Old rivals. The Auld Enemy. The world’s oldest international fixture. England v Scotland. We’ve got ourselves a World Cup qualifier folks with the Wembley showdown your standout game of the international break.
And to ramp up the excitement even further we’ve once again roped in top Twitter tipsters Matt Holt and Paul King to cast an eye over the action.
They’ve been busy looking over this weekend’s games to give you some juicy punting ammo.
Oh, and our pair have also come up with another stonking joint selection. It’s one they’ve described as the ‘best bet they’ve ever had’.
You’ll just have to read on to find out what it is…
Spain v Macedonia
Alvaro Morata has been in terrific form for Real Madrid so far this season. The former Juventus striker has netted six times in his last six games and looks like he’ll be the go-to man for Julen Lopetegui after Diego Costa was ruled out through injury.
Spain have an outstanding record in home qualifiers. They’re unbeaten in their homeland since Greece beat them 1-0 in 2003; a run of 33 games and 29 wins.
On the other hand, Macedonia are horrendous away from home. They haven’t won in any away game since a 1-0 friendly win over Azerbaijan in August 2011, while their only competition win in the last 10 years was over Andorra.
England v Scotland
England are a formidable opponent at Wembley in qualifiers and the record is there to prove it. The Three Lions are unbeaten in home qualifiers since 2007 and have won the race to two goals 10 times in a row.
Scotland, on the other hand, aren’t great away from home by any means. They’ve only beaten Malta and Gibraltar in away qualifiers since 2013, and were beaten 3-0 in Slovakia on their travels last time out.
England won this race too, the last time the two sides met, when England ran out 3-1 winners at Celtic Park thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener and Wayne Rooney’s brace.
Croatia v Iceland
Croatia and Iceland were two of the better stories at the European Championships this summer and now they meet in Zagreb for the Group I World Cup Qualifier.
Croatia are a side with a lot of quality and are capable of scoring a fair amount of goals. They scored 2+ goals in four of their five Euro qualifiers and finished that campaign with 17 home goals.
Iceland are an exciting side whose games involve quite a few goals. They’ve conceded in 12 of their 15 games so far this year, with seven teams bagging over 1.5.
These two sides met in the previous World Cup Qualifying campaign and Croatia were comfortable 2-0 winners, despite having Mario Mandzukic sent off after 38 minutes.
England v Scotland
I could look at the stats for this one and pull out something ‘safe’ such as England half time/full time or England over 1.5 team goals. But I actually really like the idea of a punt on one of Ladbrokes’ specials for this one.
Despite England not scoring too many goals in recent games, I do fancy Gareth Southgate’s men to get back to their best and bag a couple as they host Scotland. With that in mind, 11/4 looks like a reasonable enough price for England to score a headed goal.
We have a few big chaps at the back who can be a real threat from corners, and our attacking talent should carve out at least a couple of aerial chances.
Romania v Poland
Poland are possibly the most free scoring international side in world football at the moment, scoring over 40 goals in their last 13 competitive qualifying matches.
It’s worth noting, though, that while they are absolutely outstanding going forward, they aren’t so tight at the back. This is clear to see when you consider the fact that both teams have scored in all five of their most recent games.
Romania probably aren’t as well known as Poland for their attacking exploits, but they have actually found the net in 11 of their last 14 international games which is a more than healthy total.
All things considered, I’d say Evens is a more than backable price for both teams finding the net in this one.
Croatia v Iceland
Croatia have looked solid defensively in recent games, keeping clean sheets against Finland and Kosovo in straightforward wins. It’s worth keeping in mind the key information there, though – they were against Finland and Kosovo.
Iceland pose a far more potent threat than either of those sides, with their counter attacking style of football seeing them score in a staggering 33 of their last 35 away games, in a run extending all the way back to their 5-3 loss to Portugal in 2011. Throughout that 35 game period they have scored a whopping 53 away goals.
Croatia are no slouches in front of goal either though and they have scored in 16 consecutive home matches. They’re also likely to be boosted by the return of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic to the squad, so I have no doubts they will find the net to keep up their half of this bet.
JOINT BEST BET
As usual the guys at Ladbrokes have asked us to pick a #WhatAreTheOdds multiple bet for them to enhance for us, and this little beauty is genuinely the best we’ve ever had at a massive 8/1.
England have scored in the first half in five of their last seven qualifiers at Wembley, while Scotland have conceded a first half goal in six of their last seven qualifiers – with only Gibraltar failing to find the net early on.
Southgate’s side should have enough attacking flair to carve out plenty of chances, so we both feel there will be plenty of corners. Four in each half doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it?
As for the cards… Well, Scotland will start with Scott Brown in midfield. He’ll probably get the 20 booking points on his own after scything down one of the Three Lions’ finest.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing