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Croatia, Bosnia and Italy to win and keep clean sheets
Eric Roberts 2014-09-09 in Football Tips
Backing certain teams to win to nil is the best way to bet on the remainder of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying program.
Croatia and Malta kick off their UEFA Euro 2016 Group H campaigns in Zagreb in a match that the home team is short odds to win, which is unsurprising given that it is ranked 16th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and its out-of-form opponent is languishing in 150th position, making it the fifth lowest ranked member of the UEFA confederation. Also, Croatia and Malta have met six times for five Croatia wins and one draw, with the three games on Croatian soil ending 2-1, 3-0 and 3-0 for the home side. For punters who like to bet short-priced accumulators, Croatia is banker material.
But one thinks that there is value in backing Croatia to get off to a UEFA Euro 2016 Group H flier with a win and a clean sheet. Croatia beat a team ranked similarly to Malta 2-0 at home last week, Mario Mandzukic scoring goals either side of half time to take care of Cyprus. And then there is Malta’s record in recent times. Malta has lost 10 of its last dozen matches, with its only respite from losing coming in a 3-2 home win over the Faroe Islands and a 1-0 away victory over Armenia. Since the beginning of 2012, Malta has played 20 games and only avoided defeat against the Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein (twice), Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and San Marino. And Malta has not scored a goal away from home since netting versus Armenia 532 minutes of road action ago.
One is left with a difficult UEFA Euro 2016 Group H betting decision. Does one back Croatia to beat Malta to nil at odds of 53/1001.53-1890.53-1.890.53 with BetVictor? Or does one back Croatia to triumph by one of a select group of scores? For example, dutching Croatia 2-0 (odds of 6/17.00+6006.006.00-0.17 with BetVictor), Croatia 3-0 (odds of 11/26.50+5505.505.50-0.18 with BetVictor) and Croatia 4-0 (odds of 13/27.50+6506.506.50-0.15 with BetVictor) generates a bet with odds of 133/1002.33+1331.331.33-0.75. One is leaning towards the latter option, although one would not be against anyone who chose to take the all-covering win-to-nil option.
One mentioned Cyprus earlier in this article and its kicks off its UEFA Euro 2016 Group B campaign away to FIFA World Cup finalist Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cyprus lost 0-2 in Croatia last week and one expects that it will suffer a similar fate in Bosnia and Herzegovina because there is little to choose between the two former Yugoslav republics.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 19th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, three places below Croatia and 121 places above Cyprus. While one acknowledges that Bosnia and Herzegovina has not kept many clean sheets recently – it has conceded at least one goal in 10 of its last 13 matches – the scoring record of Cyprus and the gulf in class between the teams is sufficient to maintain one’s interest. Cyprus has not scored a goal in any of its last nine games and it has not though it has been playing global heavyweights.
Sky Bet is offering odds of 83/1001.83-1200.83-1.200.83 that Bosnia and Herzegovina wins its UEFA Euro 2016 match versus Cyprus without leaking a goal. With regards to dutching several scores, Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 feels like the right way to play at odds of 7/18.00+7007.007.00-0.14 with BetVictor, 51/106.10+5105.105.10-0.20 with 888sport and Unibet and 13/27.50+6506.506.50-0.15 with Paddy Power respectively. The dutched bet produces odds of 137/1002.37+1371.371.37-0.73. Again, one’s lean is towards betting at odds against on the dutched score options.
Finally and a little more speculatively, one likes the look of Italy at odds of 83/1001.83-1200.83-1.200.83 with Bwin to beat Norway in UEFA Euro 2016 action in Oslo. The current Norway side is not one of the Scandinavian country’s best and its last 12 matches have resulted in one win (Moldova), four draws (the Czech Republic, Iceland, Russia and the United Arab Emirates) and seven losses (England, Denmark, France, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia and Switzerland). Italy belongs in the group of the teams that have beaten Norway in recent times and, if one does not want to back the Azzurri at odds on, BetVictor is offering odds of 81/502.62+1621.621.62-0.62 that Italy keeps a clean sheet and takes three points. Alternatively, dutching Italy 1-0 at odds of 5/16.00+5005.005.00-0.20with 888sport and Unibet and Italy 2-0 at odds of 15/28.50+7507.507.50-0.13 with BetVictor produces odds of 63/253.52+2522.522.52-0.40. Again, one’s preference is to take the longer odds on the dutched scores.
Croatia to beat Malta to nil / dutched scores
9th September 19:45 GMT
Odds: 53/1001.53-1890.53-1.890.53 / 133/1002.33+1331.331.33-0.75
Where to Bet: BetVictor
Bosnia and Herzegovina to beat Cyprus to nil / dutched scores
9th September 19:45 GMT
Odds: 83/1001.83-1200.83-1.200.83 / 137/1002.37+1371.371.37-0.73
Where to Bet: Sky Bet, BetVictor, 888sport,Unibet
Italy to beat Norway to nil / dutched scores
9th September 19:45 GMT
Odds: 81/502.62+1621.621.62-0.62 / 63/253.52+2522.522.52-0.40
Where to Bet: Bwin, BetVictor, 888sport,Unibet
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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