No question that Friday night’s Euro 2016 play-off first leg between Bosnia and the Republic of Ireland is the biggest match of the weekend; well it is certainly for BetBright punters.
Can the Irish join England, Wales and Northern Ireland at next Summer’s finals? That is the big question.
Well BetBright think they can by making them 8/11 to qualify via this one, but they might not have it all their own way in the first leg.
The Bosnians are BetBright’s 19/20 favourites to win in Sarajevo and with no home defeat in their national stadium in the last 14 months, it’s hard to disagree with that.
They beat Wales 2-0 in an impressive performance in their last home Group B qualifier, but I wouldn’t look too closely into that as the Welsh had all but qualified and the result meant a lot more to the home team than the visitors.
What will give the Irish confidence is the Bosnians opening 2-1 home defeat to Cyprus (the last team to beat them in Sarajevo) which shows that they are vulnerable; if any team can raise their game for a big match like this, well it’s the Irish.
No management team in international football will have their side more motivated for a match than Martin O’Neil and Roy Keane, but I believe that the tactic might be to come here and get a draw; hopefully to get them back to the Aviva on Monday night with it all to play for.
The draw is Add to betslip with BetBright and I think if you backed all four of the play-off matches to end in stalemates you will be in the money in what all look like tight and tense evenings.
The Irish do come into this match in fine form themselves with an excellent group win over Germany; they’ve only lost one of their last eight internationals and that unbeaten runs looks set to continue at the crucial time of their season.
I don’t expect many goals, but neither do the BetBright football odds compilers. Under 2.5 goals and both teams to score as a ‘No’ are both wagers I like in this one.
In 8 of Ireland’s last 10 internationals under 2.5 goals has been a winner and with one of those matches against Gibraltar, it should really be eight of their last nine matches.
All the play-off matches are expected to be tight and over history it’s always paid to go under 2.5 goals in these opening legs – that looks set to continue, but the BetBright boys aren’t taking any chances and will only give you 1/2 on under 2.5 and just 8/13 on both teams failing to score.
The word of the evening is “tight” and with so much at stake for both nations this is going to be far from a classic – no goalscorer in the match at 11/2 is the way I’m tempted to play.
Draw @ 23/10
No Goalscorer @ 11/2
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.