Steeped in tradition and class, the Copa Libertadores is the premier club competition in South America, and with an almost religious following, betting on the Copa Libertadores is a huge market! For more vital information about the competition and tips on betting, you’ve come to the right place!
- Tournament Structure
- Best Copa Libertadores betting Sites
- History of the Copa Libertadores
- 2022 Copa Libertadores Recap
- Copa Libertadores Betting Odds
- Copa Libertadores Tips & Predictions
- CONMEBOL Libertadores Important dates
- Copa Libertadores Betting Markets
- Copa Libertadores Key Stats
- Similar Tournament to the Copa Libertadores
- Copa Libertadores FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
The most prestigious club competition in South America, think of the Copa Libertadores as the Champions League with a lot more flare and an even more fanatic fan base. Let's take a look at the tournament structure.
Pre – Tournament
The first step for every team to have a chance to get into the CONEMBOL Copa Libertadores is through qualifying in their respective countries. Teams that win their respective cup competition automatically enter the qualifying stage.
Each country has a select number of automatic qualification spots, qualification round spots, and implements a different system of qualification.
Argentina, Brazil and Chile implement a European system of qualifying depending on the position the team finishes in the league. The rest of the countries implement a system of Apertura and Clausura, in which the league is split in two and there are two champions. Some use a mix of the two. These teams are given a spot in either the groups stage or in one of the qualification rounds.
There are two spots reserved for the defending champions as well as the winners of the Copa Sudamericana. A total of 47 teams are involved in this process. The table below shows each nations qualification spots.
|Country||1st Round||2nd Round||Group Stage|
- Qualification Round 1
The first round is played between six teams that finish in either 3rd or 4th place of their respective country’s competition. The fixtures are chosen at random and played over two legs. The winning three teams enter the 2nd qualification round.
- Qualification Round 2
The second round features 13 teams who are automatically seeded into it as well as the three teams who have advanced from round 1. The teams are placed into pots and fixtures are chosen at random. Teams who qualify from round 1 are always placed in pot 2. The matches are played over two legs and the winners advance to the final qualification round.
- Qualification Round 3
The final qualification round is contested between the eight winners of round 2 and follows the same process. Games are played over two legs, with four winners coming out on top and entering the group stage alongside the 28 automatically qualified teams.
- Group Stage
With the qualification process complete and 32 teams decided, the competition proper can commence. Teams are selected from four pots and placed into eight groups at random. The four teams play each other in a round- robin style twice. The teams will play one home and one away game against each opponent.
Totaling six matches per group and 96 games total, the top two teams based on a points system advance to the knockout rounds. The 3rd placed teams in each group enter the round of 16 of the Copa Sudamericana.
The point system works just like any other major competition with a similar format. Three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss. If teams end in a tie after all group matches are played, the following are taken into consideration in this order:
1. Goal difference
2. Goals scored
3. Goals scored away
4. Number of wins
5. Number of away wins
- Knockout Stage
The 16 teams to advance to the knockout stage are placed into two pots — one for the winners and the other for the runners-up. They are randomly pitted against each other, and there are not restrictions on who can or can’t play against each other.
The competition continues with the winners over two legs advancing to the next round. Rather unusually, there is no extra time, and the tie goes straight to penalties if the second game ends in a cumulative draw.
The pattern continues up until the final, which is played as one leg in a pre-determined location. Extra time will be used here if needed, followed by penalties, with the winner being crowned the Champion of South American Football.
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History of the Copa Libertadores
The Copa Libertadores is one of the oldest international cup competitions in the world and boasts a great history.
During the 1930’s, Argentina and Uruguay competed in the Copa Aldao, seeing the champions of each nation face off in a single game. In 1947, Colo-Colo invited the champions of six other countries for a league-style competition to decide the Champion of Champions. Vasco Di Gama from Brazil won the only edition of the tournament. This model eventually sparked the idea for the European Cup, now known as the Champions League.
The first iteration of the Copa América as we know it featured seven teams. Six met in a two-leg knockout, with three teams progressing to the next round. Olimpia was given a bye and played in the semi-final. They were eventually losing finalists to inaugural winners Peñarol, who actually drew more games than they won.
The next edition expanded to nine champions from nine confederations. Peñarol retained their crown. The next edition in 1962 featured two teams from the same country for the first time, with Peñarol returning as defending champions and Nacional as the Uruguayan representative. Santos became the first Brazilian team to win the competition.
The next decade was a forming phase for the competition as the number of competing teams changed every year. However, they followed a similar structure of a three group, group-stage, and a two group semi-final. The 1970’s saw a massive increase in teams, averaging around 20 teams and featured five groups.
The Argentinian teams saw huge dominance, winning 12 out of 15 titles between 1964 – 1978. The competition continued to grow in popularity and prestige, and many more teams won the competition, nine different teams won the trophy between 1980 and 1990, and the trend continues till today.
The year 2000 saw some big changes as the tournament expanded from 21 teams to 32, and implemented eight groups of four teams. The tournament is still structured in this way. Argentinian and Brazilian teams have been the dominant forces throughout history. The last three finals have featured only Brazilian teams and the last five of six editions were won by a Brazilian team.
