As a warm-up for their crucial Euro 2016 qualifying showdown, Ireland and Scotland featured in pretty uninspiring friendly matches last weekend. The Scots, as expected, defeated Qatar while goalkeepers were pretty much spectators as the Irish played out a drab goalless draw with England.
Punters will have gleaned little from either contest as they seek value ahead of Saturday’s Group D clash and similarly bookies left the odds unchanged following the two respective preparation games, home advantage ensuring that Martin O’Neill’s men will kick-off as favourites.
As it stands the hosts are rated at 13/10 by bet365 while Stan James price the Scots at 12/5 to complete a double over the Irish, following last November’s 1-0 triumph at Hampden Park and it’s 9/4 with Paddy Power to finish all square at the Aviva Stadium.
That would be a better result for Gordon Strachan’s third-placed side than it would for O’Neill’s charges and it could be that Scotland will be happy to settle for a point if the teams are inseparable coming into the latter stages of the game.
The stalemate is subsequently the best match bet and as Shaun Maloney’s solitary strike separated the two in the reverse fixture, a low scoring encounter looks on the cards. A case can be made for it finishing goalless then (13/2, BetVictor) and less specifically, combining a draw with a match tally of fewer than 2.5 goals comes in at a generous 11/4 via betway.
Bolder travelling fans can tackle Ladbrokes’s 15/2 about a repeat of last year’s 1-0 Scotland triumph and it’s 13/8 at Hills for the match to yield no more than the one goal. Meanwhile, in attack, Robbie Keane is likely to be reintroduced by Ireland and he heads the first but scorer betting at 5/1 (Stan James), at the other end bet365’s 7/1 chance Steven Fletcher is considered Scotland’s main threat.
Match drawn and under 2.5 goals – 11/4 (betway)