One of the golden rules of football betting is not to back bad teams at bad odds but it may be worth making a rare exception to that law for the FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands in Astana.
Kazakhstan may not be the safest of punting vehicles – after all, it is ranked 149th in the world and has only two wins from its last 10 games – but every side has its price and one can make a very good argument for the minnow being well over the odds at 1.53 with Boylesports to win its FIFA World Cup home match against the Faroe Islands.
Strictly speaking, Kazakhstan versus the Faroe Islands is a dead rubber since neither team can qualify for the big show in Brazil next year. And it tends to be worth staying away from meaningless games. However, it is a dead rubber for Kazakhstan? The match represents a great chance for it to win an international game and, as Shakhter Karagandy showed in its UEFA Champions League tie against Celtic, Kazakh football is not the worst in Europe. The width of the crossbar is all that prevented Kazakhstan having a side participate in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Kazakhstan beat Georgia 1-0 in its most recent match but it is the form of the Faroe Islands, particularly away from home, that makes odds of 1.53 about the home team look too big. The Faroe Islands has lost its last 12 road games – nine of them without scoring a goal, drawing blanks in each of its last half a dozen away assignments. If one compares the results of Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands in their common FIFA World Cup qualifying matches – Austria away, Germany away and Ireland at home – the Kazakhs have had better results than the Faroese twice, with one tie.
It would be fair to say that Kazakhstan has improved since the early 2000s and the Faroe Islands has regressed over the last 10 years so the fact that Kazakhs lost back-to-back away friendly games 1-2 and 2-3 in 2003 is not a major concern. Kazakhstan is over the odds at 1.53 to win in Astana and confirm that its football is on the rise.
There is no shortage of short-priced sides on the FIFA World Cup qualifying coupon but, as ever, it is a case of picking out the best ones based on their odds. And it makes sense to stick with hot home favourites over hot away favourites.
In Europe, Norway ought to keep alive its chance of reaching the FIFA World Cup in Brazil by overcoming Cyprus in Oslo. Norway won the reverse fixture 3-1 in Larnaca and, also, beat Cyprus 3-1 in Oslo during qualifying for Euro 2012. Norway has won all eight of its matches versus Cyprus since the countries first met in 1988 so, all things considered, the Norwegians are worth backing at 1.30 with a range of bookmakers, including Bet365.
Other European teams worth considering because they meet the key criteria of good recent head-to-head form are the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The Czech Republic beat Armenia 3-0 in Yerevan, while Switzerland defeated Iceland 2-0 in ReykjavÃk. The Czech Republic is trading at general odds of 1.36 and Switzerland is available at odds of 1.30 in many places. Switzerland is probably the better bet of the two.
Away from Europe, Chile is attractively priced at odds of 1.44 with Boylesports to beat Venezuela in Santiago. Chile’s last five games in all competitions have produced home wins over Bolivia, Iraq and Uruguay, an away win over Paraguay and an away draw with Brazil. Chile got the better of Venezuela 2-0 in the reverse fixture and the Venezuelans have been disappointing both home and away for quite some time now. It is a must-win match for Chile if it wants to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, whereas Venezuela is probably out of the hunt for a prized berth.
Colombia’s home form – six consecutive victories without conceding a single goal – is sufficiently impressive to think that Bet365 are wrong to post odds of 1.53 about the Colombians defeating Ecuador in Barranquilla. According to FIFA, Colombia is South America’s top side, with the Colombians ranked third in the world and 14 places above Ecuador, whose away form is not that flash.
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