Jamie Clark and Will Boot have joined news.bwin.com/en/ editor Chris Bryant ahead of Wales’ clash with Switzerland to Shout the Odds. The former is taking the side of Switzerland, with the latter convinced Wales can defy their underdog status and triumph at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.
CB: Switzerland’s odds of 91/100 suggests they’ll take some beating today boys. Is that the way you see it?
WB: I’m not sure I do actually. Yes, Switzerland are odds-on favourites and given the two teams’ recent records this is no surprise. But I definitely think there’s value in a Wales win at 3/1, not least because of the way Gary Speed’s men caused England so much trouble at Wembley last month. Add in Wales’ 2-1 win over Group G’s second-place team Montenegro a few days earlier and the home side should go into the match confident of causing an upset. A successful £25 free bet on Wales to win would return a cool £100 – not bad when you’re only backing the result rather than the score.
JC: Wales in the end were well beaten in Basel twelve months ago and let’s not forget the Swiss are still in with a chance of finishing second in the group ahead of Montenegro. Both the remaining games are must-win for Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who has selected a squad that has a blend of youth and experience. Exciting talents in midfield like Fabian Frei and Xherdan Shaqiri are supplemented by established internationals Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami. It’s a competitive fixture Switzerland have never lost and so they’re justifiably odds on at 91/100 to win away.
CB: The last time these two teams met the game ended 4-1 to Switzerland. What are your score predictions for today?
WB: Well we can rule 4-1 to Switzerland out for a start. Although Switzerland are on a good run of form – they haven’t lost any of their last seven – they haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders. Recent draws against Bulgaria and Malta (both 0-0) are prime examples of this. On the back of this, along with the solid defensive display put in against England in their last match, I’m backing Wales to keep a clean sheet and win 2-0 at 35/2. This ties in with my theory that there will be under 2.5 goals in the match at 7/10. There have been fewer than three goals in two out of the three home qualifiers Wales have played this campaign, with a similar ratio seen for Switzerland’s three away games.
JC: Looking at the stats, a Wales clean sheet looks extremely unlikely. Wales have conceded at least two goals in every competitive game they’ve played against the Swiss and in light of the withdrawals of both James and Danny Collins from Gary Speed’s squad, the only outcome can be an addition to the ten goals the Dragons have conceded in qualifying so far. That said, Switzerland are also vulnerable at the back, and with clean sheets infrequent at best for the two nations these days, both teams should score. I fancy there to be three goals in this game and that outcome is 31/10. History says Switzerland will get the spoils and set up a showdown for second spot and the play-off place with Montenegro on Tuesday. So a 1-2 away win seems very generous at 15/2.
CB: So which players will come up with the goals for your teams to secure the win?
WB: I’m a big fan of Craig Bellamy. He might not have a hugely impressive goalscoring record – he has scored 18 goals in 62 appearances – but his attacking threat is undeniable. He’s looked in good touch when playing for Liverpool this season – most notably in the Carling Cup tie against Brighton – making him a good bet to score at any time at 2/1. But the best option is Gareth Bale. The only way Premier League defenders can stop him at the moment is by hacking him down and he scored Wales’ goal in the reverse fixture against Switzerland back in October last year. Back him to score the opener at 11/1.
JC: Young winger Shaqiri is Group G’s leading scorer with four goals, including hitting a hat-trick against Bulgaria last month. He’s 2/1 to score at any time, and I’d say that was much better value than Bellamy, who has only scored one more goal than Shaqiri in the 22 matches he has played for Wales in UEFA competitions.
CB: There are certainly some fine attacking talents on display. Do any other bets catch your eye?
JC: It’s true that Switzerland haven’t been able to replicate the excellent defensive performances they showed in getting to the 2010 World Cup in this qualifying campaign, but Hitzfeld welcomes back Steve von Bergen to the squad and the centre back is likely to be restored to the heart of defence. They’ve also scored three goals inside the last ten minutes of their Euro 2012 qualifiers to date. To that end, odds of 4/1 for the score to be level at the break but the visitors to claim all three points come the final whistle are attractive.
WB: I’m going for more of a banker. None of Wales’ last 33 games has been a draw, and a Wales or Switzerland win in the double-chance market is priced at 1/4. Easy money.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Euro 2012 qualifier odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting