San Marino v England: Patient punters can reap best rewards

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Although San Marino are not technically playing their World Cup qualifier with England at home, they can still be expected to frustrate Roy Hodgson’s men in the opening period at the Stadio Olimpiaco in Italy.

San Marino may be widely considered among the bigger whipping boys in qualification campaigns for major tournaments, but the fact remains that they tend to be fairly stingy in the first half of matches.

They have not conceded more than twice before the break in their last six qualifiers and only once in their last 11.

San Marino are 8/13 to win the first half if handed a three-goal handicap advantage.

However, the 10/11 that there are more goals in the second half may be the best bet on offer for this Group H showdown.

This bet would have landed in seven of San Marino’s last eight games, including in the earlier group meeting back in October at Wembley.

Some fans may be expecting England to run up a cricket score, but San Marino have kept clean sheets in two of their last three at home in tournament qualification, including against Sweden.

Therefore, the 7/1 on offer for the game to be level at half time may appeal to punters looking for something at more lucrative odds.

This is certainly a better option than the 6/1 in the HT/FT market on the scores being level at the interval with England ahead by the final whistle.

It should be remembered that San Marino held out for 35 minutes at Wembley and they are unlikely to be any more adventurous with their tactics here despite their home advantage.

England may not be much value at 1/200 to simply win the game and a big stake is needed to secure any sort of substantial return, but this is an absolutely certainty and offers a better rate of return than the back.

Meanwhile, given that San Marino have only scored in one of their last 25 games, the 1/9 on offer for England to win to nil in Italy is another in banker territory for punters looking for something that is as good as a no-lose bet.

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.