The International break has arrived, and while England’s trip to San Marino and Ireland’s visit to Gibraltar will hardly stoke the flames of your punting fire, there are a whole host of other matches with far more attractive odds for the keen accumulator punter.
In a shameless bit of promotion for the big man upstairs (Paddy, not God) it’s worth noting that the Acca Insurance deal still runs for the Euro 2016 Qualifiers, meaning that if one leg of your five-fold or more lets you down, you get your money back as a free bet. Happy days.
So, with that in mind, we’ve picked out six of the tighter matches this weekend and crunched the form to create a tempting 55/1 accumulator. A punt that for a £10 stake would return £559.65, enough to pay for your next holiday.
Georgia v Scotland (Friday, 5.00pm, Sky Sports 1)
Although a result for Georgia would be good news for the Irish, a Scotland victory looks far more likely. The Scots have lost just two of their last 14 matches (to England and Germany), while Georgia’s recent form makes Labour’s recent election campaign look impressive. In the last two years, Georgia have lost eight of their 12 games, and the only sides they’ve beaten in that time are Saudi Arabia, Gibraltar and Malta. It’s hardly an intimidating form book. An Akaki Khubutia own goal decided this tie at Ibrox last October, and we’re banking on Scotland picking up another three points here.
Denmark v Albania (Friday, 7.45pm)
A massive game in Group I, and we’re tentatively plumping for the home side in this one. The Danes have won nine of their last 11 home games, and although Albania can boast of 1-0 victories over France and Portugal in the last 12 months, the away side have their question marks. Albania have played 12 away qualifiers (European Championships and World Cup) since September 2010, winning just three of them. Denmark have beaten Albania in each of the four occasions they’ve faced them at home, and are unbeaten in seven against them which is good enough for us.
Hungary v Romania (Friday, 7.45pm)
Romania top Group F and are unbeaten in Qualifying, but we fancy Hungary to sneak a point off them in Budapest. At home in all competitions Hungary have lost just three of their last 15 and they have looked defensively solid in their group, conceding just three goals in six games. Balazs Dzsudzsak helped them pinch a 1-1 draw with just eight minutes to go in Bucharest and Hungary should be able to grind out another result this weekend. Romania have dominated the group thus far, but will be happy enough to settle for a point with very winnable games against Greece (H), Finland (H) and Faroe Islands (A) remaining.
Russia v Sweden (Saturday, 5.00pm, Sky Sports 5)
Sweden may be four points ahead of Russia in Group G, but the Russians are favourites in Moscow, and we’re siding with the home side because of their unstoppable record on their own soil. Bar the 1-0 defeat to Austria in June, Russia have been unbeaten at home for five years – a record that spans 17 wins and nine draws. In that 26 game run, the Russians kept 14 clean sheets and notched up a 1-0 win in a qualifier against Portugal. Sweden may be unbeaten in their six qualifiers, but that we;re backing that run to come to an end in the Otkrytiye Arena – try saying that after a pint of milk.
Estonia v Lithuania (Saturday, 5.00pm)
Possibly one of the more obvious punts on our coupon. Lithuania’s form is as miserable looking as Katie Hopkins’ face – they haven’t won since October last year, losing six and drawing once in the meantime, while away form home they’ve won just twice in almost three years, against Finland and San Marino. England and Switzerland have both dished out 4-0 beatings to Lithuania in Group E, and the Baltic State have leaked 12 goals in just six games. Estonia are hardly free scoring, they’ve failed to score in four of their six qualifiers this year although three of those four games were on the road. Hopefully at home and against a leaky defence it will be a different story.
Switzerland v Slovenia (Saturday, 7.45pm)
If we get through to the final leg of the accumulator with the dream of pocketing £560 still alive we’ll be donning our Switzerland cape and drinking a ridiculous amount of Feldschlosschen. A 79th minute penalty gave Slovenia a 1-0 home win against Switzerland when these two sides met in Maribor, but the Swiss form suggests they should reverse that result back in Basel. Slovenia have lost eight of their last 10 away games – with their only wins coming against Lithuania (0-2) and Cyprus (0-2). Since that Slovenia defeat, Switzerland have gone on an unbeaten seven game run, and won three of their four home games without conceding. Up the Swiss!