Czech Republic v Northern Ireland: Two 9/1 shots appeal for visitors

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The Czech Republic and Northern Ireland should have been exceptionally proud to have secured their qualification to Euro 2016, even though both failed to make it any further than the group stage in France.

For the Czechs, they qualified for the finals as top dogs in a group which also included Holland, Turkey and Iceland, while Northern Ireland also progressed as group winners having avoided defeat in every match barring a trip to Romania.

Now the qualifying experience begins again for the 2018 World Cup, with the Czechs 3/4 to get their campaign underway with a victory in Prague.

However, it is the 9/2 on the away win that makes far more appeal.

The Czechs failed to keep a single clean sheet en route to reaching Euro 2016 and now also have to do without Petr Cech, who retired after the tournament.

Defensive solidarity doesn’t seem their strong point, even if the tenure of new boss Karem Jarolim started with a recent 3-0 friendly success over Armenia.

The opposite is true of Michael O’Neill’s men, who have only conceded more than once in their last 11 away games outside of Northern Ireland and can call upon Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans at the heart of their defence here, with Craig Cathcart out injured.

McAuley and Evans have been mainstays in the West Brom rearguard that have kept the joint-most clean sheets in the current Premier League season.

The 1-0 Northern Ireland victory is attractively priced at 9/1 for those chasing bigger profits, especially when the win to nil is 6/1.

Meanwhile, six of Northern Ireland’s last nine matches since December have remained goalless at the half-time interval.

The second period producing the most goals can be backed at 11/10, it is 11/8 that no goals are scored in the opening 45 minutes and 9/1 for Draw/Northern Ireland in the half time/full time market.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.