With England currently at 5 in the FIFA World Rankings and Montenegro at 46 this looks, on paper, to be a no-brainer of an away win. But, while England are odds-on for the win (8/15), the eastern Europeans are not the minnows the may initially appear.
Some bookmakers have them as low as 5/1 for the win and while this may look high for a two-horse race, it does recognise that Montenegro’s recent record, which is steady.
In their last five games they have won just twice – both times against Lithuania – but three defeats, against Serbia (twice) and Romania, have been close games with their 2-0 at home to Serbia being the biggest losing margin. In short, they don’t concede too many goals.
Even more significantly, in their four previous games against England, they have lost only once – at Wembley in 2013 – with the other three being drawn, including a 0-0 at Wembley in 2010.
So, while we expect Harry Kane and co to edge this one, it won’t be the free-scoring exhibition that some are predicting and Montenegro, roared on by a noisy home crowd, will make England work for their win.
We’re going for a 2-0 win for Southgate’s men 5/16.00+5005.005.00-0.20 with Bet365, with the first goal taking a while to come and not arriving until between minutes 31 to 40 13/27.50+6506.506.50-0.15 with Bet365.
TOP TIP! – England to win 2-0 @ 5/16.00+5005.005.00-0.20 / First goal between minutes 31 to 40 @ 13/27.50+6506.506.50-0.15
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TOP TIP! – France to win 3-1 @ 9/25.50+4504.504.50-0.22 / Both teams to score @ 7/42.75+1751.751.75-0.57
The current world champions will expect to stroll Group H, with Iceland, Albania, Andorra and Moldova for company. While the Albanians are in the top 100 of the FIFA World Ranking and Iceland inside the top 50, neither look to have anything like enough to trouble the star-studded French, who will be keen to add the Euro 2020 title to their World Cup crown.
Iceland though, as their ranking suggests, will offer the French their toughest test and Monday’s game in the Stade de France will not be an expansive, open affair with loads of goals.
The Viking’s recent success has been built on physical strength and organisation and new manager Erik Hamrén will be looking to use that very same formula, especially in games like this one. They will be strong, resolute and will look to exploit their size and height from set pieces, and may well have some success in this area.
The French are too streetwise to succumb too often though and while we can see Iceland grabbing a goal, we expect the French to hit three in reply, so 3-1 to France 21/211.50+105010.5010.50-0.10 with 888sport. Also worth a look is both teams to score, on offer at Bet365 for an enticing 7/42.75+1751.751.75-0.57.
Republic of Ireland v Georgia – 26th March – 19:45 GMT
TOP TIP! – Republic of Ireland to win 1-0 @ 23/55.60+4604.604.60-0.22 / Half-time/Full-time = draw/RoI @ 11/43.75+2752.752.75-0.36
The head to head record of RoI and Georgia suggests this has home banker written all over it – eight wins for the Irish plus a solitary draw – but Mick McCarthy’s men are having all sorts of problems in front of goal right now.
The Boys in Green missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup after losing heavily to Denmark in a two-legged play-off, but it was a lack of goals that prevented them from qualifying automatically.
All of which adds up to a tricky encounter with the Georgians on Tuesday night, although they themselves are not bursting full of goals, and we do expect McCarthy’s men to find a way to extend their very impressive record over the Vladimír Weiss’ men.
The pragmatists may be drawn to the 0-0 on offer at 7/18.00+7007.007.00-0.14 – and there are worse best to be fair – but we see more value in the 23/55.60+4604.604.60-0.22 on offer from 888sport for a 1-0 home win. Also worthy of consideration is a half-time/full-time bet of draw/RoI 11/43.75+2752.752.75-0.36 with Bet365.
Switzerland v Denmark – 26th March – 19:45 GMT
TOP TIP! – Switzerland to win 2-1 @ 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13 / and HT / F/T = Denmark/Switzerland @ 25/126.00+250025.0025.00-0.04
Group D of Euro 2020 throws together two of the world’s top 10, and they clash in Basel on Tuesday night in the group’s heavyweight contest.
Both sides will fancy their chances of qualifying, and so a draw won’t be regarded as the worst result in the world for either, but equally both will be aware they will likely be pushed all the way by the Republic of Ireland.
The Danes are in good form though and after qualifying for Russia 2018 via a playoff win over the Republic, went on to more than justify their place in the tournament. They qualified from their group with draws against France and Australia and a win over Peru, only for their journey to end in the round-of-16 when they lost on penalties to the eventual finalists, Croatia.
For the Swiss – who are now up to 8 in the FIFA World Rankings as a result of that last-16 place at the World Cup – it’s a case of tapping into the form that has seen them qualify for every major championship since 2006, with the Euros of 2012 being the only exception.
They have some quality in their squad too and while it’s a phrase that’s been used mainly when discussing England and Belgium, the “Golden Generation” could equally apply to this current Switzerland squad, with English Premier League stars like Xherdan Shaqiri and Grant Xhaka forming their core.
It almost goes without saying that this will a tight, edgy game and the Danes are not usually noted for their open, silky football when playing away from home (the World Cup playoff tie in Dublin aside).
The Danes do however lean heavily on the creativity of Spurs’ playmaker Christian Eriksen and if the Swiss can keep him quiet, then you have to fancy them to sneak it. So, we’re drawn to the 2-1 to Switzerland on offer from 888sport at 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13.
It’s not inconceivable that the Danes could take the lead, so an interesting bet for the half-time/full-time is Denmark/Switzerland 25/126.00+250025.0025.00-0.04 with Bet365.
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Carl is the original ‘Special One’ and uses his statistical knowledge of football to gain the upper hand over the bookies on a weekly basis. A student of odds and probabilities, ‘Wrighty’ pinpoints the value bets in the top leagues across Europe. A big signing for the SBO.net sports team, Carl brings his vast experience of playing the odds and beating the bookies to a weekly column highlighting the very best football bets.
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