This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
3:00 p.m: Peru v. Venezuela
6:00 p.m: Colombia v. Argentina
Saturday's two-match Copa America slate isn't easy to project. Peru (+150) and Argentina (+115) are the favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, but not by much. Neither match is expected to have many goals, with Argentina v. Colombia having a slightly higher +136 odds for more than 2.5 goals. This being the first set of matches, lineups could also look different than what we've seen in the past.
If you want to eliminate any doubt, the best strategy is to ride with Lionel Messi ($24) even though he'll likely be chalk. In last year's World Cup, he had one goal and two assists from six shots on target and 10 chances created in four matches. Argentina are favored and Messi always gets his opportunities, especially as a favorite. I'm less confident in Sergio Aguero ($22), who has a checkered history with the national team and was eventually benched at the World Cup despite scoring in the opening match. Outside of Messi, I'd probably lean more into the Colombia attack since Argentina have never played good defense. They allowed nine goals in four World Cup matches, and even though Argentina are favored, I'd probably put money on Colombia (+250) or a draw (+210). However, it's less certain as to who will make the scoresheet for Colombia even though James Rodriguez ($20) has always been the focal point of the attack. He battled through injury this past season at Bayern Munich and only made 20 league appearances. I'd still take him over Radamel Falcao ($22), who is goal or bust, though he is their penalty taker. Juan Cuadrado ($18) was awesome in the World Cup, but his attacking role lessens with James in the lineup. If anything, I'm more intrigued by the cheaper options like Luis Muriel ($16) or Edwin Cardona ($12). If Angel Di Maria ($18) starts for Argentina, he'll also draw attention, but he didn't make an appearance in their last friendly.
It's even harder to decipher what will happen in the other match. Venezuela beat the United States 3-0 in their last friendly, but that was more of an outlier from recent performances, losing 3-1 to Mexico and drawing Ecuador 1-1. Peru play a little more defensively and have scored two goals in their last four friendlies, highlighted by a 2-0 loss to El Salvador. That leads me to Salomon Rondon ($18), who scored a brace against the U.S. Even as the projected starting forward, he oddly has worse odds to score than Josef Martinez ($8), so that's something to look into. Jhon Murillo ($16) and Jefferson Savarino ($14) have the next-highest upsides as wingers, but if you're good with defensive stats, that's Junior Moreno's ($14) role. If you prefer backing the favorite, Paolo Guerrero ($20) is the likely lone striker, yet that price feels extreme compared to Messi and James. I'd rather save with Andre Carrillo ($16), who was a focal point in the World Cup on the wing. Yoshimar Yotun ($10) could be a popular value play since he may be on set pieces, but playing time is a question; he was subbed at the break in two of three World Cup matches and was given a straight red card last friendly.
It may be easier to spend on defender since predicting goals is difficult, but throwing $18 at Nicolas Otamendi is a bit extreme. Argentina are not Man City and I wouldn't bank on a clean sheet this match. The same goes for the others on the high end like Luis Advincula ($16), Mikel Villanueva ($16) and Miguel Araujo ($16). Advincula at least has upside as a right-back, but the other two are reliant upon defensive stats as center backs. I'd rather use Juan Foyth ($8) or whoever starts alongside Otamendi in Argentina's back line. Argentina are favored, but I think they'll have plenty of defensive work and saving money at center-back is an easy choice. Colombia's full backs don't get up the field much, so I'd probably only use Davinson Sanchez ($14) in a central role.
If you want a full-back, Roberto Rosales ($12) may be the best route since he took a recent penalty for Venezuela and I'm not convinced on Peru's attack. Otherwise, Miguel Trauco ($12) is the cheaper version of Advincula and also took a couple corners last World Cup. The prices are kind of high for the central defenders, but Araujo and Luis Abram ($14) are my choices because of how defensively Peru play.
There's no reason to spend on Franco Armani ($16), but if Argentina hold a clean sheet, I'll take the blame. I don't see it happening unless they're a different team than the one we've seen in recent tournaments. They've looked good in recent matches because of competition (Nicaragua, Morocco), but they also lost 3-1 to Venezuela. The GPP move would be to go David Ospina ($12) and fade Messi, which is a reasonable strategy given all the doubt I've thrown toward Argentina. If you don't want to go against Messi, Pedro Gallese ($14) will likely be the most popular goalkeeper after allowing two goals in three World Cup matches last year. I don't hate Wuilker Farinez ($12), but I think Ospina has a better chance to win.