UEFA World Cup Qualifiers: Expect Italy to rack up the goals on Saturday

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WILLIE Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) sifts through the Saturday coupon to find the best World Cup bets.

Georgia v Moldova | Saturday 17:00 | Sky Sports

On paper, this is one that looks unlikely to get the pulse racing but there is plenty of potential for punters to profit from Saturday’s match in Tbilisi.

Georgia don’t often win, but they are a tough nut to crack, particularly on home soil, and they should be backed at 8/11 to keep a clean sheet against Moldova this weekend.

Only Poland have managed more than two goals against the hosts in Georgia’s last 15 home fixtures – Spain were 1-0 winners in 2012, while Germany settled for a 2-0 success last year.

Moldova have won just one of their last 15 fixtures on the road – against Andorra – and Igor Dobrovolskiy’s side have scored just four goals in their last 10 games on their travels, failing to find the net against Luxembourg and Malta amongst others.

Georgia defeated Spain before Euro 2016 and claimed a 1-1 draw against Wales in Cardiff last month; Vladimir Weiss’ side are better than many give them credit for and the 8/11 (1.73) quote for the hosts to keep a clean sheet against Moldova is a solid selection.

Croatia v Iceland | Saturday 17:00 | Sky Sports

Not so long ago, this would have been a certain home banker for many, but Iceland’s superb performance at Euro 2016 will make many punters pause for thought.

Heimer Hallgrimsson’s men have scored in each of their last 17 games, but Croatia’s home record remains solid and backing goals could provide punters with a path to profit.

Iceland have failed to score in three of their previous four meetings with Croatia, but both teams can make their mark here and the 11/10 quote for goals at both ends in the Croatian capital is not without appeal.

Liechtenstein v Italy | Saturday 19:45 | Sky Sports

Liechtenstein. Just the mention of the place is enough to send a shiver down the spine of Scotland supporters. I can still remember the horror of seeing the minnows take the lead at Hampden Park and, even though Scotland came back to win the game 2-1, the painful memories of that match still live on, I’m afraid.

Italy will be aiming to avoid such a traumatic evening when they travel to Vaduz for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday night – and if there is a nation primed to avoid a banana skin, it is the Azzurri.

Remarkably, Italy are unbeaten in each of their last 30 World Cup qualifiers and whenever they find themselves in a hole, they seem to be able to dig their way out with alarming regularity.

Italy trailed in both of their most recent qualifiers – against Spain and Macedonia respectively – but Giampiero Ventura’s men claimed a point against the Spanish before a last-gasp goal won three points in Skopje.

At 1/14, it seems that everyone knows that the visitors will be victorious here, but there have been more than three goals scored in three of Italy’s four games since Antonio Conte left for west London and I’m backing that trend to continue at 19/20 with Coral.

Liechtenstein have lost 24 goals in their last six games and Italy could run riot – although a goal for the minnows, just like on that horrible night at Hampden, certainly wouldn’t hurt…

Best Bets

Georgia v Moldova – Georgia to keep a clean sheet (8/11 Bet365)

Croatia v Iceland – Both Teams To Score (11/10 Skybet)

Liechtenstein v Italy – Over 3.5 Goals (19/20 Coral)

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Willie is a freelance sports writer, specialising in Scottish football. He has covered Scottish football for more than a decade, working for a variety of betting organisations and media outlets. Away from betting, Edinburgh-born Willie enjoys nothing more than watching his beloved Hearts in action.

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