Italy’s World Cup qualifying progress has been fairly serene, four wins blemished only by draws away to Bulgaria and Czech Republic, but setbacks in the return fixtures this week would scrub away their security.
Luckily for them, adversity isn’t anticipated against Bulgaria in Sicily. The Euro 2012 finalists are deemed convincing 7/20 favourites, with the draw 18/5 and the visitors 31/4.
While the draw odds intrigue given that both nations are unbeaten in World Cup qualifying Group B, our focus is on the correct score, first scorer, last scorer, player to score two or more and player to score three or more markets.
bwin are refunding losing single bets in any of those arenas if there is a penalty awarded or a red card flashed.
Italy aren’t the best disciplined team despite coach Cesare Prandelli’s admirable attempts to encourage good behaviour, as proven by Mario Balotelli, Pablo Osvaldo and Riccardo Montolivo’s absence through suspension.
You could argue that their unavailability lessens the potential for flare-ups, however the likes of Daniele De Rossi and Thiago Motta are expected to play and neither shy away from a bit of needle.
Italy have been awarded a spot kick in the first 11 minutes of two of their past four qualifiers and there was a dismissal in their recent bore draw in Prague, when Balotelli accumulated two yellows.
Our preferred method to exploit the money back offer is by backing Andrea Pirlo to break the deadlock at 10/1.
The Azzurri should fire first having done so in their past four qualifiers besides that Czech 0-0, yet 4/1-rated probable starting forward Alberto Gilardino’s only international strikes this decade came against Faroe Islands and San Marino.
Pirlo by contrast shows no sign of slowing up, netting twice for Italy since May. Intriguingly, eight of his past ten for his country were openers.
Additionally, the 34-year-old will wield even more set-piece authority than usual with Balotelli out.