James Rodriguez will reportedly need shoulder surgery at the conclusion of the Copa America Centenario, but he has looked anything but injured in the first matches of the tournament.
The Colombian captain has led his squad to a pair of victories with two goals and an assist, lifting his odds of being the top goalscorer at the tournament to an attractive +700 at online sportsbooks.
Rodriguez was a force in Colombia’s 2-1 win over Paraguay on Tuesday night, scoring the opening goal of the match and setting up the second in a victory that clinched a quarterfinal berth for Los Cafeteros.
That marks a significant reversal of fortune for Rodriguez, who failed to score in last year’s tournament after tallying six markers to power Colombia to a quarterfinal finish at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Rodriguez shares the early lead in goals scored with Panama’s Blas Perez, who scored twice in Los Canaleros’ 2-1 victory over Bolivia on Monday night.
The 35-year-old veteran found the net just twice in 11 appearances this season with the Vancouver Whitecaps but has scored three times in three appearances with Panama, lifting him to +2800 on the top goalscorer betting prop.
Lionel Messi continues to lead the way as a +450 favorite to be the tournament’s top goalscorer despite being hindered by a back injury that forced him to miss Argentina’s 2-1 win over defending Copa America champions Chile on Monday night.
Messi has spent considerable time in the clinic this season after leading Argentina to the Copa America final a year ago, but is expected to be available for the squad’s next group stage match against Panama on Friday.
Two of Messi’s Argentine teammates closely follow on the odds, as both Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain join Rodriguez at +700 at the online sportsbooks.
Aguero scored three times in last year’s tournament prior to a solid campaign with Manchester City, where he scored 24 goals in 29 regular-season matches. A 36-goal scorer for Napoli this season, Higuain was a standout at the 2010 World Cup, scoring four times including a hat trick in a 4-1 group stage win over South Korea.
Edinson Cavani follows at +1200, but will need to step up if Uruguay is to advance out of the group stage. The Paris Saint-Germain striker sits along Carlos Bacca, who scored his first of the tournament in Colombia’s win over Paraguay.
Uruguay’s Luis Suarez remains in the hunt at +1400, joined by Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, while Mexico’s Javier Hernandez rounds out the favorites at +1600.