Kick Off: 1945, 24/03/2017
Stadium: Aviva Stadium
TV: Sky Sports 1
Republic of Ireland haven’t lost any of their last six meetings with Wales and are favourites to come out on top in Friday night’s World Cup qualifier in Dublin.
Martin O’Neill’s side head into this Aviva Stadium clash as the Group D pacesetters, with 10 points from their first four fixtures on the road to Russia 2018, while Wales are down in third, four points behind.
However, the hosts have to contend with a depleted squad and 21/10 for a draw looks the best bet from the Republic of Ireland vs Wales odds.
A Look At Republic of Ireland’s Betting Odds
After starting out with a 2-2 draw in Serbia, the Republic of Ireland have built up plenty of momentum with three straight wins over Georgia, Moldova and Austria, conceding only one goal in the process.
However, O’Neill must contend with a number of selection problems going into this game, with centre-halves Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark ruled out through injury, midfielders Harry Arter and Wes Hoolahan also sidelined for that reason and Robbie Brady suspended, while several other players are nursing strains, bumps and bruises.
“The irony is that way back in November when Gareth Bale got injured, everybody was talking about Wales possibly having one of their major players out of the team, now it turns out that we are the ones who are suffering,” moaned O’Neill. “It’s the lengthiest list of injuries that I have known since I have come into the job and unfortunately it’s happened at a really crucial time for us.”
With so much at stake, we’re expecting a cagey first half and like 9/10 that the scores are level at the break.
A Look At Wales’ Betting Odds
Wales got off to a flying start when crushing Moldova 4-0 in Cardiff, with Real Madrid ace Bale bagging a brace after Sam Vokes and Joe Allen had laid the platform for a comfortable victory.
However, since then, the Dragons have had to settle for a share of the spoils in even contests against Austria on the road and Georgia and Serbia at home, with Bale again getting on the scoresheet in each of the last two 1-1 stalemates.
Getting Bale back after ankle surgery is a huge boost and O’Neill admitted: “He’s a really fine player, there’s no question about that. Wales have got some really fine players besides that who are playing at a big level and they are coming here relatively injury-free. It’s a tough task. It would have been a tough task normally even if we were at full-strength. It’s going to take an almighty effort to win this game.”
Bale’s presence and the injury situation for Ireland should cancel out the Republic’s home advantage, so we like 21/4 for a 1-1 correct score punt.
Last World Cup qualifier result:
Austria 0-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND – James McClean
WALES 1-1 Serbia – Gareth Bale
Head-to-head: Wales 0-0 Republic of Ireland, Republic of Ireland 3-0 Wales, Wales 2-2 Republic of Ireland, Republic of Ireland 1-0 Wales