Argentina, Colombia biggest Copa América betting draws with U.S. out

It should come as little surprise that, despite entering Copa América as 12-1 underdogs to win it all, the United States men’s national team were heavily bet by the public at American sportsbooks.

At ESPN BET, the USMNT had a huge 40.2% of the bets to lead tournament futures for ticket count, with FanDuel also reporting the team leading bet count with 26%.

But while the American men had a lot of tickets, they generally didn’t take a lot of money, meaning they were more of a play among casual bettors. So with the U.S. now out of the competition following a disappointing group stage exit, where will the nation’s betting eyes turn in the knockout rounds?

It starts with the reigning World Cup champions Argentina, who have the most bets and handle at DraftKings (44% bets/30% handle) and BetMGM (24%/29%). La Albiceleste opened the tournament with the best odds to lift the trophy at +175 and have seen their odds improve to +120 at ESPN BET amid the betting action, as well as an easier path to the final that will see them face Ecuador, followed by either Canada or Venezuela.

BetMGM labels Argentina as its second-biggest liability behind Colombia, who have seen some of the most action of any team remaining. ESPN BET reports 25.9% of handle is on Los Cafeteros, the most for any team besides the United States. FanDuel says the Colombians have the most tickets (23%) and money (35%), while DraftKings (23%) and BetMGM (24%) recognize them as their handle leaders.

“Colombia is also a popular pick across all markets, as they performed well in the group stages, and a draw against Brazil in their final group game has delivered them an appealing quarterfinal against Panama, where they are popular with customers to progress to the semifinals,” Caesars Sportsbook head of soccer Mark Bickerdike told ESPN by email.

The danger for the sportsbooks comes in the form of Colombia’s long odds: At ESPN BET, the team entered the fray with a 10-1 championship price and have since come down to +575, one of the biggest line moves for any team remaining. Interestingly, the Colombians still have the fourth-best odds to win it all, which was their position at the beginning of the tournament.

Besides leaders Argentina, they also trail Brazil (+320) and Uruguay (+500), who will face each other in the quarterfinal; they round out the four most popular teams remaining among bettors.

Those two squads also contain likely the public’s only hopes for wins in the competition for top goalscorer.

Uruguay’s Darwin Núñez has the most handle to claim the honor at BetMGM (28.9%), DraftKings (25%) and FanDuel (31%), while Brazil’s Vinícius Júnior has also been a popular pick, though he will miss the quarterfinal contest due to yellow card accumulation. Both players have two goals through three matches.

The current leader for Copa América’s Golden Boot is Argentina’s Lautaro Martínez who, despite entering the tournament at an appetizing +900 to win the award, saw little action at most of the major sportsbooks before and during the group stage. With four goals, he has shortened to be the odds-on favorite to win the honor at -140.

Of course, arguably the most popular soccer player in the United States, Lionel Messi, saw his fair share of betting activity at all of the books, as he entered the 2024 tournament as the betting favorite (+300) after jointly scoring the most goals at the 2021 edition (four, tied with Luis Díaz). With no goals through three matches, though, Messi’s odds now stand at 16-1.