On Friday evening Paulo Bento’s Portugal welcome Iceland at the Dragao for their penultimate Group H game.
Under normal circumstances, one would be tempted to crack open the old bubbly and bet on a high-scoring game, with bwin providing figures of 12/5 for anyone convinced this will end in a four to six-nil Cristiano Ronaldo slaughterhouse special.
Yet there are some factors which plead against a goal-fest, notably Portugal’s involvement in a complicated three-horse race with Norway and Denmark.
Will C-Ron and co really stick the boot into Iceland knowing that they have a date at the Parken Stadium ahead of them on Tuesday, a ground where Denmark rarely lose? (Unless, of course, a drunk fan of theirs decides to assault the referee and ends up punching one of his idols instead.)
Chances are that the home side will save their energy, so it might be worth defying bwin’s odds of 57/100 for the locals to net three or more times.
In any case, If this bet tickles your interest it’s cleverer to go for a Portugal win with a 0:2 handicap, as it is priced at 3/4.
Anyway, a 2-0 win is at 17/4, odds just about risky enough to be worth the effort.
After all, Portugal have some bad memories of the Dragao (baptising the ground with a defeat to Greece), and are without Danny (personal reasons) and the injured Atleti fullback Silvio, while Ronaldo’s niggle will probably see him avoid expending too much energy.
It might be worth trusting the benchwarmers to do a good job in the second half, so keep an eye out for that 6/5 which sees Portugal netting more in the second half than in the first.
Hugo Almeida has buried four second-half strikes in the last year, so it might be worth seeing Portugal not score in the first half (31/10), before eventually triumphing 2-0.
Iceland are certainly nowhere near troubling the scoresheet.
The Lusitanians rarely concede at home, barring a 4-4 freakshow against Cyprus, a result best explained by the end-of-summer scenario, not to mention Paulo Bento barely having the time to unpack his bags.
Iceland themselves have only netted three goals during the campaign, and, depressingly, none away from home. 17/50 might not sound great, but it sounds so easy it might be worth cumulating.
New bwin subscribers get a free £25 bet – why not add that 17/50 to the 333/100 which sees Portugal drawing at half-time, yet winning the match? A likely outcome with odds of 24/5, making that £25 bet worth £95.
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