Some people will tell you that there is no such thing as a certainty in the world of sports betting. I’m not one of them. My punting is based upon on a staple diet of shoo-ins. I am Bruin Brown.
I know football is big business these days, and certainly the biggest sport in Europe. Nevertheless, I’ve been extremely surprised by the amount of coverage that the Eurozone Pay Offs have been getting.
The Greeks are having a referendum, Silvio Berlusconi is stepping down as Italian Prime Minister and the French and Germans are coordinating everything. I shudder to think what is going on in the countries that are actually playing over the next five days.
Whatever you do, don’t mention the Euro to my uncle Seamus – although I presume you do not know him so this isn’t really an issue. He yearns for the day when he could buy a pint with a fiver and have enough left over for a sherbet dip. I digress.
I mention my uncle as he was the one who got me into this betting lark. Days spent in Dublin pubs ensured that he was never short of a racing certainty, and, although I learned the hard way that Irish men fond of a tipple rarely have genuine inside info, it was a lesson that stood me in good stead.Estonia v Republic of Ireland KO 19:45
Uncle Seamus will be glued – not literally – to the TV this Friday evening – literally. His namesake in the Irish goal has been the cornerstone to his side’s relative success over the past 12 months. Prior to the final group game – which Ireland won 2-1 – Shay Given had gone seven consecutive international games without conceding a goal, setting a new national record in the process.
If he can shut out the opposition in Tallinn again this Friday evening then Giovanni Trapattoni’s men will be in prime position for Euro 2012 qualification.
Nicking an away goal – and therefore increasing the risk of conceding at the other end – will not be at the forefront of the 1994-Leslie-Nielsen-lookalike-champion’s gameplan. The odds are short, but that’s because it’s a shoo-in. Back Under 2.5 goals at odds of 1.55 (8/15) at betfair.com
Given almost every British man and his dog (probably named Rover) declares some sort of ancestry that descends from the Emerald Isle, it is fair to assume that most eyes – in the UK at least – will be on events in Estonia. However, for the true neutral, there are more appealing games taking place elsewhere on the continent.Bosnia-Herzegovina v Portugal KO: 19:00
The most intriguing match-up must surely be Portugal’s visit to Bosnia. Despite the seeding system these are, arguably, the two best teams in the play-offs – ah, Play-Offs not Pay Offs, that makes a lot more sense – and, in Edin Dzeko and Cristiano Ronaldo, we will see two of the world’s most in-form attackers in action.
In the group stages Portugal scored 21 goals whilst conceding 12 in their eight games. Bosnia, on the other hand, scored 17 and conceded only eight in their 10 fixtures.
However, the hosts are missing key components of their defence as Boris Pandza and Sasa Papac sit this one out through suspension, and that could make all the difference between a cagey game and an open one. Therefore, your second Bruin Shoo-in is Over 2.5 goals at odds of 2.6 (13/8) on Betfair.
Czech Republic v Montenegro KO: 19:15
Your third, and final, Bruin Shoo-in for this week comes from the land that invented the popular board game checkers; a country that gave football its first ever ginger-bearded player; a nation that invented, and continues to hold the patent for, the goalkeeper’s headguard; the Czech Republic.
Drawn against Montenegro, they were probably handed the most favourable of draws. Although the newly-formed nation have done remarkably well to get this far, new manager Branko Brnovic has yet to win a game. But for a moment of petulance from Wayne Rooney it would be the Swiss in the play-offs and we’d be talking about Toblerones and army knifes instead of the “Black Mountain” nation.
This Czech side is far from vintage but they will have more than enough to book a place in Euro 2012. Back Czech Republic to win at odds of 1.77 (4/5) at Betfair
Turkey v Croatia 19:05
The other match on Friday looks too close to call and is best left alone!
Back Under 2.5 goals @ 1.55 in Estonia v Ireland
Back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.55 in Bosnia & Herzegovina v Portugal
Back Czech Republic to beat Montenegro @ 1.77
Treble pays at 6.8 at Betfair.com