This Friday sees a handful international friendlies being played across the world, which will give us a glimpse of some of the countries who will be travelling to Brazil in a few weeks time to participate in the World Cup. I strongly advise against betting on friendlies but since there is a lack of competitive football on show today, the only hope for you betting enthusiasts is to place money on the unpredictable. So let’s see what there is to offer…
Spain vs Bolivia
The Spanish have seemed unsettled in their three most recent friendlies. Marginal wins against Equatorial Guinea and Italy sandwiched a 1-0 loss to 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa. Spain arguably played one of their strongest possible line-ups against Italy in March (only missing Xabi Alonso and Xavi as key players) and still seemed to under-perform, even though they boast a good defensive record. Opponents Bolivia won’t find themselves at the World Cup tournament this year and thus have a lot less to risk in terms of injury to key players. The South Americans are composed of large majority of players from the regional league, with only main striker Marcelo Moreno making his club appearances outside the country, in Brazil for Cruziero. Bolivia had a rough time in the CONMEBOL qualification region and recorded their last competitive win in the shock 4-1 victory against Uruguay in 2012. Although Spain will undoubtedly win, expect Bolivia to play with more freedom and grab a goal or two against the reigning world champions.
Spain to win and Both Teams To Score – 11/5
Austria vs Iceland
Two teams in contrasting runs of form go head-to-head in a game that doesn’t particularly matter for either of them. Austria are unbeaten in four of their last five matches, conceding only three during that time to Uruguay and Sweden respectively. On the other side of matters, Iceland have not won since October 2013 and have scored only one goal this year… against Wales. Both nations won’t have an impact on the proceedings in Brazil, but Iceland came closest to qualifying, losing their play-off against Croatia 2-0. With Austria being a full 18 places ahead of their European counterparts in the world rankings, the safest bet would be to back the home side, but I doubt there will be many goals.
Austria to win – 8/13
England vs Peru
In the last fixture before Roy’s lads attempt to take on the world with their new-found pessimism, Peru visit Wembley in what could prove to be a tricky encounter. England will be desperate for victory as a morale booster following disappointing showings in their last three friendlies. Despite winning against Denmark, the Three Lions were far from impressive and home defeats to Chile and Germany could be an indicator of how tough life will be in Brazil come June. Saying that, Peru have lost four of their last six games, but they have been against fairly strong opposition in the form of Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Venezuela. The Peruvians do like to score goals though, striking first in their last three matches. A player that might be familiar to the English audience is Claudio Pizarro; former Chelsea flop and current Bayern Munich striker, he is still going strong at the ripe old age of 35 (update: he has bizarrely been dropped in order to make way for younger players). With England inevitably going to make a cock-up somewhere along the line, put money on both teams to score.
Here’s an interesting fact though. According to statistics recorded in 2001, there are around 4000 Peru-born citizens in the UK. Fancy that…
BTTS – 6/4
The treble will win you £64 with a £5 bet if you happen to bet with Coral. I suppose that isn’t too bad…
Mid-May. The football season has ended and thus betting opportunities are at a premium. However, there is still the Champions League Final to be contested! Atletico Madrid face off against Real in a Madrid derby that is sure to be close and unpredictable (if La Liga is anything to go by). Cup finals are also happening in England as well. Leyton Orient play Rotherham for a place in the Championship whilst Derby and QPR scrap for a place in the Premier League. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend betting on cup finals, so maybe only stick a few bob on the tasty treble that I have lined up.
Both sides will be weakened by injuries to key personnel, with Diego Costa and Arda Turan facing a battle to be fit in time for the kick-off tomorrow evening and Galacticos Benzema and Pepe will definitely be out. With both sides evenly matched in terms of talent and chemistry, picking a winner is a risk. The two Madrids have domestically been on a poor run of form, with Atletico failing to win in the previous three matches and Real have only won one out of four. BTTS seems like a safe option for this match
Atletico/Real BTTS – Evens
CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL
QPR had to go to extra time in order to win over semi-finalists Wigan, whilst Derby easily disposed of Brighton over two legs. The teams are evenly matched on head-to-head games as well, with the latest match between the two sides ending up 1-0 to the home team at Pride Park. With seven wins out of eight for Derby in all competitions, they are the favourites for this match.
Derby to win – 13/10
LEAGUE ONE PLAY-OFF FINAL
After both teams encountered stalemate in the first leg, Rotherham and Leyton Orient managed to claim wins in the second to set up this final. Expectations are high in South Yorkshire; Rotherham are aiming for a double promotion having automatically gone up from League Two last season. The season had started so well for Leyton Orient but tailed off later in the season, but they still managed to secure third place. This game seems guaranteed to have goals in it. The O’s have only kept one clean sheet in twelve games since mid March and Rotherham have conceded more goals than anyone in the top six (tied with Peterborough).
Over 2.5 goals – EVENS
This treble has odds of over 8/1 with William Hill and BetVictor! Good luck.