Without a World Cup qualifier in the first wave of fixtures, before they take on Malta in Group B next week, Italy tackle Brazil in a potentially entertaining friendly in Geneva.
Cesare Prandelli’s side however, are BetVictor 29/10 outsiders to warm up for the trip to Valetta with a victory over the 2014 World Cup hosts, bwin’s 21/20 favourites, and it’s 5/2 courtesy of Betfred to finish all square in the Stade de Geneve.
Brazil’s last friendly outing saw them edged out by England in February and before that they went down 2-1 to Argentina in the second leg of the Superclasico de las Americas while the Italians needed a last-gasp Marco Verratti leveller to draw with the Dutch and were beaten by France in the game before that; subsequently neither team presents an obvious case in terms of the book.
The stalemate is therefore the most appealing match bet and punters in agreement can obtain odds of 6/1 courtesy of William Hill for the clash to finish one-apiece.
Nevertheless, the best route to profit could be via the scorer-related markets, where Mario Balotelli is worth backing. The former Manchester City man has been in blistering form since swapping Eastlands for AC Milan’s San Siro Stadium and this kind of open, friendly encounter is a great opportunity for the 22-year-old to showcase his talent.
Bet365 make Balotelli 15/2 to break the deadlock and he’s 12/5 at the same firm to strike at any stage.
Mario Balotelli to score first – 15/2 (bet365)