Weekend betting column
Valuebet's betting expert Joe Whitaker turns the spotlight on the weekend's internationals.For a weekend of international football it doesn't the look greatest spread of fixtures for entertainment value.
That’s not to say there aren’t opportunities for the punters amongst us, however. It can be profitable to go with the obvious sometimes, though logic would tell us this doesn’t work long-term.
If it did the bookmakers would find it very hard to make money. It is nearly always obvious with hindsight of course.
England travel to Vilnius to face Lithuania with the emphasis very much on putting in a convincing performance after leaving the fans bored to tears on Thursday.
How Gareth Southgate manages to spark some life into the group his the question on everyone’s lips.
A large squad of mediocre players leaves the manager with a selection headache.
I would wait until the team is announced but should he start, Marcus Rashford at 4/1 could be a viable alternative to the ever shortening in price Harry Kane. I would use our two-for-one first goalscorers offer by pairing him up with pacey winger Raheem Sterling who is 5/1.
A bigger match in terms of the result is Scotland travelling to Slovenia.
The Scots need a win with the third place Slovakia just two points behind and almost guaranteed a win at home to Malta.
The Slovaks also have a better goal difference so a draw will most likely be not good enough either.
I am backing them to get the win however. They look a nice price to me at 9/5. The home side are no mugs however and will make life difficult.
I think it will be much more lively than the Slovenia we saw at Wembley and the ‘both teams score with no draw in the match’ at 2/1 could also be an easy way to some profit.
In terms of quality, Bosnia at home to Belgium stands out as a decent one for the neutrals. Both of them are good sides on their day and we have Bosnia priced up at 13/8 and the away side just shorter at 8/5. I fancy Belgium to get something here, with the visitors long since qualified and scoring goals for fun.
The Bosnians need three points to leave qualification in their own hands having lost 3-2 away at Cyprus in August. That can add too much pressure sometimes to the home side in front of their own fans and with goals not a problem I think 8/5 looks a big price for the away side.
There are of course still the lower leagues who plug on as normal on international weekends. A scan of the coupon tells me it is another tricky weekend and getting the correct three or four together is always the problem. A side I have been keeping an eye on who I think are just starting to hit a bit of form are last season’s beaten play-off finalists Bradford.
They travel to MK Dons for a tough one but I am backing them this weekend to get the win.
The home side had the disadvantage of playing extra time midweek in the EFL Trophy whereas Bradford didn’t. It could make the difference and we have them priced up at 7/4.
To complete the treble I am going to stick good old Accrington Stanley in there this weekend. They look a massive price to me at home to Luton at 2/1.
John Coleman’s lads play some good football, I watched them first hand when they did a job on North End this summer. It’s not an easy place to go to and get a result as their home form is generally good but its their away form that has caught the eye having won their last four away from home in the league. I feel they due a big win at home and Luton are a big fish in League Two. The treble pays a tasty 21.45 off a pound staked so fingers crossed for some Saturday cheer.
The Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket (2:40) is a toughly contested Group 1 over the Mile. John Gosden’s 4 year old grey filly Persuasive came up against a couple of good things last time out in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last month.
She ran a nice race to finish third though, and she faces several horses she had behind her that day again today. Should she get the run I feel she could go close at HQ today.
As always folks keep it fun and have a good weekend, Joe