In today's ­first-round match-up of The Motley Fool Better Buy Tournament, Altria (NYSE:MO) squares off against Prospect Capital (NASDAQ:PSEC) in a battle to determine which stock is the better buy now. The 64-company tournament pits two Motley Fool analysts against each other as they make the case for their stocks, with the winner determined by you, the readers.

It's no secret that Altria commands nearly 50% of the U.S. cigarette market. After all, the company does two things very well: It sells many of the leading cigarette brands, including the iconic Marlboro, and it makes boatloads of cash that it returns to investors in the form of dividends and share repurchases. With Altria sporting a yield north of 5% and a reasonable valuation based on historical standards, Motley Fool analyst Michael Finarelli believes the stock deserves a spot in your portfolio.

Motley Fool Financials analyst David Hanson believes Prospect Capital should move on to the next round because of the company's largest investment portfolio, which has excellent credit quality. Prospect Capital's BDC structure allows it to pass earnings through to shareholders, which results in a big dividend yield. Finally, David sees the company's large size and scale as a big advantage when it comes to finding new investments and getting favorable prices. 

Watch these analysts square off in the video below and then vote for a winner. Then check out the other companies in the Motley Fool Better Buy Bracket

This year's winning stock?
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Cast your vote in the poll below the video!

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.