History and recent results suggest cards aplenty
Lodi and Martinez provide added value
Back 9/110.00 Bet Builder in Maracana blockbuster
Brazil v Argentina
Tuesday 21 November, 00:30 GMT (Wed)
For all the grumblings you hear about international football, it does tend to serve up a mouthwatering match on occasion. This is one such contest.
Not only is it two of the game's traditional powerhouses going head-to-head in Rio de Janeiro, it is a huge local rivalry - and one given added spice this time by recent results.
World champions Argentina come into the match off the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Uruguay last week but the real focus in on Brazil.
It's just two wins from five World Cup qualifiers so far and they currently sit outside the automatic qualifying positions in the CONMEBOL (South American) standings.
Remarkably, they've never lost a home World Cup qualifier but that fact has been mentioned an awful lot in recent days given the possibility of it changing looks higher than it has for some time.
Brazil are beset with injuries, most notably losing talisman Neymar.
They are even without a permanent coach with Fluminense boss Fernando Diniz doing both jobs at present - he'll be back in the Maracana 24 hours after this match for a club game!
Under Diniz, Brazil have often struggled to create chances but, perhaps more worryingly given the opposition here, they looked way too open when losing 2-1 in Colombia on Thursday.
Diniz tends to favour an attacking set-up and while Thursday's game suggests he would do well to replace the injury Vinicius Junior with a more defensively-minded player, the signs are he won't.
Argentina could well take advantage with their midfield likely to outnumber that of their hosts.
Still, they also looked suspect at the back against the Uruguayans with Darwin Nunez causing them all sorts of problems.
Goals could therefore be on the cards.
That's not something you tend to associate with this match-up - the last six meetings have all seen under 2.5 goals - but going over at 31/20 could offer some value on this occasion.
However, my preferred line of betting attack is in the disciplinary markets.
Those recent matches show it's usually a feisty affair with the last five all seeing at least seven cards.
The last three have all delivered at least three for each team and I'd suggest Brazil's form only increases the chances of this getting a bit naughty - the hosts will be desperate not to lose, while making history would be a huge thing for the visitors.
The appointment of Chilean referee Piero Maza should help.
Eight of his nine matches in the CONMEBOL club competitions this season saw at least six cards, while he's hit double figures in three of his last domestic games.
Over 2.5 cards for each team gets the nod.
In the player-card market, I think the value lies with Brazil left-back Renan Lodi, who is going to have to deal with Lionel Messi.
Argentina's star man has been fouled 13 times in four qualifiers so far and will surely be targeted here.
Lodi made five fouls against the Argentines in the 2021 Copa America final, while he's landed the 2+ fouls bet in two of his three qualifiers this season.
That was the bet I initially looked at but Lodi is only 1/21.50 for 2+ fouls.
Better value lies in the card market where he's 5/23.50.
Lodi has been carded in four of nine Ligue 1 games since joining Marseille, while at Nottingham Forest last season he was booked in seven of 26 starts.
For Brazil, it's three cards in 12 starts.
Finally, I will dip into the fouls market and back Lautaro Martinez, a player expected to start at centre-forward for the visitors after Julian Alvarez struggled in that position against Uruguay.
He's committed 2+ fouls in all three of his previous competitive matches against Brazil, while it's a bet he's regularly delivered on for Inter Milan this season.
In what should be a feisty encounter, this looks a decent play.
Put the four legs together and you get a Bet Builder which pays north of 9/110.00.
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