Northern Ireland, the only home nation to have a Euro 2012 qualification match in the first international window of the new season, take on Faroe Islands in Group C tomorrow.
While Scotland and Wales play friendlies – and England kick their heels following the cancellation of their match against Holland – Nigel Worthington’s men will be looking to get their qualification campaign back on track.
The Green and White Army have played five games in group C so far, winning one, losing one and drawing the remaining three.
This leaves them five points behind second-placed team Slovenia, with the runners-up spot guaranteeing a place in the Euro 2012 play-offs.
Although making up a five-point deficit seems like a tough ask, the fact Norn Iron have two games in hand over Slovenia makes it possible.
But to be in with a chance of finishing second Northern Ireland will need to beat Faroe Islands at home tomorrow evening, and the good news is they are favourites to do so in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
A Northern Ireland win is priced at 4/25, with a draw at 11/2 and a win for Faroe Islands at 14/1.
This points towards a comfortable win for Norn Iron, although a quick look at the team’s recent form suggests three points should not be considered a formality.
The Green and White Army have not won a game since a 1-0 win over Slovenia in September last year, with their last two results being 2-0 and 5-0 reverses against Wales and the Republic of Ireland respectively.
Furthermore, Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland drew 1-1 as recently as October 2010, suggesting there is not much to choose between the two sides.
With this in mind, betting on a draw could prove worthwhile given the attractive odds being offered.
However, the best option could be to bet on there being fewer than 2.5 goals at odds of 11/10.
This is based on the fact that Northern Ireland’s five qualification games have featured just six goals so far, with Worthington’s side’s two home matches of the campaign having both ended in 0-0 draws.
A £25 free bet on there being no more than two goals in the match, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £52.50.
Should they manage to earn a win, Northern Ireland’s victory is therefore likely to be by a slender margin, meaning the best bet in the regular time goal market appears to be on a 1-0 win for Northern Ireland, which is available at odds of 6/1.
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