Altitude major factor in curtain raiser
Ecuador sit in third place and a win against Venezuela, who sit at the bottom of the table, will see them go four points clear of Colombia in fourth. Three points could be vital for the nation which has failed to reach the last two World Cups.
Despite losing the reverse fixture, Ecuador have a solid record at home, largely due to playing 2,734 metres above sea level. They swept aside Bolivia last time out, scoring three goals in the process. This wasn’t the first time Ecuador have entertained on home soil, having smashed Colombia 6-1 as well as hammering Uruguay 4-2 earlier on in the campaign.
The most sensible bet in this one is to back Ecuador to win and BTTS no at 1.855/6, with the visitors only scoring twice away from home in six matches and will likely struggle in the conditions.
Back Chile’s star man to score
This certainly wasn’t a headline I thought I’d be writing 12 months ago, but Brereton Diaz has the chance to help Chile leapfrog Uruguay and Colombia for at least 24 hours, to sit in a World Cup spot.
The Stoke born striker has scored in his last two matches for Chile, funnily enough against their next opponents, as well as when Chile smashed Venezuela 3-0 at home.
However, Chile’s away record is terrible. Aside from a 1-1 draw away to Argentina, Chile’s only other point on the road was against Ecuador and they’ve lost the other four.
Paraguay, on the other hand, have a solid enough home record, only losing to Brazil in the qualifiers to date. The angle for this one is that the home side have conceded more than they have scored on home soil, and with Ben Brereton Diaz flying for Chile at present, it’s hard to ignore their new striker not scoring for the third game in the bounce.
Back Ben Brereton Diaz to score anytime at 4.507/2.
Low scoring affair in Brazil
Qualification has been nothing short of a stroll in the park for Brazil, remaining unbeaten after 11 matches, winning ten of those in the process. They’ve conceded just four goals in those matches as well, with only one of those conceded on home soil.
Colombia can have no real complaints either with their campaign, currently occupying fourth spot and they have the third best away record, only behind Brazil and Argentina.
In fact, the only points dropped this campaign for Brazil was against Colombia, when the two teams shared a 0-0 draw back in November.
Brazil have won all their home matches to date, but aside from their 4-1 victory over Uruguay, most of their matches have seen only one or two goals scored. Now facing the only side who were able to hold them, and with Colombia still trying to cement a qualification spot, expect a low scoring affair once more.
Back under 2.5 goals and BTTS no at 2.001/1.
Bolivia’s away woes to continue
It’s been a rather disappointing campaign for Peru, who will need to now rely on other teams dropping points and for their own form to pick up if they are able to squeeze into fifth place come the end of the qualifying campaign.
Their next match against Bolivia is the ideal side to face and throw themselves back into the chasing pack. This is because Bolivia’s away record is atrocious, having lost four and draw two to date.
In fact, Bolivia have only won three away games in five years. They beat El Salvador last week, despite the fixture being played in Washington DC and the other two were friendlies against Myanmar and Nicaragua.
If Peru are to qualify, they must win this fixture. All of the above has very much been reflected in their price but using the Bet Builder, backing Peru and over 1.5 goals bumps it to 1.705/7.
Argentina can cast Uruguay into uncertainty
Argentina have had a very impressive campaign to date, only overshadowed by Brazil’s incredible record, but they won’t mind quietly going about their business in second place. Argentina have often left it late to qualify for the World Cup and it’s a credit to Lionel Scaloni and his team who have made sure this doesn’t happen this time round.
A nation who are struggling to get over the line are their opponents, Uruguay, who are just three points clear of Chile heading into this encounter (which could be four or six by the time they kick off on Friday evening).
Uruguay come into this one off the back of a 4-1 defeat to a weakened Brazil side, before losing to today’s opponents 3-0, a match in which Lionel Messi scored the opener.
Although away from home, Argentina have the second best record away from home comforts and priced at a rather generous 13/10 against a team they brushed aside in November seems worth taking.