With the European football season soon to get underway, now's the perfect time to sharpen your punting skills. Up your chances to profit from betting on the beautiful game in the 2017/18 season with the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Spitting out the full name of The Confederation (The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) is more of a challenge than deciding which teams are betting cannon fodder.
It's undeniable that Mexico and the USA have dominated in previous tournaments, though this cup has become more and more competitive – so we've taken a deeper look to try and uncover the best in CONCACAF Gold Cup bets available with the best online bookmakers. Check out this betting preview to see if those online bookmakers are expecting a winner outside of the US or Mexico this year!
The last five Gold Cups have a familiar theme that stretches back to the first tournament in 1991: domination by the USA and Mexico. In total, Mexico have claimed seven wins, with the USA on five. Only Canada played a different tune, when they won the 2000 Cup.
Online bookies understandably have the two nations at the head of the Gold Cup betting market – bet365 goes 13/10 on Mexico while 888sport is offering 7/4 on the USA. But do the odds make sense?
Mexico have won three of the last four Gold Cup tournaments and, given their apparent domination of the CONCACAF Zone's 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, they look very solid favourites at 13/10 with bet365.
They've drawn and beaten the USA in World Cup qualifiers and come into the tournament having reached the semi-final of the Confederations Cup in Russia (where a 4-1 defeat to Germany flattered the Europeans). There's little value in Mexico winning the group at 2/9, but it may be worth something with a multiple punt.
The USA have the potential to steal the game with home advantage, but they're a team in transition after Jurgen Klinsman's sacking to try and salvage their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. As things stand, they're scrapping to get to Russia and have lost to Mexico and Costa Rica.
Things look more promising under Bruce Arena and they should make it to Russia, but could use this to tinker with the line-up as they are weak in defence. At the price of 7/4 at 888sport, they're not appealing as a solid bet, with Mexico far more attractive as the likeliest winner.
Costa Rica at 6/1 with bet365 can't really be labelled as a 'dark horse', but they do stare you in the face as a side that has a genuine chance of winning the Gold Cup at a fair price. They currently sit third in World Cup qualifying, having thrashed the USA 4-0 at home, but losing 0-2 to Mexico away.
Despite this defeat, the Costa Rican outfit on their day on neutral soil is very capable of giving Mexico a tough game. They finished second in 2002 and third in 2009, so at least have some pedigree to their name at this level.
Shocks happen at every level of elite football: Greece won the European Championship, Leicester City won the Premier League and Canada did once do the miraculous to prevent Mexico and the USA winning this competition. Most minnows who exceed expectations in competitive tournaments do so virtue of rock solid defences.
The team that fits this profile nicely comes in the robust shape of Panama (more famous for hats and canals, yes – but maybe they need a third claim to fame). In World Cup qualifying the side has drawn with Mexico and the USA, so we already know they can theoretically get a point against the two best sides in the tournament.
The downside is they don't score many goals – their World Cup qualifying stats of played six, won one, lost one and drawn four says lot. However, if Panama get through the group and into the knockout stages, which is a significant possibility, they'll no doubt give it a good go against anyone, simply by keeping games tight and playing for extra time and penalties.
At 16/1 with bet365, they're not a bad punt for some added interest. If you really fancy getting exotic then try and find an online bookie offering Panama to win the tournament on penalty kicks. Mexico to lift the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup is realistically about the right price.
So if betting on favourites is your football strategy, they're worth backing for a return. While it's dangerous to forget the USA on home soil, the odds given their current profile look like a bit of a risk. It then comes down to whether Costa Rica or Panama can cause an upset. Visit bet365's dedicated Gold Cup market now to start your wagering!