In the first international game to be the subject of our new Shouting the Odds feature, we look at the crunch Euro 2012 Group G qualifier between Montenegro and England. John Fernandez puts forward the case for the hosts, while Ryan Forrester champions England’s cause, with bwinbetting editor Chris Bryant asking the questions. Remember, if you are tempted by any of the bets mentioned in this discussion, you can click here to join and use your free £25 bet on them.
CB: So here we go then. England need just a point to book their place at Euro 2012. Will they get it?
RF: England should have more than enough quality to see off Montenegro and odds of 13/20 for a Three Lions victory demonstrate this. Despite some abject performances at Wembley throughout the qualification campaign, where the pressure appears to weigh heavily on the squad, Fabio Capello’s players have looked far more assured on the road. Three wins from three away from home so far will give the players more than enough belief that they can finish the job against a side that come into the game on the back of two defeats.
JF: To be honest, I’ve seen England falter enough in my time to know that this game is nowhere near as easy as people are expecting it to be for them. First and foremost they are without Rio Ferdinand and Gary Cahill is likely to start. Now you find me an English centre-back in the Premier League who has had a more confidence-sapping start to the season. There isn’t one. He’s conceded 20 goals with Bolton already and that doesn’t bode well for his state of mind. At 19/4 Montenegro to win is surely an appealing bet and the draw is also a tempter at 12/5.
CB: Well, they’ve certainly shown they’re no mugs, John, I’ll give you that. They held England to a 0-0 draw at Wembley – can we expect another low-scoring affair tonight?
RF: I’m not so sure on that one. Anything other than a win for Montenegro will secure top spot for England, so the hosts are likely to bring the game to Capello’s side, as the players also aim to impress their new manager, Zoran Filipovic. This should work in England’s favour and with pace throughout the team, Montenegro’s approach is likely to present them with plenty of opportunities to catch the hosts on the break. The possibility of more than 3.5 goals in the game certainly isn’t out of the question, and can be backed at 13/5.
JF: I can’t say I agree with that. Montenegro tested England to the max at Wembley. England may have started well in their last two games, but against a Montenegro defence brimming with confidence from the last meeting I predict that the first half is going to be a goalless one and at odds of 7/4 it could be a good investment. I also have a feeling that only one goal will settle this match, so a bet on there being under 1.5 goals at odds of 21/10 must be attractive. While I can’t see Montenegro running away with it, I can see Capello setting England up defensively and making it hard work for themselves, as per usual.
CB: Interesting stuff. What scorelines are you both banking on?
RF: Only Montenegro have managed to prevent England from finding the back of the net in their seven qualifying fixtures so far, in which they have racked up 15 goals, but that’s unlikely to be the case this time round. Capello’s men have scored at least two goals in each of their away fixtures in this campaign, with Montenegro managing to score in each of their home matches. Odds of 29/4 for a 2-1 away win certainly look tempting, although a more comfortable 3-1 England victory at 25/2 looks a great bet, particularly considering the early-season form of Wayne Rooney.
JF: I see Montenegro stealing a goal and setting up to stifle England, so the 1-0 home win at 23/2 looks a decent punt. I can see England getting frustrated with tempers flaring and maybe a player being sent off. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a toughie!
CB: A red card, eh? We’re actually offering odds of 18/5 on there being one in the match. It’s 33/4 if you think England will be the team going down to ten men. Finally, who should we be looking at for goalscorer bets?
RF: You can’t really look past Rooney, can you? With nine Premier League goals to his name so far this season, and a brace in England’s 3-0 victory in Bulgaria last month, he has started the season with a bang, and at odds of 7/2, should be considered for first goalscorer. In contrast, Frank Lampard has faced much media scrutiny regarding his performances for club and country in recent weeks, but he duly answered his critics last weekend with a hat-trick for Chelsea in their victory over Bolton. Lampard will be eager to prove he can still produce the goods on the international stage and might be worth a punt at 15/2 to score the first goal of the game, assuming he starts.
JF: Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic are a formidable pairing at the best of times and I can see them really causing the makeshift English backline a world of problems. Their pace and trickery is going to make life difficult for John Terry and company, that is for sure. Jovetic is at a very tempting 9/1 to score first and Vucinic, who will lead the attack, should be backed at 9/4 to score at any time. That’s without even mentioning the threat in the air that young Man City defender Stefan Savic provides at corners. He could be a great outside first goalscorer bet at odds of 28/1.
CB: Well, that just about wraps it up. As ever, thanks for your comments, chaps.
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