The Gold Cup runs from July 10 to August 1. As usual, the United States will play hosts with several different MLS stadiums holding matches.
Sixteen teams make up the tournament field with all the usual suspects — the US, Mexico, fast-improving Canada, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and others included too. Online sportsbooks have yet to release betting odds, likely because official 23-man rosters haven't been named for any country yet.
Regardless, we have a good idea of who's playing and who's not at the upcoming soccer competition from the announced preliminary rosters. That's enough information to make educated betting predictions. Here's where your money should be going:
2021 Gold Cup Betting Pick
This will be the 26th edition of the Gold Cup, which began in 1963. The US and Mexico have combined to win 17 of those tournaments (or 68 percent of the time). However, the two countries' sheer dominance has become even more apparent this century. In fact, the last time a non-US or non-Mexico team won the Cold Cup was 2000, when the Canadians pulled off the upset.
So naturally, any discussion about the tournament winner has to start with the two powerhouses. It just has to. Which side is more apt for a futures bet this time around?
The United States
The Americans defeated Mexico in the Nations League final earlier this month. They overcame one-goal deficits on two different occasions before sealing the victory with a penalty goal in extra time, winning 3-2 over the Mexicans.
The dramatic victory was the US' first over Mexico in a championship final since the 2007 Gold Cup. Having finally ended that streak, you have to think the US has the mental confidence to keep the momentum going.
However, the majority of the US players that made the 3-2 victory over Mexico possible will not suit up during the Gold Cup. Coach Gregg Berhalter left a wide array of names out of the preliminary roster and more could come in the final cutdown, too.
Those confirmed to be out of the Gold Cup include the wunderkind trio of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Gio Reyna. All three provided the goals in that triumph over El Tri in the Nations League finale.
But that's not all. Of the 23 players that participated in the Nations League, only four carried over into the preliminary Gold Cup roster. This choice is a matter of rest for Berhalter, who has a multitude of team members that tallied minutes during European domestic league seasons.
The roster decisions by Berhalter make it abundantly clear that the United States is treating the Gold Cup more like a tune-up for its "B roster." Therefore, we think it's best to avoid betting on the US altogether.
Mexico coach Tata Martino isn't playing it nearly as safe as Berhalter. If his preliminary roster is any indication, he's bringing all the big guns. All 23 Mexican players that were called up for the Nations League are part of the Gold Cup prelims.
But that's not all, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is also part of the initial roster. Mexico's all-time leading goal scorer was last called up to the national team in 2019. It's not a shoo-in he'll make the final cut, especially given the tear he's currently on in the MLS, but the presence of Chicharito on the pitch could be a game-changer for Mexico.
El Tri is currently lacking an imposing striker. Chicharito's replacement, Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton, remains out after a scary injury suffered in the Premier League season. With neither Jimenez nor Chicharito, the Mexican side lacked a scoring punch in the Nations League. An inclusion of Chicharito, though, would surely fill that gap.
With Chicharito or without him, Mexico still has to be seen as the tourney favorites. Its final roster is expected to be much deeper than the rival US and they are, after all, the reigning champions. There's no safer bet here than El Tri.
If there's one country that can finally end Mexico and the US' reign in CONCACAF, it's Canada. We're not sure the 2021 Gold Cup is their time, but heck, it's worth a shot. Think of Canada as the darkhorse bet of this competition.
As future co-hosts of the World Cup in 2026, the country has invested big into its soccer program. Dividends are starting to pay off as Canada has produced multiple European-level talents. That group includes Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Jonathan David (Lille), and Cyle Larin (Besiktas).
What separates Canada apart from its World Cup co-hosts (USA and Mexico) is that it's likely taking the Gold Cup much more seriously. This tourney is Canada's "test" before World Cup qualifiers. For a country like Canada that hasn't qualified for the World Cup since 1986, this is a big-time test, too. That's why we think a small bet on Canada is worthwhile in the Gold Cup.
Once Gold Cup odds are posted, you'll be able to find them at one of the online bookmakers below. These same sites will be able to take in your bets throughout the whole event, whether it's futures picks or daily lines.
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