Third Meeting Between Rivals in 2023
Costa Rica have dominated the all-time series vs Panama but that hasn’t been the case as of late. Panama have gotten the better of Costa Rica in recent years, with two wins over the Ticos in 2023 alone. On Thursday night, Panama head to Costa Rica for the first leg of the CONCACAF Nations League quarter-finals. The Canaleros were an unbeaten 3-1-0 in the group stage, while Costa Rica automatically qualified for the quarters based on being a top-four team in the CONCACAF rankings. Ahead of the first leg, let’s check out the Costa Rica vs Panama soccer odds.
⚽ Costa Rica vs Panama⚽
Location: Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá, San Jose, Costa Rica
Panama are on a three-game winning streak vs Costa Rica. Los Canaleros finished ahead of Costa Rica in last year’s CONCACAF Nations League standings and won both meetings. Panama picked up a 2-0 victory at home and 1-0 result in San Jose. Panama also beat Costa Rica 2-1 in the group stage of the Gold Cup earlier this year. Jose Fajardo and Edgar Barcenas were on the scoresheet for Panama. Los Canaleros have lost just one of their last eight matches vs Costa Rica.
New Era Begins for Costa Rica
Costa Rica have a new long-term manager as former Ecuador boss Gustavo Alfaro has just taken over. He led Ecuador to the 2022 World Cup and opted not to renew his contract at the beginning of the year. So, he’ll lead Costa Rica into the CONCACAF Nations League Quarter-finals on Thursday. Costa Rica haven’t played a match for over two months and they got a bye to the Quarter-finals based on being one of CONCACAF’s four highest-ranked teams.
When they last played, in September, Costa Rica embarrassingly lost 4-1 to the United Arab Emirates in a friendly. Costa Rica have lost two of their last three games heading into this one, in all competitions. Los Ticos have been highly disappointing during the last year and have only won four of their 13 matches in the last 12 months. Here, the Costa Rica vs Panama soccer odds price the hosts as +145 favorites, though.
Costa Rica were among the CONCACAF World Cup teams at Qatar 2022 but their squad here looks a lot different. Alfaro didn’t name longtime goalie Keylor Navas to the side and veterans Kendall Waston, Oscar Duarte and Celso Borges are all absent. Bryan Ruiz also retired after last year’s World Cup. Alfaro has named a bunch of young midfielders and forwards to the side, hoping to inject some life into the side.
Panama in Good Form
Panama have been a surprisingly good pick for soccer betting in recent times Should they beat Costa Rica over two legs, they’ll advance to their second straight CONCACAF Nations League semifinal under Thomas Christiansen. Since taking over as Panama coach in July 2020, Christiansen has compiled a 25-13-14 record.
In July, Panama went toe-to-toe with the USA in the Gold Cup Semi-finals and the match finished 1-1. Panama won the ensuing penalty shootout and narrowly fell 1-0 to Mexico in the final. Since the Mexico loss, Panama have gone unbeaten in their last five games. In the Nations League group stage, Los Canaleros went 3-1-0 and conceded just two goals.
Eric Davis led Panama in the group stage, with two goals. Michael Murillo, a wing back, is one of Panama’s biggest attacking threats and he sealed a transfer to Marseille over the Summer. Panama have gotten on the scoresheet in 10 of their last 11 matches and have a balanced scoring attack.
Match Analysis & Odds
Panama are going for their fourth straight win over Costa Rica here but they are underdogs. The Costa Rica vs Panama soccer odds price the visitors at +195 odds. Costa Rica, in Alfaro’s first match as manager, are +145 favorites but they’re lacking in stability at the moment. Panama’s star players are all in the squad and the continuity under Christiansen seems to be helping them.
Costa Rica have also scored just two goals in their last five competitive fixtures vs Panama. Still, bettors can take Costa Rica pk, -0.5 at +105 odds. Meanwhile, Panama pk, +0.5 sits at -135. A draw would be a fine result for Panama, as the second leg is in Panama City on Monday. A draw is priced at +205 odds.
Only two of the last 11 meetings between these teams have finished with three or more goals. Here, under 2, 2.5 goals display -120 odds.