BEN LEVENE (@BenLevene96) shares his betting views on Saturday night's World Cup qualifying play-off first leg contest between Denmark and Republic of Ireland.
Denmark v Republic of Ireland | Saturday 11th November 2017, 19:45 | Sky Sports
After a shaky start to their qualification campaign, Denmark went seven games unbeaten, including a run that saw them win four of their last five to keep hopes of qualification alive.
A large part of that was down to talisman Christian Eriksen. The Spurs midfielder has scored seven of Denmark’s last 19 goals in qualification. If we include friendlies, Eriksen has eight in his last nine for Denmark while if we stick to just competitive games it’s a run of seven in seven.
So there is clearly somewhat of a reliance on Eriksen and Martin O’Neil will be aware of this. Ireland on the other hand, are the polar opposite in some senses. O’Neil is getting the most out of the collective.
Their results tend to be hard-fought. O’Neil has his side organised yet valiant and this recipe has allowed them to remain competitive in games. It’s perfectly illustrated through the fact that each of their last seven qualifiers saw Under 2.5 Goals.
They’ve enjoyed their travels during qualification too. Ireland went unbeaten in their five games on the road and managed to find the net in each of those, which shows promise if away goals were to come into play.
They haven’t conceded more than the single goal in any of their last nine competitive games and that goes a long way to demonstrating what we can expect from O’Neil’s men this weekend.
Stats and team news
Denmark have scored three or more goals in four of their last seven qualifiers. However, when you delve a bit deeper you’ll find they aren’t as goal-friendly as it seems. Along with Denmark, Montenegro and Romania had the most solid defensive records in Group E. Against these sides, all four of Denmark’s games saw Under 2.5 Goals with three of four also featuring Under 1.5.
Moreover, Denmark conceded more than the single goal in just one of their 10 qualifiers. The time they did came courtesy of a first-half Robert Lewandoski hat-trick. For what it’s worth, friendlies against Czech Republic and Germany both saw Under 2.5 Goals.
According to the betting markets, this is set to be the tightest of the four play-offs. Denmark are available at 4/6 to qualify while Ireland are best priced at 6/4. Already without captain Seamus Coleman and the experienced Jon Walters, Ireland will be without David Meyler and James McCarthy.
Burnley duo Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward trained this week after injury worries and their availability would be a massive boost. Ten Ireland players are a yellow card away from suspension.
The betting angle
Under 1.5 Denmark Goals is 71/100 with Marathon. When you consider Ireland’s defensive prowess, their form on the road and Denmark’s record against the more negative sides in their group, there is enough to get behind this price.
Denmark took more than six corners in three of their five qualifiers while Ireland conceded six or more in four of their five qualifiers away from home. Over 6.5 Denmark corners is 11/10 and could be worth chancing given it’s expected Denmark control the game against a deep-defending Ireland, in what should be a well contested first-leg.
Denmark v Republic of Ireland – Under 1.5 Denmark Goals (71/100 Marathon)