We preview round 14 of the South American World Cup Qualifiers.
With just five rounds of 2018 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers to go, Brazil remain at the summit, seven points clear of their closest rivals. The Top four teams on the South American log will qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and as it stands, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia – in that order- occupy those places.
Ecuador and Chile are level on 20 points and lie just a point off fourth place Colombia. But keep in mind, the fifth-placed team will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs. Technically speaking, as it stands, every team on the CONMEBOL standing still have a chance of qualifying but in my eyes, Bolivia and Venezuela can be written off. We have seen plenty have goals and thrilling clashes and I highly doubt round 14 will be any less entertaining. Let’s get to it.
Tuesday 28 March
Bolivia 47/10 | Draw 3/1 | Argentina 11/20
Bolivia are off the back off a hard-fought 1-0 defeat away to Colombia but will be glad to return to their home patch on Tuesday evening, where they have managed a 2-2 draw against Ecuador and a 1-0 victory over Paraguay in their last two games. Nonetheless, 10 defeats from 13 matches doesn’t warrant much confidence from a tipping perspective, especially when they are coming up against the number one ranked team in the world.
Argentina made a slow start to the qualifying round but a rallied and are now placed third on the standings. Back-to-back wins has seen the Argentines creep up from behind Uruguay, who now lie just a point above them. La Albiceleste have won the last four meetings against Bolivia, scoring 17 goals without conceding. All those victories may have came on home soil but I still feel Argentina will prove too strong for the La Verde.
Ecuador 19/20 | Draw 24/10 | Colombia 11/4
This for me is the highlight clash of the round. Ecuador taking on Colombia in what promises to be a cracking contest. The home side are placed in the play-off position while Colombia lie just a point above them in an automatic World Cup qualifying place. La Tri have been excellent on their ground with four wins from six games, including back-to-back wins.
Colombia have been inconsistent of late but can take confidence in their outstanding record against Ecuador, claiming five wins from the last six encounters. A cagey encounter is on the cards and the sides are tipped to cancel each other out but if you looking for a safer bet, get on Under 2.5 Goals when the betting market comes out.
Wednesday 29 March
Chile 3/10 | Draw 17/4 | Venezuela 19/2
Chile are another team that have been below-par throughout this qualifying campaign. The 2016 Copa America champions need to pull up their socks or at least their shorts, much like the hard-working Alexis Sanchez. Comparisons aside, Chile have done well on their turf, claiming four wins from six matches, including three on the trot and will be confident of making it four against basement-dwellers Venezuela.
La Vinotinto have registered just six points from 13 matches – a total of nine losses, three draws and just one win. Venezuela are without a win on the road, going down five times in six outings, scoring five goals and conceding 17 times. Chile will be hungry for the win here, especially given the fact that they could potentially capitalise on the tie between Ecuador and Colombia. La Roja are tipped to win confidently, so take them on the (-1) Handicap when the market is available.
Brazil 2/9 | Draw 52/10 | Paraguay 11/1
Brazil are on fire at the moment with five wins on the spin, including a 4-1 hammering of Uruguay – in their own backyard last time out. The five-time world champions are unbeaten on their ground with five wins from six matches, scoring 18 goals and conceding just four times.
Paraguay come into this clash off the back of an impressive 2-1 home win over Ecuador and will look to build on that. Easier said than done, however, especially against a team of Brazil’s quality but they have earned a draw in the last four meetings against them. Nonetheless, Brazil are in red-hot form and are looking unstoppable at present. The home win is a banker bet.
Peru 22/10 | Draw 43/20 | Uruguay 5/4
Last but not least Peru and Uruguay will go toe-to-toe on Wednesday evening. Peru have struggled to get going and as a result lie eighth on the table. They do have a slim chance of qualifying but their lack of consistency has let them down too often this campaign.
Uruguay have been poor of late with back-to-back defeats against Chile (3-1) and Brazil (1-4) and will need to improve drastically before they find themselves out of the qualifying places. La Celeste have won the last four meetings against Peru but given their dismal form, Both Teams To Score looks a better bet. Get on!
Written by Aaron Crowie for @Hollywoodbets