IT'S an international break so that can only mean one thing, a correct score treble against the minnows.
This week's fixtures are effectively split over two matchdays; Thursday, Friday and Saturday & Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and to be honest I prefer the look of the latter three's fixtures for our correct score bet with the likes of San Marino away to Czech Republic, Liechtenstein away to Moldova and Gibraltar away to Greece.
But let's take a look at some value in the matches over the next few days.
San Marino v Norway (Thursday 7.45pm)
I don't need to cover old ground with San Marino as I usually lay it down every time I do this bet but suffice to say they're a staple of my correct score treble tips due to their inability to score, let alone win. Ranked as the worst team in Europe they've already conceded 38 goals in 8 World Cup Qualifying matches, however they have scored TWICE.
One of those goals was against Thursday's opponents, Norway, when the sides met in Oslo just under a year ago. That Mattia Stefanelli strike must've sent the small nation into raptures as it drew them level in the match. Only three goals in the last 15 minutes put a more respectable slant on the scoreline (4-1) for the Norwegians.
In a way though, it has summed up Norway's sloppy campaign. They're out of the running for a place in Russia and have lost all four trips on the road in Group C. They've shipped nine goals in two games against Germany and their only victories have come at home to San Marino and Azerbaijan.
Norway's last visit to the microstate resulted in a 2-0 win back in 1992 and although we know that San Marino can ship goals at an alarming rate there's little to suggest that the Scandanavian's can rack up a cricket score here. With just eight goals scored in eight games and only one scored on the road I'm siding with a respectable defeat for San Marino this time and backing Norway to win 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0.
Spain v Albania (Friday 7.45pm)
Albania wouldn't normally feature on this kind of bet but when they're away to Spain the match has to be worth a look.
The Albanian national team are enjoying something of a golden era. They punched above their weight to qualify for Euro 2016 and more than held their own at the tournament despite not making it to the second round. They've been unfortunate to be drawn alongside Spain and Italy in Group G and although they can still mathematically qualify for the World Cup it looks a forlorn hope with matches against the aforementioned nations remaining.
Although they've scored 10 in eight so far they've failed to register in their two matches against Italy and Spain. At Euro 2016 their single goal came against Romania and in qualifying they only scored three in four matches against the teams that finished 1st (Portugal) and 3rd (Denmark) in their group. In conclusion, they don't score many against decent opposition.
It'll be an interesting evening in Alicante following a week of political unrest in the streets of Catalonia. The region's push for independence has exposed potential divisions in the Spanish squad with Gerard Pique stating that he was prepared to walk away from the national team if others felt his inclusion was a problem. Political differences are nothing new however and I don't expect football to do anything other than unify the players.
A win would all but secure Spain's trip to Russia next Summer and we can take comfort that they've only conceded three in the campaign so far, so a to-nil win looks on the cards. The Spanish have shown a greater propensity to score goals in this campaign having found the net on no fewer than 32 occasions, although 16 of those have come in two matches against Liechtenstein.
At home they've scored three against Italy, and four each against Israel and Macedonia so I'm pitching this one at 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0 to the Spaniards.
Andorra v Portugal (Saturday 7.45pm)
Automatic qualification from Group B looks likely to come down to the clash between Portugal and Switzerland in Lisbon on Tuesday night. The Swiss currently lead the group by three points but things are very much still in Portugal's hands thanks to a 9-goal lead on goal difference and a trip to Andorra to come on Saturday. The Swiss host Hungary at the same time.
There's no room for error for the European Champions so they won't be taking any chances against the tiny land-locked nation. Much like San Marino the Andorrans don't score very often but there are definite signs of improvement.
Who can forget their stunning 1-0 win over Hungary earlier in the campaign? That should serve as a significant warning to Cristiano Ronaldo and co, alongside the fact that that they've also drawn with Faroe Islands and gone down to just a single goal to Switzerland (1-2) and Latvia (0-1) at home.
So… again I'm going for the lower end of the scale in this one. It's possible that Fernando Santos may rest one or two, or indeed that the Portuguese might take their foot off the gas with a view to their massive game against Switzerland next week. Once again, let's go 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0.
Correct Score Trebles
- Norway to win 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0
- Spain to win 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0
- Portugal to win 2-0, 3-0 or 4-0
- Perm all correct scores in 27 trebles (3x3x3=27 bets) at 0.1pt
- Best Potential Odds: 306-1 at Bet365