Macedonia v Slovenia | Thursday 10th October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
I’m diving head-first into the intrigue of Group G for Thursday night. Poland currently top this pool with 13 points but behind them there are four teams separated by just three points and they face-off against each other this midweek.
The first game I’m going to concentrate on is Macedonia’s clash with Slovenia. A win for the hosts would see them go level on points with their opponents and they’ll fancy themselves at their Skopje base. Having said that, the bookies rate Igor Angelovski’s boys as 23/10 outsiders but the odds on offer make it one of the most even looking fixtures of the night.
The Crveni Risovi have actually scored in 10 of their last 12 competitive games, that spans both their European qualifying campaign and their Nations League run prior. With the experienced Italian-based duo Goran Pandev and Ilija Nestorovski leading the line and the likes of Leeds’ Ezjian Alioski, Napoli’s Eljif Elmas and Levante’s Enis Bardhi contributing they look a threat. The onus is more on them for a win here but Slovenia aren’t in bad nick.
Matjaz Kek’s outfit have won three on the bounce, scoring 10 times in that run. Jospic Ililic is no doubt the star of the show going forward, he has startled for Atalanta in the past couple of seasons and revelled in a free role behind the striker. He is a bit of an enigma but when he’s on it there's not many better in that position in Serie A.
Robert Beric is pushing for a start up front after scoring the winner for Sainte Etienne in their crunch derby with Lyon at the weekend, he will no doubt be full of confidence.
I think this sets up to be a really interesting encounter and I like the odds-against quotes from Sport Nation on Both Teams To Score. As mentioned, Macedonia have bagged in 10 of their last 12, Slovenia have exactly the same record scoring in 10 of their last 12 too.
BTTS has copped in eight of those 12 Slovenia games and they will be in a game here. The 21/20 looks attractively priced.
Austria v Israel | Thursday 10th October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Sticking in Group G. I’m going stats-heavy on a value bet. With prices usually prohibitive on the international scene, sometimes you’ve got to dig deep to find an angle and I believe I’ve found a gem here.
Israel could leapfrog Austria if they win Vienna, a huge incentive for the Blue & Whites. Although they would probably snap your hand off for a point in a tricky looking game away, that would keep them in the mix ahead of a winnable home game against Latvia.
Israel have looked to keep it tight in the opening exchanges and I could see a similar approach play out here. That being said, their games explode into life after the interval. All six of their qualifying games have seen the second half have more goals than the first!
Austria will sneak into the top two if they win and Slovenia fail to beat Macedonia. They’re 4/9 favourites to be victorious and they’ve recovered somewhat after a disappointing start. Das Team went down 4-2 in this reverse fixture in a feisty match that saw eight yellow cards. Since then they have won three and drawn once (against leaders Poland).
When you look at Austria’s games, the Second Half has been the Highest Scoring Half in five of their six qualifying games. So this bet would’ve landed in 11/12 combined games in this campaign yet we can get some 123/100 with Marathon on a repeat occurring. The same selection is odds-on in places so the almost 5/4 quotes have to be snaffled up.
Macedonia v Slovenia – Both Teams To Score (21/20 Sport Nation)
Austria v Israel – Second Half to be the Highest Scoring (123/100 Marathon)