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Football Betting Tips: October 8th & 9th
by the Cheeky Punter
If you are one of England’s fans who sat through the dismal display against Slovenia, then I do feel sorry for you. Scotland’s victory over Slovakia however makes the final selection of fixtures in that group all the more important with the Scots now in pole position to land a playoff spot.
There’s also a massive game on Tuesday night between Wales and the Republic of Ireland so it promises to be a good couple of days of action. Here are my international football tips for October 8 and 9th:
International Qualifier Tips: Sunday 8th October
October 8, 2017
Vilniaus LFF Stadium
October 8, 2017
Vilniaus LFF Stadium
England have qualified for the World Cup Finals as Group Winners, Lithuania are fifth in the group with six points from nine games.
England have won the three matches between the teams without conceding a goal, winning 4-0 and 3-0 in 2015 and 2-0 in 2017.
With England qualified, it is possible Gareth Southgate may elect to rotate his squad for this game to give some of his fringe players a game.
Harry Kane will captain England once again with Gareth Southgate yet to appoint a full-time skipper to the role.
England have qualified for the World Cup finals, so in one sense that outcome is a positive one, but the manner of the qualification, which has been achieved largely on the back of three crucial last minute goals (away in Slovakia to sneak a 1-0 win, away in Scotland to secure a 2-2 draw and last week at home to Slovenia for another 1-0 win).
Without those timely interventions, England’s qualification would have been far from easy and they would go into this game likely with the group very much up for grabs and not necessarily in prime position to take top spot.
Lithuania are not a particularly strong side and though they have amassed six points this has come at the expense chiefly of Malta who are bottom of the group, plus a couple of hard fought draws. They can defend well enough, but offer little going forward.
England have won all the games between these teams to nil over the past two years and I cannot see any other result other than a similar scoreline today.
Scotland will clinch second spot and a place in the playoffs if they can beat Slovenia in Ljubljana.
Slovenia need to win and also for Slovakia to draw or lose if they are to stand a chance of finishing second in the group.
If Slovakia win and Scotland fail to win, then Slovakia will finish second in the group and may qualify for the playoffs depending on their record.
Scotland have played Slovenia four times in total, winning two and drawing two. They achieved a 3-0 win in Slovenia back in October 2005.
Scotland’s task is now clear, win and they should be assured of a playoff spot (depending on how they compare against other teams that finish 2nd) a draw and they are reliant on Malta drawing or winning in Slovakia, which frankly, isn’t going to happen. So essentially, this is win or bust for Gordon Strachan’s men.
Slovenia’s chances of qualifying were dented with two late goals, one at Wembley against them and one at Hampden Park when Martin Skrtel of Slovakia put through his own goal for the Scots. Only a Slovenia win and a Slovakia draw or loss will put them into the next round and while Slovenia have the talent to win this game, the chances of Slovakia losing to Malta are almost non-existent.
Slovenia’s problem is like Slovakia they are strong defensively, but they lack quality in attack and find goals hard to come by and when they do score goals, they seem to leave themselves open at the back to let goals in at the other end.
I expect a very nervy night here and while I’d love for the Scots to win here and clinch the runner up spot, I just have a feeling that this is a game that nerves will play a big role and it could end up in a result that neither side wants. The draw.
A win guarantees N.I a spot in the playoffs but, depending on other returns, a draw or even defeat could be enough.
Norway have had a disappointing campaign with 10 points from nine games but they did win their last game 8-0 away to San Marino.
The teams have met eight times in the past with Norway winning six and Northern Ireland two. Ireland did win the last game between the teams 2-0.
N.I boss Michael O’Neill has said he will pick his strongest team for the game given that the playoffs, although likely, are not yet secured.
These two teams have had somewhat contrasting fortunes over the past 20 years or so. As Norwegian football has fallen from the lofty heights of the teams of the 1990s, Northern Ireland have enjoyed a resurgence in form after a lengthy spell in the doldrums.
Michael O’Neill has hit upon a fluid formula for his team which has seen them qualify for Euro 2016, reaching the knockout stage before losing narrowly to Wales, as well as bettering both the Czech Republic and Norway to second spot in the group.
A few years ago, this fixture would have been a real concern for Northern Irish fans but now their team has such confidence that they will approach this knowing their team can get the result they need.
A point here will be more than enough for Ireland to claim a playoff spot and that is precisely the result I think they will achieve.
Victoryh for Wales eliminates Rep. Ireland & may be enough for Wales to top the group, if Serbia lose or draw.
A win for Ireland could also see them top the group if Serbia lose and would also eliminate Wales.
A draw would likely see Wales into 2nd in the group and Serbia as winners, Ireland would in this instance be eliminated.
Wales will still be without Gareth Bale who also missed their 1-0 win against Georgia in Tblisi.
Wales win in Georgia thanks to Tom Lawrence strike was a vital three points for the Welsh as it closed the gap on Serbia to one point (as they lost in Austria) and kept them ahead of the Republic of Ireland in second as the Irish beat Moldova 2-0.
This all means if Serbia win against Moldova, which they should do, then they will top the group and this clash will be for second spot in the group and hopefully a place in the playoffs.
That is by no means certain given how tight the race for the eight playoff places is, so both teams will know that a win is required to give them the maximum possible chance of getting through.
Even without Gareth Bale, home advantage will be crucial here. The last two games between the teams have finished in a 0-0 draw, but this time I think the Welsh will just about do enough to scrape a 1-0 win.
The Cheeky Punter is an professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for a number of top bookmakers including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. He's also written for a number of leading news outlets including the Guardian, i (newspaper) and Soccer Lens. More about him here.