Every week BetBright columnist Sam Tighe provides his rundown ahead of the football weekend, this time delving into the international break as the Premier League takes a well-deserved timeout.
Over 2.5 in Scotland vs. Poland (5/4)Add to betslip
With Robert Lewandowsi in truly outrageous form (10 goals in three games), Poland will be surging with confidence heading into this match. The Scots will make it a rugged, tough encounter—Lewandowski has already sounded concern that this match will follow the same pattern as last, in which Gordon Greer injured him—but the form and quality should shine through.
On paper the Poles are superior, but there are times when that doesn’t translate into a victory for Adam Nawalka’s men. It doesn’t feel like a nailed on victory for the visitors, but what we can near-guarantee is goals.
Either Lewandowski scores, or Scotland are so focused on nullifying/fouling him, a multitude of other players find room to work with. Arkadiusz Milik (three goals, two assists in seven Eredivisie matches this year) is a great second option up top.
Harry Kane anytime vs. Estonia (1/2)Add to betslip
A lot of fans will be expecting England to run up a cricket score against Estonia; they won’t double-check how the latter side have been getting on and presume them to be a feeble, helpless nation.
But Estonia are hard-nosed and tough to beat, mixing a pragmatic defensive outlook with pride and determination. Last time the Three Lions played them they smuggled a 1-0 win out of Tallinn thanks to a 74th-minute Wayne Rooney strike. It certainly wasn’t pretty.
With Rooney out after picking up an injury against Arsenal, Harry Kane is expected to assume the mantle of centre-forward in his fifth England game. He’s already developed a knack of netting for his nation even when he’s struggling to for his club—like, right now, for example—and against a stubborn defensive effort, he will be the one to break the resolve. Right place, right time.
Thomas Muller anytime vs. Republic of Ireland (21/20)Add to betslip
While so much has been made of Robert Lewandowski’s ridiculous run of form for Bayern Munich, Thomas Muller’s excellence has flown a little under the radar as a result. The German has been in scintillating goal-scoring form himself, but hasn’t quite managed the inhuman tallies his striking partner has.
Muller has bagged eight so far during the European Qualifiers, and Germany, at home against a weaker Republic of Ireland side, will be strong favourites to win. If there’s no value in backing the hosts, try backing the ultimate constant in an ever-changing, ever-evolving Deutsch lineup.
Under and home (2.5) in Northern Ireland vs. Greece (49/20)Add to betslip
Greece have been shambolic during the European Qualifiers, failing to build upon a surprisingly good FIFA World Cup 2014 performance and taking several large steps backward. Sacking Claudio Ranieri was a start, but his replacement hasn’t fared much better. After eight games they’re winless, they’ve lost their classic defensive edge and in attack they seem anaemic, managing just two goals this campaign so far—a dreadful return.
Contrast their fortunes to Northern Ireland, who are sitting pretty in a Kyle Lafferty-shaped castle in the sky, and it seems as though this game can only go one way. But while Michael O’Neill’s men sit top of Group F and seem within in touching distance of the finals, the goal-scoring success they’ve found—seven from Lafferty, three from Gareth McAuley—isn’t so sustainable.
Expect Northern Ireland to bag three points, but don’t expect a shellacking.
Poland WIN vs. Ireland (5/6)Add to betslip
Poland are good at home. Like, seriously good. They beat Germany 2-0 at the National Stadium in Warsaw at the beginning of this qualifying campaign and have scored 16 goals in four home clashes so far.
Provided they bag a result in Scotland as expected, and Robert Lewandowski doesn’t tear an ACL, they’ll be heavy favourites to dispense with Republic of Ireland at home—far heavier than BetBright’s 5/6 odds indicate.
Ireland are a good outfit, but they have no Seamus Coleman rampaging from right-back and if anyone can lock up slithering key playmaker Wes Hoolahan—who is in fantastic form for Norwich City—it’s the mighty Grzegorz Krychowiak in holding midfield for the Poles.
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Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.