Russia come up against Armenia in the Euro 2012 qualifiers today and will be looking to cement their position as favourites to progress from Group B.
Dick Advocaat’s men are priced at 3/20 to make it to Poland and Ukraine, ahead of Slovakia at 7/2 and Ireland at 11/5.
However, Armenia have made an impressive start to the campaign and sit just two points behind Russia with four games gone.
After opening with a home defeat to Ireland, they bounced back with a 2-2 draw away to Macedonia, an impressive 3-1 win over Slovakia and a 4-0 win over group minnows Andorra.
Given this run, and the number of goals they have scored in their last three qualification matches, Armenia will fancy their chances against Russia despite languishing 52 places below them in the Fifa world rankings.
After all, Slovakia are just nine places shy of Russia in the rankings and were easily disposed of in October.
With this in mind, a price of 19/4 for Armenia to win looks tempting, with a successful £10 bet on an Armenian victory at bwin.com offering returns of £57.50.
That said, history weighs against Armenia, who have failed to score in either of their two previous meetings against Russia.
They lost 3-0 at home in March 1999 and 2-0 when the sides met again in Russia six months later.
The Russians will also be boosted by the return to form of Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin, who has not been at his mischievous best in recent months.
In the wake of his performance against West Brom last Saturday, Arshavin’s club manager Arsene Wenger spoke of how pleased he was that the little playmaker had turned the corner.
“He is back in good form, Andrey, since the last three to four weeks,” Wenger confirmed.
Arshavin capped his cameo at the Hawthorns with a well-taken goal and is therefore well placed to fire Russia to victory at the Yerevan Republican Stadium, with a 3-0 victory priced at 9/1.
A £10 stake on Russia to beat Armenia 3-0 would return £100. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.