Given the scheduling of the tournament and the fact that it’s effectively a league format based on a host of friendly fixtures, an outright bet on the eventual winner is an absolute minefield. Put simply, any of the four teams involved, Ireland, Scotland (10/3, Stan James), Wales and Northern Ireland – both 5/1 shots at Paddy Power, could emerge triumphant.
The importance of the competition is illustrated by the number of withdrawals from the respective squads ahead of the first games and with matters coming to a conclusion in late May, it’s safe to assume that weakened teams will also be the order of the day as a victor is crowned.
Ireland entertain Wales in the tournament opener and it’s the hosts that are odds-on at 8/11 with Ladbrokes. However, there’s little value in backing Giovanni Trapattoni’s side at such a short price in a non-competitive fixture especially as the Welsh play for the first time under a new manager and indeed neither team comes into the game in great shape so it’s also hard to recommend Gary Speed’s troops at 5/1 (bet365).
Wales appeal a little at 6/5 with Betfred when benefiting from a goal start but in what might be a fairly open encounter a small interest on Coral’s 13/10 for both teams to score is about as good as it gets at the Aviva Stadium.
Elsewhere, Romania look a little overpriced at 19/10 with bet365 ahead of their clash with Ukraine while an upset isn’t out of the question as Betfred’s 3/1 outsiders Cyprus face Sweden but neither can be highlighted with great conviction.
Both teams to score in Ireland v Wales – 13/10 (Coral)