The final has been played over two legs since the tournament’s inception, with a playoff round and extra time plus penalties played if needed. In 2019, the final began being played over a single leg, meaning there have so far been four one-legged finals.
Below are the previous winners of the competition, starting from the first 32 team tournament in 2000. 16 different teams have won it in this time, coming from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Columbia, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador.
|2018||River Plate||5-3||Boca Juniors|
|2016||Atlético Nacional||2-1||Independiente del Valle|
|2013||Atlético Mineiro||2-2 (4-3p)||Olimpia|
|2008||LDU Quito||5-5 (3-1p)||Fluminense|
|2005||São Paulo||5-1||Athletico Paranaense|
|2004||Once Caldes||1-1 (2-0p)||Boca Juniors|
|2002||Olimpia||2-2 (4-2p)||São Paulo|
|2001||Boca Juniors||1-1 (3-1p)||Cruz Azul|
|2000||Boca Juniors||2-2 (4-2p)||Palmeiras|
*Finals played over one leg.
Performances by Clubs
The competitiveness of the competition from the get-go has halted any club — like Real Madrid in the Champions League — from running away with all-time wins. Below is a list of the best teams in the competition.
|Club||Titles||Runners - Up||Years Won|
|Independiente||7||0||1964, 1965, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1984|
|Boca Juniors||6||5||1977, 1978, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007|
|Atlético Peñarol||5||5||1960, 1961, 1966, 1982, 1987|
|River Plate||4||3||1986, 1996, 2015, 2018|
|Estudiantes||4||1||1968, 1969, 1970, 2009|
|Olimpia||3||4||1979, 1990, 2002|
|Nacional||3||3||1971, 1980, 1988|
|São Paulo||3||3||1992, 1993, 2005|
|Palmeiras||3||3||1999, 2020, 2021|
|Santos||3||2||1962, 1963, 2011|
|Grêmio||3||2||1983, 1995, 2017|
|Flamengo||3||1||1981, 2019, 2022|
|Atlético Nacional||2||1||1989, 2016|
All-Time Top Scorers
|#3||Pedro Virgilio Rocha||36||88|
|#6||Antony de Ávila||29||94|
|#6||Juan Carlos Sarnari||29||62|
|#10||Juan Carlos Sánchez||26||53|
Alberto Spencer (#1) was the top scorer in the first (1960) and third (1962) ever CONMEBOL Libertadores competitions.
Seven out of the 10 players on the list have all made their Libertadores debuts in the 1960s and 1970s. The other three are Antony de Ávila (#6)(1983), Luizão (#6)(1998) and Gabriel Barbosa (#6)(2018).
Gabriel Barbosa (#6) is the only player from the list who is still actively playing today. Still only 26 years of age, we have no doubt that he’ll end his career with plenty more goals to his name. Barbosa was the top scorer in the 2019 and 2021 Copa Libertadores campaigns.
2022 Copa Libertadores Recap
The 2023 edition of the competition is set to start in April, with the qualifiers beginning 2 months earlier in February. Until then, we don’t have any fixtures and results to present to you. However, here’s a quick recap of what happened in the 2022 competition.
In the group stages, three teams remained unbeaten in six group matches: River Plate, Palmeiras — who won all their group games, and eventual winners Flamengo.
By far the most interesting group was group B, which featured loosing finalists Club Athletico Paranaense, Club Libertad, The Strongest, and Caracas. Until the final round of fixtures, one point separated the top two and bottom two teams, meaning whoever won their match would go through. Athletico and Libertad won their respective matches to progress to the next round.
The round of 16 featured a surprise exit for River Plate after losing to fellow Argentinian side Vélez Sarsfield, who finished 26th in the league in the same campaign. Vélez made a superb run to the semis before losing to Flamengo. The rest went on as normal and Athletico and Palmeiras also made it to the semis.
Flamengo ended Vélez Sarsfield run convincingly with 4-0 and 2-1 wins. It was much closer on the other side of the bracket, with Athletico winning 1-0 at home before holding a 2-2 to Palmeiras away.
The final was another closely fought match with the only goal of the game coming in the 45th minute thanks to a Gabriel Barbosa strike. Athletico were handed a red card just a few minutes before the goal and weren’t able to recover. Flamengo were crowned Champions for the 3rd time in their history.
Copa Libertadores Betting Odds
With the competition still being far off and the final crop of teams still yet to be decided, there are currently no odds for the 2023 CONMEBOL Libertadores. However, we will keep you up to date on any updates in this section.
Copa Libertadores Tips & Predictions
The major leagues in South America as well as the Copa Libertadores all start in 2023, so it may be too early to tell just who will be lifting the trophy in November. However, there are a number of trends we can follow to make our predictions a bit more accurate. Here are our ‘Early Bird Special’ Copa Libertadores predictions.
Reigning champions Flamengo will have an excellent shot at retaining the title with a strong squad. Palmeiras are always close by in the competition and won the two tournaments prior to 2022. Other major contenders include Internacional, Corinthians, and last year’s finalists Athletico Paranaense will be looking to bring it home for the first time.
