Two teams protecting proud unbeaten runs meet at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow this evening, with the smart money on both sides emerging from the encounter with their records intact.
Hosts Russia have gone six games without defeat in a run which stretches back to February, while visiting team Ireland are also unbeaten in six since a 3-2 loss to Uruguay in March.
Both teams will be desperate to avoid defeat given the ramifications this will have on their qualification campaigns.
For Ireland, it would mean falling five points adrift of group-leaders Russia with just two games to play and, in all likelihood, slipping behind Slovakia in the race for second spot.
On Russia’s part, it would mean conceding top spot to Ireland and possibly dropping to third should Slovakia win their game against Armenia this evening.
With this in mind, the teams are likely to keep it tight and the best bet appears to be on a draw in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with this eventuality priced at an attractive 5/2.
As such, a successful £25 free bet on Russia to draw with Ireland would return £87.50.
The £25 free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Meanwhile, a win for the home team is priced at 67/100 and an away success at 9/2.
Despite Russia’s short price for victory, there is further evidence which points towards a draw, not least the defensive solidity of the two teams and their lack of potency up front.
Russia have conceded just two goals in their last six games, while Ireland have kept a clean sheet in each of their last six.
At the other end of the pitch, Dick Advocaat’s side have only scored more than one goal in one of their last six games, while Giovanni Trapattoni’s men have drawn blanks in each of their last two.
A bet on there being fewer than 1.5 goals in the game therefore looks extremely good value at odds of 7/4, as does the 31/50 on offer for at least one of the teams to fail to score.
And with such a low-scoring game in prospect, 0-0 at the final whistle also looks attractive at 25/4.
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