Paraguay v Bolivia: Moreno form gives underdogs a chance

Paraguay are the big favourites, but Dan Fitch argues that the goalscoring form of Marcelo Moreno will give Bolivia a fighting chance...

Paraguay tough to beat

The two outsiders in Group A meet in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when Paraguay take on Bolivia.

Paraguay are the fourth favourites to win Group A at 19.0. With the likes of Chile, Uruguay and Argentina also in the group, that's perhaps not surprising, but Paraguay's performances in World Cup qualifying suggest that they should at the least be competitive. After six games they are sixth in the standings (W1 D4 L1). There have been some disappointing results, but also away draws against Argentina and Uruguay.

One of those disappointing results was a 2-2 home draw with Bolivia, back in November. In their most recent outing they lost 2-0 away against Brazil, which was their first defeat after an eight match unbeaten run (W2 D6).

Bolivia finding some form

Bolivia are way out at 110.0 to win Group A and are the rank outsiders to win the tournament at 170.0.

Again, on the evidence of the recent World Cup qualifiers, this might be a little harsh. Bolivia are eighth in the standings, with Venezuela and Peru below them (P6 W1 D2 L3). After losing each of their first three qualifiers, which included a 5-0 thrashing by Brazil, the draw against Paraguay has sparked a three match unbeaten run, with Bolivia then beating Venezuela 3-1 and drawing 1-1 away in Chile.

Bolivia have the advantage of having a striker who is currently in the best scoring form of his international career. Since the start of 2020, Marcelo Martins Moreno has scored seven goals in as many appearances for Bolivia. With six of those goals coming in World Cup qualifiers, the much travelled 33-year old striker is the current top scorer from the CONMEBOL qualification section.

Draw specialists Paraguay are overrated

Paraguay are the 1.45 favourites, with the draw at 4.6 and Bolivia at 9.2.

The odds of a Paraguay victory are very short when you consider the amount of games they've drawn of late. Six of their last nine games have ended as draws (W2 L1), including that 2-2 draw with Bolivia. Odds of 4.6 for another draw are clearly too big.

Each of Bolivia's last seven games have seen goals from both teams, so it's a surprise to see both teams to score at 2.38. This sequence has included a game with Argentina and two against Chile.

Given the form of Moreno, his price of 5.0 to find the net, also looks way too big. He scored in the 2-2 draw with Paraguay and will be taking penalties for Bolivia.

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