THERE are five International Friendlies taking place on Wednesday night. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) has highlighted two outsiders he likes the look of.
Belgium v Iceland | Wednesday 19:45
International friendlies. Two words that strike fear into punters hearts. And so they should, if you’re betting heavily on these games good luck to you. I won’t be. With that in mind, I’m on the hunt for long odds and big outsiders. Two come to mind.
I’ll start with Iceland. M’learned colleague Mark O’Haire is a big fan of the team and reckons they’re far too big at 300/1 to triumph in France in 2016. They’ve made a superb start to Euro 2016 qualifying with three wins of three and not one goal conceded.
Turkey were crushed 3-0, while World Cup semi-finalists Holland left Reykjavik with a 2-0 loss to their name. Lars Lagerback’s side have also won on their travels in qualifying as Euro 2004 qualifiers Latvia were beaten 3-0 in Riga last month. On Wednesday night they bring that confidence and momentum to Belgium in a friendly match and are as big as 9/1 with Bet365 to win.
That may be beyond them in truth as the Belgians are one of the few World Cup sides to have performed fairly well in Euro qualifying. They splattered a sometimes-tricky Andorra side 6-0 and then got a 1-1 draw in Bosnia. In friendly matches they’ve been less impressive though. Home defeats against Colombia and Japan last year hardly inspire confidence, and you have to go back to February 2013 to find the last time Belgium won a friendly on home turf.
I’m happy to side with Iceland on the Asian handicap here and like the look of the 10/7 that BetVictor offer giving Iceland a goal start. A one-goal defeat means cash back.
Argentina v Croatia | Wednesday 19:45
Another side who look large in the betting are Croatia. Coral have them at 14/1 to beat Argentina at Upton Park on Wednesday and that looks too big. The reason for this appears to be a wide selection of their top players looking unlikely to line up, so I fully understand if you want to ignore this.
Croatia are one of only three sides to come back from playing in the World Cup and pick up nine points out of nine in their Euro 2016 qualifying group. Malta were beaten 2-0, before a smart win in Sofia was followed by a 6-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan. To add to this, Niko Kovac’s side are unbeaten in six friendlies and they’re ranked 14th in the world. This is a solid side.
Granted, it’s been a great year for Argentina. They finished runners-up in the World Cup and then beat the side that they lost to in Brazil in a September friendly. However they did lose to Brazil last month and have failed to beat Romania and Ecuador in friendlies within the last year. 2/11 on a neutral ground? No, thanks.
Could the European location of Upton Park help the Euro side Croatia here? I’m willing to take a chance on that, along with the fact they’re massively overpriced. I’ll get with them holding a two-goal start in this game at odds of 6/5 with Ladbrokes.