MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has scanned Thursday’s Euro 2016 qualification card to find the best bets on the coupon.
Netherlands v Iceland | Thursday 19.45 | Sky Sports 5
There are eight strong odds-on favourites in Thursday night’s Euro 2016 qualifiers and the Netherlands are one of the worst 3/10 (Bet365) shots you’ll see this week. The Oranje are sitting in third place of Group A and must beat table-topping Iceland to get their campaign back on the straight and narrow.
Danny Blind takes charges of his first match as Dutch boss following the dismissal of Guus Hiddink and although Holland are defending a fearsome home record in competitive football, the Icelandic visitors look handy 10/1 (SkyBet) shots to do the double over their more illustrious hosts.
Lars Lagerback's side Reykjavik win was just one of five bagged in six qualifiers to sit two points clear of the pack. However, it’s worth noting the Netherlands haven’t been beaten in front of their home fans in a competitive fixture since 2000. So instead, I’m going to have a nibble on SkyBet’s 11/8 that we see Both Teams To Score bank in Amsterdam.
The Oranje haven’t failed to net in a competitive home fixture since 2007 but have kept just two shutouts in their most recent six outings in the capital. The hosts traditionally play on the front foot and head into the match knowing they must record three points if they’re to find their way back into the automatic top-two qualifying positions.
In doing so, there should be opportunities for Iceland. The minnows have netted in 13 successive games before Thursday night’s showdown and are packed with players more than capable of causing Holland’s backline problems. Both Teams To Score looks a bet that’s far too big to ignore at 11/8.
Czech Republic v Kazakhstan | Thursday 19.45 | Sky Sports Interactive
Czech Republic started their qualification Group A campaign in flying form, taking a maximum 12-point haul from their first four fixtures before a 1-1 draw and 2-1 defeat in Iceland slowed progress for Pavel Vrba’s charges. The National Team will be looking to reassert themselves when lowly Kazakhstan travel to Prague.
The hosts are understandably tight in the betting, heading into the game with an unbeaten home record (W2-D1-L0) in this campaign with the visitors winless in nine (W0-D2-L7) competitive outings and on the back of five consecutive Group A defeats.
Yuri Krasnozhan’s travellers also boast a pretty horrifying road record – the Eagles have W0-D1-L13 in their past 14 competitive away days. And so with the Czechs strolling into a 4-0 lead before two late goals from Yuri Logvinenko helped save some face for Kazakhstan when they lost 4-2 at home to the Czech Republic in the sides' first Group A meeting back in October, it’s hard not to make a case for the home side to win to get back to winning ways.
However, rather than take the miniscule 1/5 on offer, I’m keen to have a nibble on Boylesports’ 5/2 that Czech Republic win and Both Teams Score. Although captained by Arsenal cat Petr Cech, Vrba’s men aren’t blessed with top quality defenders so it should be of no surprise to see they’ve managed just two shutouts in 10 Prague matches.
All three of the Czech’s home Euro 2016 qualifiers have seen BTTS backers collect and it’s also a trend that’s been rife in Kazakhstan’s miserable road games – eight of the Eagles last 10 away encounters have produced Both Teams To Score winners whilst seven of their last nine competitive defeats on the road have also seen BTTS bank.
Netherlands v Iceland – Both Teams To Score (11/8 SkyBet)
Czech Republic v Kazakhstan – Czech Republic to win and Both Teams To Score (5/2 Boylesports)
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