Now bwinners, I must admit I’ve had a fairly bittersweet week on the betting front thus far.
On Monday, I was deeply affected by the sad demise of two horses in races I had money on, but on the plus side, I did pick both winners so at least I can afford some decent burgers and won’t end up eating the fallen heroes.
If Liverpool’s Pepe Reina was a horse then he’d have been taken out the back and shot too, but fortunately his gaffe in allowing Sergio Aguero to equalise for Manchester City brought me in a draw to complete a tasty quadruple in a match that also featured the human equine Luis Suarez and Eeyore from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ (Jamie Carragher).
But alas, I’m not here to feed you some whisper about a three-legged nag in the 3.50 at Ludwell, instead I’ll be previewing those thoroughbreds of international football: Spain.
The European, world and intergalactic champions square off against Uruguay in a friendly this evening in what – on paper – looks like a pretty tasty tussle.
However, I then found out that the game is being played in Doha and immediately, my enthusiasm for the encounter dissipated.
I’ve watched a few of these shindigs out in the middle east and I’m constantly left underwhelmed. The searing heat and tepid atmosphere isn’t exactly conducive to fast, free-flowing football and with many participants bang in the middle of hectic club campaigns, I’m expecting both sides to go through the motions.
Spain will be awash with Barcelona and Real Madrid players involved in crucial Champions League games over the next few weeks, so I reckon this game will entail La Roja passing it about for 85 minutes of the 90 and coming away with a narrow win.
To cut a long story short, the Spaniards have won 14 of their last 16 international games, including their last seven friendlies, and even though Uruguay are better than their 16th place in FIFA’s world rankings suggests, I can’t see past Spain for the 3/5 win.
La Celeste themselves are full of top-notch European aces, but despite being able to call upon Suarez and Edison Cavani among others, Oscar Tabarez’s side have only won two of their last ten and the 29/10 draw is about the best they’ll get.
Even though there’s likely to be an arsenal of great creative players on view, I’ve got a feeling that the docile Doha surroundings will take any zip out of this game and Spain with under 3.5 goals at 27/20 could be the simplest pick of the night.
Vicente del Bosque’s men don’t score many and concede even less and if you think they can shut out Suarez and Cavani, then get on the Spain win to nil at 33/20.
Spain are also a side that rarely fly out of the blocks, instead preferring to gradually wear the opposition down with 250-pass moves around the back four.
They’ve got a penchant for scoring later on in games, so I’d definitely be tempted to have a look at the half-time draw followed by a Spanish win at 18/5.
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If you do think that Spain will dominate, a price of 3/1 for them to win both halves is business, and if you’re in the mood to predict a score then 2-0 Spain at 27/4 is about the pick of the bunch.
I must admit that international friendlies aren’t my preferred weapon of choice and picking winners can prove troublesome given the indifference with which teams go about these inconvenient meetings.
My line of attack is to accrue an accumulator based on goals and if you want one pick from this game to put on your long list, over 1.5 goals in the second half at 21/20 would be my tip.
I’ll be keeping abreast of all the international fixtures this evening and if you fancy a few pointers along the way, feel free to add me on Twitter @bainesyDiego10