Lionel Messi will likely face a familiar foe for the final time on Tuesday when he leads Argentina to face Brazil in a CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier in Rio de Janeiro.
The final match of the year for Brazil comes at a time when manager Fernando Diniz finds himself under intense pressure. His side finds themselves currently sixth in CONMEBOL qualifying through five matches after a 2-1 defeat to Colombia a few days ago.
A storied career for Messi is drawing to a close, and at 36 years old, this could be his final match against Brazil. With Argentina sitting in first place despite a 2-0 defeat to Uruguay, Messi and company may already be qualified by the time they square off again
Can the Selceao find a way to pick up three critical points, or will Argentina hand Brazil a third defeat in their last four meetings? I break down the action and betting angles in my Brazil vs Argentina betting picks for Tuesday, November 21.
Brazil vs Argentina best odds
|Over 2.5 (+154)||Total||Under 2.5 (-200)|
Odds courtesy of TonyBet on November 20, 2023.
Brazil vs Argentina picks and predictions
For all the firepower these two nations possess in attack, there sure have been a lot of blanks when Brazil and Argentina get together. You have to go back to 2015 — nine matches ago — to find a showdown that featured goals from both sides.
While that does include a 2021 match abandoned after just five minutes due to a pitch invasion, it doesn’t change the fact when these two sides get together, defense seems to win out. Their last meeting was a 0-0 draw, and the last six meetings played to conclusion featured two or fewer goals.
Tuesday night’s affair will be missing some big names, and it’s going to have a direct impact on proceedings. Star winger Vinicius Junior was stretchered off in the loss to Colombia, as he joins a growing list of injured Brazilian starters. Neymar, Casemiro, and Eder Militao are all sidelined, giving Diniz real selection issues ahead of this fixture.
He’s also going to be cognizant of the situation. Argentina currently sit five points clear of Selceao in the standings, and a defeat would see that gap stretch to eight. Being the first manager to ever lose a World Cup qualifier in Brazil would also put him in a precarious situation, with his employment likely at risk.
On the other side, Argentina’s 2-0 loss to Uruguay was their first loss since a defeat to Saudi Arabia to open the World Cup, as their attack looked toothless at times. They scrounged together three efforts on goal, with Julian Alvarez and Nicolas Gonzalez contributing very little in attack.
Lionel Scaloni also has some decisions to make, as many expect him to make multiple changes at both ends of the pitch. He’s expected to turn to Lautaro Martinez to lead the front line, but the striker hasn’t scored in any of his 13 appearances dating back to the start of the 2022 World Cup.
For Argentina, a point is a good result here, and Scaloni knows it would also keep them atop the table. Therefore, he’s unlikely to risk defeat. He knows his pedestrian backline could be exposed by Brazil’s pace in attack, and is likely to set up in a way to limit that.
His counterpart will be desperate to avoid a loss in front of the home fans, and with a front line missing both Vini and Neymar, the attack will be severely hindered. Add in the absence of Casemiro and Militao, and defensive adjustments will need to be made. It’s likely he switches to a more conventional formation and abandons the 4-2-4.
This match has a stalemate written all over it, and that’s what I'm taking for my best bet. Priced at +200 through TonyBet, the implied odds of 33.2% are simply too low given the circumstances. A 0-0 or 1-1 scoreline is very probable, and worth sprinkling a bit for an exact-score payout as well.
My best bet: Draw (+200 at TonyBet)
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Brazil vs Argentina same-game parlay
My same-game parlay at bet365 is a simple one this week, as I'm pairing the draw with a low number of chances created.
The last three competitive fixtures between these two nations have seen a combined 14 shots on goal, with no more than five in any individual match. With the likes of Neymar and Vini Jr out for Brazil, and Argentina managing just two efforts on target against Uruguay, we’re unlikely to see a lot of shots testing the two keepers. I’ll go with Under 7.5 shots on goal for a strong two-leg parlay.
Brazil vs Argentina side and Over/Under analysis
The 3-way moneyline has Brazil favored, but not by much. A price of +160 is available at DraftKings, while both Argentina and a draw can be had for +210.
Both teams enter this match fresh off a defeat, but Brazil is winless in their last three World Cup qualifiers and have scored just two goals in that span. Their injury list is quite large, and it’ll be a test for them to defeat an Argentina side they’ve failed to defeat in their last three attempts.
The total of 2.5 has some of the highest juice for the Under that I’ve ever seen. The 2.5 goal line sees -179 as an outlier for the Under, with FanDuel offering the Under at far better odds than most books. Those who are bold enough to back goals can get a hefty +160 payout.
In the last 10 years, just one of the nine meetings between these sides have seen three or more goals scored. There have been a total of two goals in their last three matchups, and only two of their last eight matches combined against other teams have gone Over. Rather than play the Under, playing an exact score or two might present better value.
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Brazil vs Argentina game info
|Location:||Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Date:||Tuesday, November 21, 2023|
|Time:||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Weather:||80 degrees Fahrenheit, winds 14 mph, POP: 0%, humidity 76%|
Brazil vs Argentina key injuries
Brazil: Vinicius Jr F (Out), Neymar F (Out), Eder Militao D (Out).
Argentina: Lisandro Martinez D (Out).