Leagues Tipped:
SCOTLAND return to action in the Nations League on Sunday after the nerve-jangling drama of their Euro play-off win over Israel.
Friday night’s tense semi-final triumph at Hampden was a hard watch for the Tartan Army as Steve Clarke’s men made them endure 120 minutes of torture before the happiest of endings. And when the Slovaks come calling I’m expecting another dreary war of attrition.
Marek Hamsik and Co also needed a shoot-out to see off the Republic of Ireland on Friday after their semi in Bratislava failed to produce a single goal as well.
So that doesn’t bode well for those expecting to see some entertainment when they tune in for this pivotal clash in Nations League Group B2.
Scotland top the section after drawing with Israel and defeating a shadow Czech Republic side on the road while the Slovaks sit bottom having collected just one point.
But there’s nothing between these sides and this could end in another stalemate which is priced 23-10 at McBookie.
I’m surprised to see Slovakia as big as 31-10 with the same firm and many punters will fancy a punt on them at that price given Scotland’s unconvincing displays in their last three games.
Even though Clarke’s side are now undefeated in six they have done little to justify their status as 20-21 favourites.
It’s less of a surprise to see under 2.5 goals at odds on with Betfred offering the best price of 8-11.
That’s not great value but under 1.5 strikes is priced 9-4 at Sky Bet while betting against both teams scoring pays a decent 37-40 with BetVictor.
Another good option is pairing a draw at half-time with under 2.5 goals and that is priced 21-20 at McBookie.
If Scotland are going to get a goal it could come from John McGinn who managed to get forward and have a few pops against Israel. The Aston Villa midfielder is 27-5 at 888sport for a goal and that looks a little overpriced given he has scored six times for the Scots in the last two seasons.
For even longer odds try backing one of Clarke’s defenders to score from a set-piece given Scott McTominay and Liam Cooper came closest to breaking the deadlock against Israel.
The Manchester United man is 15-2 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer while Leeds stopper Cooper is bigger at 12-1 with 888Sport. The glamour Nations League tie of the weekend sees England host Belgium and it’s a hard one to call.
These teams faced off twice at the last World Cup and the Belgians came out on top both times, winning 1-0 in the group stage then 2-0 in the third/fourth-place play-off clash.
But England had the edge in the head to head before that, going 10 games unbeaten in a run stretching all the way back to 1936.
Roberto Martinez boasts the stronger squad and Belgium haven’t lost since a 5-2 Nations League defeat by the Swiss almost two years ago.
Gareth Southgate’s men are also in good form, losing just one of their last 10 matches, so I’m going to back a Wembley stalemate at 49-20 at Unibet.
Fringe players got their chance to shine in Friday’s friendly win over Wales with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady and Danny Ings grabbing their first international goals.
But the big guns should return to face Belgium and Harry Kane is 13-8 with 888sport for anytime scorer. For the Belgians it’s hard to see past Romelu Lukaku given his fine form of late for Inter Milan.
The big striker is 17-10 with BetVictor and could get some joy if Belgium supply him with decent service. With so much talent on display you would expect a few goals yet England’s competitive games of late have been dull.
Their last Nations League tie was a 0-0 draw with Denmark that made watching paint dry a more appealing prospect.
And only a last-gasp Raheem Sterling penalty stopped their first group game in Iceland from ending in another boring stalemate.
Their last two matches with the Belgians have also produced just three goals in total so try under 2.5 goals here which is priced 4-5 at McBookie.
Betting against both teams to score, which came up in those World Cup encounters, pays 11-10 at BetVictor. The Republic of Ireland will look to bounce back from their play-off pain when they host Wales in Group B4.
The Welsh sit top of the section after two wins while Ireland are propping up the group with Bulgaria having taken just a point.
The last three Republic games have seen just three goals in total so backing against thriller could pay off here too.
Under 2.5 goals is sadly a best 8-15 at William Hill so you have to go for under 1.5 strikes to get any value at 33-20 with 888sport for this one.
Northern Ireland head into their home clash with Austria on a high after beating Bosnia to reach the Euro play-off finals.
But they are 4-1 outsiders here at Unibet and the Austrians look justified as 4-5 favourites with bet365.
For a Nations League treble add a Lithuania win over troubled Belarus (5-2) and a Finland victory over Bulgaria (4-5).

Super Single

  • Under 2.5 goals and HT draw in Scotland v Slovakia
  • (21-20, McBookie)

Nations League Treble

  • Austria (5pm)
  • Lithuania (5pm)
  • Finland (5pm)
  • (10-1, bet365)

Under 2.5 Goals Double

  • Ireland v Wales (2pm)
  • England v Belgium (5pm)
  • (2-1, 888sport)
1 Comment
  1. S.Slavov 2 weeks ago

    Finland vs Bulgaria X2 @2.10

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