Wales and Bale set for winning World Cup start against Moldova

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Wales’ first assignment following their momentous exploits at Euro 2016 is a home tie with Moldova in the World Cup qualifiers.

Although their run to the semi-finals in France provides a huge confidence-building platform with which to build from, getting to Russia in two years’ time is a new challenge altogether.

Chris Coleman’s outfit will get their campaign underway without the injured Aaron Ramsey, who played a key role at the Euros. The Arsenal man’s absence will therefore place more pressure on superstar Gareth Bale to be the side’s attacking force.

The Dragons shouldn’t have to rely too heavily on the Real Madrid man however, with the Moldovans winning just once in 21 games and losing 14 in that time.

Add to that Wales’ six-game unbeaten streak in competitive games at home and it’s easy to see why we make them the 1/4 favourites for victory here.

The visitors can be backed at a whopping 16/1 to win, while the draw is available at 9/2.

Unsurprisingly it’s Bale that dominates the goal-scoring markets. The Real Madrid man is our favourite to score first at 11/5. He also tops the list to bag at any time at 4/5 and to net last at 11/5.

The former Tottenham winger slotted three goals in six appearances at Euro 2016 but is on a three-game scoreless streak for his country. He’ll be looking to end that against Moldova and, with two in two games to start the La Liga season, the 27-year-old certainly arrives in good form.

In a group also containing fellow summer participants Austria and the Republic of Ireland, getting off to a fast start in qualifying will be key and a Welsh victory in which Bale scores is priced at 10/11.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.