As we head into Euro 2016 there is a distinct lack of fixtures on the midweek coupon. As the big nations prepare for kick off on Friday most have already played their last warm-up games. Two notable exceptions are Spain and Portugal, who don’t begin their group campaigns until next Monday and Tuesday respectively. Spain are due to play one more friendly against Georgia, while Portugal face a final examination at home to Estonia.
There are betting angles on both games, although as you’d expect the odds are very short for home wins. We’re looking to boost the coffers ahead of the Euros to give us more punting money for the raft of group games over the weekend. We’re also turning out attention to another international on the other side of the world as Australia host Greece for the second time in four days. The Socceroos did us a favour on Saturday with a 1-0 win and they are worth backing to follow that up with another victory when the two meet in Melbourne.
Spain v Georgia
The Spanish elected to arrange friendlies against Bosnia, South Korea and Georgia in the build-up to the Euros rather than taking on any top level teams. It’s paid dividends so far as they’ve strolled to comfortable 3-1 and 6-1 victories against the first two, and will expect nothing less than a resounding win against Georgia. That takes them into the tournament in good heart to face group games against Croatia, Czech Republic and Turkey.
An overall run of nine wins in eleven internationals is sterling form, and the only two draws came in away games in Italy and Romania. They’ve also beaten Georgia 1-0 and 2-0 the last two times they played, in 2012 and 2013.
This is as tough as it gets for a Georgia team that has lost two internationals in the last two weeks by heavy scorelines. Slovakia won 3-1 at the back end of May, while Romania ran out 5-1 winners just a few days ago. That’s six internationals without a win – four defeats and draws against Kazakhstan and Albania. It’s difficult to see the Georgians finding the net against Spain, even if the Spanish have conceded the last twice against South Korea and Bosnia, and it’s equally difficult to see them holding the Spain attack at bay. This could end up in damage limitation for Georgia and Spain should land the odds without any mishaps.
Portugal v Estonia
We’re also going to recommend a bet on Portugal to win to nil at -137 with Bet365 when they host Estonia.
The Portuguese were short of the services of Cristiano Ronaldo when they took on England at Wembley, and to compound matters Bruno Alves moment of madness left them down to ten men for almost an hour of the match. That left their attack blunt but they showed plenty of quality in possession to stifle England, who eventually laboured to an unconvincing 1-0 win. Ronaldo will surely make an appearance of sorts in this game as they prepare for the first group F game against Iceland, and Portugal have enough class to dispose of a weak Estonia side.
Despite their well-documented ageing defence and a lack of top class players after Ronaldo, Portugal have still won six of the last nine internationals and are favourites to top one of the easiest-looking Euro 16 groups. As well as Iceland they will face Austria and Hungary, and will expect to reach the second round at least.
Estonia have beaten Andorra, St Kitts and Nevis, and Georgia to claim three wins in the last ten games, but they’ve been beaten to nil by England, Switzerland, Serbia and Lithuania. If Portugal can find the breakthrough they should be troubled little at the other end and can make this a comfortable and confidence-boosting victory before the big event.
Australia v Greece
Finally, away from Europe, we’re backing Australia again at -106 with Marathonbet when they face Greece in the second match in a series.
The Aussies won 1-0 in Sydney on Saturday thanks to Mathew Leckie’s injury-time winner, but they were good value for the victory despite the late, late show. After dominating possession and creating the bulk of the chances Australia were unlucky not to be ahead earlier through Sainsbury or Cahill, and Leckie’s strike was just rewards for their efforts.
This second match takes place in Melbourne on Tuesday morning (GMT time) and the Socceroos are in much better shape than their visitors. It’s eight wins in ten games now for Australia and they’ve scored a whopping 21 goals in the last six matches alone. They put up a good fight against England with a depleted squad in the recent friendly, and with their top players restored they are more than a match for Greece.
The Greeks are a long way from the side that famously won Euro 2004, and failed to even qualify for this year’s finals. They’ve won just two of the last ten against Hungary and Montenegro, but have fallen to defeats to the likes of Finland, Luxembourg and Northern Ireland in that sequence. Australia will be on the front foot again in this quick rematch, and there’s every chance they’ll find the net a bit sooner than the 93rd minute this time around.
Spain to beat Georgia to Nil
Tuesday 7th June, 19:45 GMT
Portugal to beat Estonia to Nil
Wednesday 8th June, 19:45 GMT
Australia to beat Greece
Tuesday 7th June, 11:00 GMT
Once or twice per month we will provide you with the latest sports tips and keep you updated about the biggest events.