Brazil v Venezuela: Back narrow win for hosts with Neymar on scoresheet

The 2021 Copa America starts on Sunday night, as the holders Brazil take on Venezuela and Dan Fitch is backing Neymar to get on the scoresheet in a victory for the hosts.

Will big favourites Brazil go for broke?

Brazil's defence of the Copa America begins on Sunday as they kick off the tournament against Venezuela.

Amidst much controversy, Brazil have belatedly become hosts of the tournament, which can surely only add to their chances of retaining their crown. The 2.24 favourites to win the Copa America appear to have the most complete squad, combining defensive solidity with attacking excellence and come into the tournament off the back of seven straight wins.

In their last outing they won 2-0 away against Paraguay, with Tite playing with four forwards, as he squeezed Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar and Richarlison into the team. It will be interesting to see if he persists with this attacking lineup, or one of the forwards makes way for a midfielder.

Venezuela only lost narrowly last time out

According to the odds, Venezuela are expected to struggle in Group B, with Jose Peseiro's team rated as the rank outsiders to finish top at odds of 42.0.

Venezuela will take some heart from the fact that they only lost 1-0 away against Brazil when the sides last met in a World Cup qualifier, back in November last year. That's the closest that any team in qualifying has come to containing Brazil, who have won all six of their games. It took a 67th minute goal from Roberto Firmino to give Brazil maximum points.

On Tuesday, Venezuela claimed a valuable point with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay, though qualification for the World Cup already looks unlikely (P6 W1 D1 L4). The ferocious midfield duo of Tomas Rincon and Yangel Herrera, might persuade Brazil that strength in numbers are needed in that area.

Brazil have only been winning narrowly

Brazil are the 1.17 favourites, with the draw at 8.6 and a Venezuela victory out at 25.0.

With such a short starting price for a Brazil win, it's not easy to find value for the Selecao to open the tournament with a victory. They kept a clean sheet in their November meeting with Venezuela, but backing Brazil to win to nil, merely swells the odds to 1.57.

Considering that Venezuela only lost that match 1-0, a Brazil victory and under 2.5 goals is a possibility at 3.0. It's worth noting that Neymar did not play in that game, but in each of the subsequent three World Cup qualifiers, Brazil only won 2-0, with Neymar returning to the side in the last of those two fixtures.

You can balance the risk of that bet by also backing Neymar to score at odds of 1.83. In the last week he's scored against both Ecuador and Paraguay. The PSG forward will be on penalty duties and has scored a total of five goals in four appearances in World Cup qualifying.

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