The two current South American giants are River Plate and Boca Juniors, who faced each other in the 2018 final. River plate ran out as victors, and in their title defense they fell at the final hurdle to Flamengo. They’ll be looking to put Argentina back in the top spots.
The last time a team from outside those two countries made it to the final was 2016, featuring Atlético Nacional (Columbia) vs Independiente del Valle (Ecuador). Both could be great contenders. Barcelona (Ecuador) have also done very well in previous competitions and could be a surprise winner.
CONMEBOL Libertadores Important dates
The Copa Libertadores takes place over a single calendar year, much like the rest of the continent’s national leagues. Here are the most important dates from the very beginning of the tournament up until the last kick off.
While the date for the draws for the qualifiers has yet to be decided, the dates for the matches are as follows:
|Stage||First Leg||Second Leg|
|1st Round||7-9th February 2023||14-16th February 2023|
|2nd Round||21-23th February 2023||28th February - 2nd March 2023|
|3rd Round||7-9th March 2023||14-16th March 2023|
Once all the qualifiers are completed and the 32 teams are confirmed, the teams will be drawn at random from four pots. The group draw will commence on the 22nd of March 2023. This will be followed by six matchdays as each team will play each other home and away.
|Matchday 1||4 – 6th April 2023|
|Matchday 2||18 – 20th April 2023|
|Matchday 3||2 – 4th May 2023|
|Matchday 4||23 – 25th May 2023|
|Matchday 5||6 – 8th June 2023|
|Matchday 6||27 – 29th June 2023|
The draw for the round of 16 is the 5th of July 2023. From then on, the rounds are not randomised and follow the normal elimination progression. These are the dates for all the rounds with the single-legged final being played at a predetermined location.
|Round||1st Leg Dates||2nd Leg Dates|
|Round of 16||18–20th July 2023||25–27th July 2023|
|Quarterfinals||22–24th August 2023||29–31st August 2023|
|Semi-finals||26–28th September 2023||3–5th October 2023|
|Final||11th November 2023|
Copa Libertadores Betting Markets
Outright Betting Market
The simplest and most common form of football betting is betting on an outright winner. This means that you will need to decide who will win the event before or during a tournament. In this case, wageringing on a Brazilian team is probably your best bet.
However, we suggest waiting until the qualifiers are over and the final 32 teams are decided before making any outright predictions. Similar to this is betting on the top goalscorer and best player.
Betting on Red Cards
The South Americans love a red card. With one seemingly happening every game, betting on a red card may offer great value if you know where to look. We suggest you use our cards and booking points: stats and guide page to check out more detailed info.
To put it into comparison with the European equivalent of the tournament, the Copa América on average sees double the number of red cars each year. Betting on the red is high risk yet high reward, even in an event which sees them relatively regularly.
|Year the |
Making Use of Bet Builders
Bet builders have become insanely popular over the years as punters can create their own personalised bets with multiple markets. Bet builders are great for getting the most out of your bet, allowing you to accumulate odds, combining smaller bets to make large ones.
Using bet builders and accumulators are great for this sort of tournament. With so many games being played over a short period of time, its easy to see that the Copa Libertadores will give you an opportunity to place accas and know the outcome of your slip in a matter of days or even less.
Copa Libertadores Key Stats
- The first COMNEBOL Libertadores took place in 1960, and Peñarol were the first Copa Libertadores winners.
- Club Atlético Independiente are the most successful team in the competition with seven wins.
- Independiente are also the only team to win the competition four times in a row (1972-1975)
- Boca Juniors have made it to the final on 11 occasions winning six times.
- The top score in a single season is Daniel Onega with 17 goals in 1966.
- In the all-time standings, River Plate have won the most matches. Winning 183 games in 374 matches, winning four titles.
- Nacional have played the most games, 407, winning the title three times.
Similar Tournament to the Copa Libertadores
- 6th September 2022 – 10th June 2023: UEFA Champions League – The European equivalent of the Copa Libertadores. The cChampions League is the premier club competition in Europe.
- 8th September 2022 – 31th May 2023: UEFA Europa League – The secondary European club competition, for the teams that fail to qualify for the Champions League.
- 7th March – 28th October 2023: Copa Sudamericana – The second most prestigious South American club event, the Sudamericana is reserved for the teams who failed to qualify for the Copa Libertadores.
Copa Libertadores FAQs
The Qualification rounds start on the 7th of February, while the group stage will start on the 4th of April 2023. The final will take place on November 11th, 2023.
The reigning champions are Flamengo, who beat Athletico Paranaense 1-0 in last year’s final.
Club Atlético Independiente are the most successful team in the competition, with seven titles to their name. They have never been losing finalists.
47 teams take part in the Copa Libertadores, with a total of 32 making it to the official group stage.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
The CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores is the pinnacle of South American football and is hotly contested by all the elite clubs on the continent. With so much great football to be watched and bet on, our guide and predictions are a great way to stay on top of it all.