The time to sell Mexico is now.
I think their World Cup run was fool’s Gold. They admirably stood toe to toe with Brazil, albeit being on the back foot the entire game with Guillermo Ochoa withstanding shot after shot and keeping the Selecao out of the net for a 0-0 draw. This is the same Brazil team that got destroyed by Germany, that didn’t’ make the Copa America semis, the same Brazil that lets a marketing firm pick their starting 11.
Under Herrera, Mexico prefer to play with 5 at the back, with 3 center-backs and 2 wingers. It lends itself to good pressure absorption and they can be hard to break down. They took a B team to the Copa America and walked away with 2 points after drawing hosts Chile and Bolivia and losing to Ecuador. Even still, they were out-possessed by each of their opponents and Ecuador and Bolivia are not world-beaters by any stretch. Chicharito was held out of the Copa America but suffered a collarbone fracture against Honduras in a 0-0 friendly where he experimented with a flat 4 at the back. I would expect Peralta and Vela to lead the line up front with Gio Dos Santos playing the #10. My key for this team is Miguel Layun and how well he gets forward and puts in balls for GDS and company.
The other 3 teams in this group, as predicted will pack the midfield, stifle attacks and attempt to counter and win opportunities by set pieces. I dont like Mexico to cover big spreads so that is why I am backing the Cubans +2.75 goals in the opening game, banking they dont lose by 4 and at this point, most of their team should’t have yet defected. As a side note, Cuba have lost 6-1, 6-1 and 5-0 in the 3rd group game of each of the last 3 Gold Cups. Keep that in mind when they play Guatemala, a team which will be vying for a 2 or 3 seed and should move on from the group into the knockouts.
Mexico’s lack of attack and the fact that middle-tier soccer powers can stymie them makes me feel that someone, at some point is going to call their number. I am banking on it being Canada in the semifinal but in now way whatsoever do I feel this team should be +140 to win the whole contest as I’d probably put them +130 vs the USA -150 to lift the trophy in a potential final.
Keep all of this in mind before betting favorites to cover spreads and overs, both popular bets among recreational gamblers. Also, dont shy away from vig if you make a number better or worse than the offered line.