At last, a qualifying match punters and supporters can get their teeth into – Friday night’s duel between Scotland and Ireland at Hampden promises to be one of those furious, blood-and-thunder affairs, with the Scots kicking off as Skybet’s 13/10 favourites.
Even a cursory glance at the history books would suggest that those odds look spot-on. The Scots have lost only once against Ireland since 1934, although the last time they played was in 1953. Nevertheless, since 1884, Scotland have amassed 48 victories and suffered just half a dozen defeats; eight contests have finished all square. History is on Scotland’s side.
Nonetheless, Ladbrokes mark a Friday night stalemate at an attractive 2/1, while the visitors are Betway’s 9/4 outsiders, a tad frothy considering they’re yet to lose a qualifying match and have rattled in ten goals in three outings.
In what is likely to be a cagey contest, bet365’s even money for the opening 45 minutes to finish on level terms holds significant appeal; the same could be said of William Hill’s 6/4 for the first half to end goalless. It follows that the opening goal could prove pivotal and BetVictor.com make Scotland their 10/11 favourites to score it, while Stan James offer 11/4 to punters who fancy the Scots to secure victory by a single goal.
It’s no surprise to see that the draw has attracted steady support with a 1-1 result (11/2, Paddy Power) the most popular outcome in the correct score markets. Elsewhere, bet365 chalk 10/3 against it finishing as a score draw and BetVictor.com mark 4/1 against both halves ending on level terms.
However, this is a fixture Scotland need to win if they’re to retain realistic hopes of automatic qualification and it’ll come as no shock to learn that Stan James’s 6/1 for them to register a 1-0 victory has been well supported by Scottish fans.