- Matchday 7 of the Euro 2020 qualifiers has arrived
- Netherlands challenging Germany for top spot in Group C
- Last chance saloon for Wales in Group E
It’s Matchday 7 of Euro 2020 qualifying this week and we’re picking three of Thursday’s top fixtures to see if we can find some value for the bettors.
UEFA 2020 Group C – Netherlands vs Northern Ireland Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds to Win Group C|
|Netherlands||-2.0 (-108)||-526||O 3.0 (-105)||+100|
|Northern Ireland||+2.0 (-112)||+1200||U 3.0 (-115)||+2000|
*All odds taken on October 8, 2019
It really is all to play for in Group C as second-placed Northern Ireland head to Rotterdam knowing a point will be enough to keep them above the Netherlands.
Ronald Koeman’s team head into the game three points behind the Irish but with a game in hand and a better goal difference, so it’s impossible to overstate the importance of this one, especially with Germany heading the group on goal difference.
More Luck of the Irish?
Michael O’Neill’s side have consistently over-performed over the last five years and even with a small pool of players, the manager has been able to evolve the squad into one that’s youthful and vibrant. Having qualified for Euro 2016 and performed well in that tournament, the Irish will be desperate to make it to Euro 2020.
Four wins and a single defeat – at home to Germany – have made for a fine start for the Ulstermen but they still have two games against the Dutch and the away tie in Germany to contest. They also have a problem scoring goals, having netted just seven in their five games. Their success so far has been based on a sound defense that has conceded only four times.
Koeman’s Boys on Fire
The Dutch meanwhile are on a high having scored four in their last two games, including a 4-2 win in Germany in early September. This result means Koeman knows maximum points from their remaining four qualifiers will be enough to guarantee their spot at Euro 2020.
But the Dutch have enjoyed their big successes away from home in this campaign and I can see O’Neill’s men springing a surprise here based on their tight defense. There’s definitely value in the draw.
My pick: Netherlands and Northern Ireland to draw (+520)
UEFA 2020 Group E – Slovakia vs Wales Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds to Win Group E|
|Slovakia||pk -0.5 (+109)||+146||O 2.0 (-120)||+600|
|Wales||pk +0.5 (-129)||+188||U 2.0 (+100)||+600|
Wales on the Brink
It’s make or break time for Wales as they head to Slovakia in what looks to be a must-win match. Defeat on Thursday would open up a six-point gap between the Welsh and their opponents, and even with a game in hand, it would leave Ryan Giggs’ men staring down the barrel.
Victory, however, would put Wales back in the mix in what is a very tight group at the top, with just a point separating the top three, with Wales lagging behind the trio with six points from their first four games.
Giggs Looking at Bale and Ramsay to Deliver
Ryan Giggs has struggled to build on the momentum left by his predecessor Chris Coleman, despite having a solid squad to work with plus a couple of world-class players in Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, and their struggle to overcome Azerbaijan last time out was symptomatic of the Giggs era to date.
Slovakia, by contrast, head into the game off the back of a huge win in Hungary and are in good form with 11 wins from their last 14 home matches. With Wales losing their last three away games, this one looks a lot like a home banker and +146 for the Slovakia win offers great value.
My pick: Slovakia to win (+146)
UEFA 2020 Group I – Russia vs Scotland Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds to Win Group I|
|Russia||-1.0 (-108)||-192||O 2.0, 2.5 (-109)||+1000|
|Scotland||+1.0 (-112)||+500||U 2.0, 2.5 (-111)||+2000|
Proud Scots Relying on Playoff Game
Scotland are playing for pride having only beaten San Marino and Cyprus in their six matches so far. They come into this nine points behind second-placed Russia with little chance of making the top two automatic qualifying positions. Their saving grace is that they finished top of their UEFA Nations League group and so have a place guaranteed in the Euro 2020 playoffs.
But this group has been a struggle for the Scots and even changing manager – Steve Clarke replaced Alex McLeish after a run of poor performances – has had no positive impact. It’s hard to see them avoiding defeat in Moscow.
Russia Cruising to Euros
Belgium look almost certain to win the group but Russia are only three points adrift in second place – eight points clear of Kazakhstan in third – and also looking certs for a qualifying spot. Their only defeat has been in Belgium and the rest of their games have been won relatively comfortably.
Equally, significant is that Russia have kept five straight home clean sheets, something that amplifies the task that awaits the Scots. In short, it’s tough to find a compelling case for Scotland to leave Moscow with even a point.
My pick: Russia to win 3-0 (+900)