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Internationals Best Bets
Bosnia-Herzegovina v Belgium – Saturday 17:00
No European side has scored more than Belgium during these qualifiers and they’re clear at the top of Group H, but just one point separates Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2nd from Greece in 3rd, so this will be a crucial night in determining who goes through as group runners-up. Bosnia-Herzegovina are yet to concede at home in these qualifiers, easily overcoming the three minnows in the group – Gibraltar, Cyprus and Estonia – but they were held to a goalless draw by Greece. Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez’s side have overcome the ‘lesser’ nations with little fuss but were also able to win in Greece meaning they’ve now won 12 of their last 14 away qualifiers. It’s unlikely that the hosts will be able to shut out this Belgian attack with the in-form Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku amongst their ranks and since 2010 Bosnia-Herzegovina have lost 14 of 17 matches against top-20 sides (we have Belgium 9th) including half of six at home. We’re backing the visitors at what looks a juicy price.
Best Bet: Belgium Win at 2.63
Bulgaria v France – Saturday 19:45
A frustrating draw at home against Luxemburg has meant France still have some work to do to qualify for next year’s World Cup as they lead Sweden by just one point in Group A. Bulgaria hold an outside chance of securing the runners-up spot but must win here and hope other results go their way. Away form has let the Bulgarians down as they’ve won all four of their home games including against Sweden and the Netherlands and although neither are as strong as France we have all three ranked in our top-20 and Bulgaria’s record at home to such opposition since 2008 is a decent W3-D4-L1. Les Bleus have won just half of their away qualifiers, drawing in Belarus and losing to the Swedes most recently. While they didn’t have to qualify for Euro 2016 they did play plenty of friendlies and since 2014 Luxembourg and Armenia are the only two sides they’ve beaten by more than one goal in 11 road matches. With that in mind, we’ll side with the hosts +2 on the handicap.
Best Bet: Bulgaria +2 Handicap at 2.25
Switzerland v Hungary – Saturday 19:45
Switzerland are one of just two sides to have a 100% record after eight games and all there is left to decide in Group B is whether they can finish above Portugal to qualify automatically for Russia. They face Ronaldo and co. in a showdown on Tuesday but it’s important they win here so they can have the buffer of a draw being enough to top the group. Their opponents, Hungary, have struggled on the road during these qualifiers, failing to score in three of four games so far, including trips to minnows Andorra and Faroe Islands. The Swiss, meanwhile, have one of the best defensive records in Europe, conceding just three times with none of these coming on home soil. We don’t expect any trouble for Vladimir Petkovic’s men and are backing a fifth successive home win to nil.
Best Bet: Switzerland Win to Nil at 1.83
Lithuania v England - Sunday 17:00
England secured their place in Russia with victory over Slovenia on Thursday night and finish off their qualification campaign with an easy assignment at minnows Lithuania, and have won without conceding in each of their last 10 away matches against teams we have ranked outside the top 100 (we have Lithuania 122nd). Since the start of qualification for France 2016, Lithuania have played five matches against teams we have ranked between 10th and 20th (we have England 15th), and although they did manage to nab a goal against Switzerland, they lost the other four without finding the net.
Best Bet: England Win to Nil at 2.3
Putting each of these bets in an acca gives you a juicy 22/1 shot
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