World Cup Correct Scores: Finding value in international mis-matches

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SELECTABET (@selectabet) returns with a case study on international football. Using trends to find the best correct score value.

It’s World Cup qualifying time so that can only mean one thing – another go at backing the minnows to be beaten without them scoring. It’s my only bet when these fixtures come around, simply because it’s the best value to be found.

The gap between the smaller nations of Europe and the bigger ones is greater than almost any other you can bet on during a season and most of the minnows find it near impossible to score against more successful nations so my bet is designed to find a way to exploit that.

I’ve found three fixtures this weekend where I think teams will be beaten to nil, the trick thereafter is to cover a spread on how many goals they’ll concede. Here we go…

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Gibraltar | Saturday 5pm

On Saturday whipping boys Gibraltar will no doubt suffer the same fate as they do in most matches when they visit Bosnia-Herzegoniva in Group H. In their short history they’ve won just once in 23 official matches – a 1-0 win over Malta in 2014.

They average almost exactly four four goals conceded in each match, having let in 94 in those 23 games to date. Crucially they’ve only scored seven which should give us confidence that they won’t net in Sarajevo.

And there’s more good news; Bosnia are fairly consistent when playing the minnows. In the past 20 months they’ve played Luxembourg (3-0), Andorra twice (3-0 and 3-0) and Liechtenstein (3-0). Beyond those results the only real stand-out result was a 5-0 win over Estonia earlier in this group.

That all gives us a nice spread to aim for of between 3-5 goals for Bosnia-Herzegoniva so go for the home win of 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0.

Luxembourg v France  | Saturday 7.45pm

I normally resist the temptation to pick Luxembourg matches for these kind of bets. They’re by no means the worst in the minnow category and are a well organised side that can pose a goal threat. However they’re playing host to potentially one of the most exciting international teams on the planet and I can’t help but get on side with the French to win without conceding.

Didier Deschamps has the luxury of omitting the likes of Karim Benzema from his squad (oh what Gordon Strachan would do for the chance to make those kind of decisions!) in favour of Kevin Gameiro, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, and Monaco youngster Kylian Mbappe so there’s plenty of firepower at his disposal.

However, the French were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw in Belarus in September and have scored seven in their first four Group A matches.

They could be in for another frustrating night at the Stade Josy Barthel. Luxembourg lost just 1-0 at home to Sweden and were level with the Dutch at 1-1 before succumbing in the second half, eventually losing 3-1.

The last two meetings between the sides in 2010 and 2011 both ended up 2-0 to France and that looks a sensible place to centre our correct scores around. Let’s go with France to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0.

San Marino v Czech Republic  | Sunday 5pm

Hopefully by tea-time on Sunday we’ll all be looking for a live stream from the imaginatively named San Marino Stadium in the hope that the Czechs complete our treble.

It’s just one win from 139 matches now for La Serenissima – Liechtenstein we’re the unlucky opponents – and just 22 goals scored. Even a goal for San Marino would be a surprise never mind a point so we can confidently back the Czechs to win to nil.

The two countries have met on four occasions, obviously it’s been four wins for the Czech Republic and the aggregate score is 20-0 which averages out at 5-0 so again we’ll go for something similar; 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 to the Czechs.

Best Bets

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Gibraltar – Bosnia to win 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0

Luxembourg v France – France to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0

San Marino v Czech Republic – Czech Republic to win 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0

Bet on 3 x 3 x 3 trebles. Highest return possible is 674/1, lowest return is 165/1 at Bet365.

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