WITH all four teams level after round one, can either Cape Verde or DR Congo take the initiative in Group B tonight? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) weighs up the best bets on offer.
Cape Verde v DR Congo | Thursday 19.00 | Eurosport
On paper, this fixture looks like one of the toughest to call and so it should be after all four opening Group B games ended in 1-1 draws. But since exploring the betting markets, the form, team news and reassessing those first fixtures, I reckon I’ve found two avenues for attack.
Starting with Cape Verde who held pool favourites Tunisia. After a bright start to the match the Blue Sharks faded. Having fallen behind they did hit back from a controversial penalty and will be pleased to have picked up a point in arguably their toughest test.
Coach Rui Aguas has said he’ll make changes but has kept his cards firmly close to chest and in truth, Cape Verde remain a tricky team to call. We know Aguas’ side are filled with a wealth of attacking players and we also know they’re a neat, tidy and settled side.
In Helton they’ve s serious threat from set-pieces too. They’ve scored goals in six of their last eight games but have been kept quiet by the likes of Zambia, Mozambique and Luxembourg this calendar year.
Opponents DR Congo came into the tournament as a bit of an unknown quantity. They’ve flickered between the sublime and atrocious in the past 12-18 months but showed enough in their 1-1 draw with Zambia that they could and should be a force to be reckoned with in Group B.
Having conceded a very early goal, the Leopards hit back and finished the game much the stronger. Florent Ibenge’s men will again have Yannick Bolasie as their go-to man for creative spark and should the Crystal Palace man be on song, DR Congo will offer the biggest threat.
The Leopards have scored goals in six of their last seven matches but can often be undone by their attack-minded midfield. For neutrals like us, that’s good to hear and means there’s plenty in the tank to encourage a punt on Both Teams To Score at 23/20 (Ladbrokes).
The BTTS bet has proved a winner in 5/6 DR Congo fixtures and 5/8 Cape Verde games. The two teams are more inclined to attack with a vulnerable defence unlikely to do them any favours.
But I’m also happy to take a punt on DR Congo at even-money in the Draw No Bet market with Paddy Power. The tournament has been filled with draws so far and with the Leopards having only W2-D8-L8 of their last 18 Nations Cup matches, it offers a bit of insurance should the game end all square.
Ibenge’s men are the more likely match winners and we’ll only lose our bet should DR Congo end up on the losing side.
Cape Verde v DR Congo – Both Teams To Score (23/20 Ladbrokes)
Cape Verde v DR Congo – DR Congo draw no bet (1/1 Paddy Power)