An away victory for Northern Ireland in their upcoming clash with the Faroe Islands will leave them in a strong position in Group C after they took a fine point from their home game with Italy.
Northern Ireland surprised Slovenia with a 1-0 win in their opening group encounter and resolute defending was again the dish of the day as they kept out the 2006 World Cup winners.
Marco Borriello was especially wasteful for the Group C leaders, who had won their opening two games, while Guiseppe Rossi missed a guilt-edged chance late on.
Northern Ireland have at least one game in hand on all the other teams in the group and a victory in this would see them move level on points with Italy.
They are 1/4 to beat the Faroe Islands.
Elsewhere, Craig Levein’s tactics of playing without a striker failed in Prague as the Czech Republic secured a 1-0 victory over Scotland.
With Spain almost certain to win Group I, Levein took the decision to try not to lose the game against, on paper, their biggest rivals for second spot.
But the Czech’s finally got the goal their dominance deserved when Roman Hobnik headed home from close ange in the second half.
Scotland are at home to Spain next and will be looking to take something from the game to keep them in the hunt for second place.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland produced a late spirited fightback, but it was not enough to avoid suffering a disappointing home defeat to Russia.
A dismal first half left Ireland on the back foot and despite Robbie Keane and Shane Long ensuring late fireworks, they lost 3-2 in Dublin.
Group B is now one of the tightest with three teams on six points, with Ireland’s next game in Slovakia now taking on added importance and they are 2/1 to win.
Slovakia are 11/10 to move onto nine points with a win over Ireland. See the full Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland match betting odds market.