MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) tries to find the best value bet when Ireland travel to the Algarve to take on minnows Gibraltar on Friday night.
Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland | Friday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
A one point return from two fixtures with Scotland has left Republic of Ireland scrabbling around for a route back into Euro 2016 qualification Group D. Memories of the last-minute draw in Germany have slowly faded with Martin O’Neill’s men now playing catch-up in the most competitive of qualifying pools.
If the Boys In Green are to stand any chance of finishing in the top-three, a six-point return from games against Gibraltar and Georgia this week is imperative. Friday night’s clash with Gib at the Estadio Algarve in Faro should, in theory, be a breeze and the visitors have been chalked up at understandably short 1/33 quotes.
Spotting value from this match isn’t easy and I loathe to get involved with any of the handicap bets. Ireland have returned just W1-D5-L3 in their last nine road trips, netting only four goals in those outings. Sure, the Republic walloped Gibraltar 7-0 in Dublin last October but they’ve also a horrible habit for toiling on the road to the Group whipping boys.
Ireland have regular failed to runaway with matches away to the likes of Kazakhstan, Andorra, Faroe Islands and San Marino in the past few years and although the handicap of four/five goals should be routinely taken care of, I reckon there are better chances to profit elsewhere.
The hosts have a new head coach since their Dublin date with ex-Norwich goalkeeping coach Jeff Wood now at the helm. It’s Wood’s first competitive fixture in charge and he’ll be hoping to steady a ship that’s leaked 34 goals during qualifying so far, at least 11 more than any other nation.
Gib were stuffed 7-0 by Germany in their most recent qualifier but they did manage to keep the world champions scoreless for 30 minutes before the floodgates opened in the second-half. With 20 of the 35 goals plundered in Gib’s six matches arriving after the half-time interval, backing the second-half to deliver the most goals at even-money with William Hill looks a sensible selection.
The home side have conceded a goal in the opening 20 minutes in five of their six qualifiers but Bet365 have made the opening Ireland goal line Over/Under 17 minutes at 5/6 and there’s just not enough juice to warrant an interest. So if you’re going to get involved, I’d recommend a wee play on the second-half being the Highest Scoring Half for a bit of interest.
Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland – Second-Half to be the Highest Scoring Half (1/1 William Hill)
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