Northern Ireland might have an early chance to avenge a recent poor showing in Tallinn but put your money on their match against Estonia to end in further disappointment.
In fact, far from justifying their status as favourites this evening, the chances are Northern Ireland won’t even manage to score a goal – a bet available at the attractive price of 14/5.
Back in September, Northern Ireland were still in with an outside chance of making the Euro 2012 play-offs.
They therefore travelled to Tallinn last month looking for three points but, instead of furthering their qualification cause, they came away with egg on their faces after receiving a 4-1 drubbing.
While it is still possible for Northern Ireland to make the play-offs, their hopes are almost non-existent given they would need to beat Estonia and Italy and count on other teams slipping up.
Unfortunately for Norn Iron, the days when they were able to keep things tight at the back and try and nick something at the other end – as they did earlier on in the campaign – appear to be over, as shown by a recent 5-0 loss to Ireland and a 2-0 defeat to Wales.
The four goals conceded against Estonia just over four weeks ago will have been particularly hard to stomach given their opponents had not scored in five of their previous six matches.
As such, it appears highly unlikely that Nigel Worthington’s men will keep a clean sheet today, with Estonia 1/2 to score.
Worryingly, Northern Ireland are also having trouble finding the back of the net.
Aside from a 4-0 drubbing of Faroe Islands – which, when seen in context, is a huge anomaly – Norn Iron have fired blanks in five of their last seven matches and they scored just once in the two games where they did hit the back of the net.
Taking this further, they have failed to score in 13 of their last 21 matches, and only on one occasion during this time – against Faroe Islands – did they score more than once.
With this in mind, odds of 14/5 on Northern Ireland drawing another blank against Estonia look extremely good value, with successful a £25 free bet on this outcome set to return £95.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
And given Northern Ireland’s poor goalscoring record and increasingly porous defence, punters could also take advantage of odds of 5/1 on Estonia to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0.
That said, those who think Worthington’s charges can end their campaign on a high can back them to win at 19/20 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with a draw at 5/2 and an Estonia win at 27/10.
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