurai Blue - already confirmed for Brazil 2014 - are a value punt for the knockout stages.
Tobias Gourlay says: Back Japan To Qualify from Group A @ 7.06/1
A Brazilian has finished top scorer in four of the six editions of the Confederations Cup. You'd think that by playing in front of their own supporters and in stadiums that they're familiar with home advantage might help bring about this outcome again and make Neymar 8.88/1 and Fred 12.5n/a decent bets for the Golden Boot.
However, considering Brazil's recent form and the standard of opposition in their group (Japan, Mexico and Italy) perhaps it's best to look elsewhere. Tahiti should make cannon fodder for Spain and Uruguay. Considering the form Luis Suarez has going into this tournament (he got the winner in their most recent friendly against France) and his record in general for his country (32 goals in 64 appearances) he looks a good bet to outscore everyone else in this competition at 8.27/1.
James Horncastle says: Back Luis Suarez to be top scorer at 8.27/1