NORTHERN Ireland host Luxembourg on Thursday night and Anthony Olsson (@Ant_olsson93) is on-hand to lend his betting views.
Northern Ireland v Luxembourg | Thursday 5th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
The first international break of the season is upon us and I have been tasked with picking some value out of Northern Ireland’s encounter with Luxembourg. This game is a friendly and will act as a good warm up for Norn Iron ahead of what will be a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Germany.
Northern Ireland sit atop of their qualifying group and boss, Michael O’Neil, has said they will play without fear in their upcoming match against the Germans.
But before that big clash, the Irish must get the rust out of their legs here. The Red Lions are currently minnows of the international game and they are ranked 91st in the world. Their biggest win in their history is a 6-0 victory over Afghanistan way back in 1948.
The last time these two sides met was back in 2013 when Luxembourg triumphed in a 3-2 win thanks to a late winner. The game was a World Cup qualifier and Northern Ireland finished second bottom of that group with Luxembourg finishing in last place. In 2019 I don’t think I can see Northern Ireland being beaten on their own patch, even if it will be treated as a warm-up friendly.
Norn Iron are priced at 4/11 (SkyBet) to win the game and I don’t think you can look past that outcome. Northern Ireland have been in great form in their qualifying group and they are on a four-game winning streak after their 1-0 away win in Bulgaria. They also have an impressive home record at Windsor Park having won seven of the 11 matches played in Belfast since March 2017.
I like the handicap angle for Northern Ireland in this game and I think there is good value for it. Northern Ireland -1 is priced at 6/4 (SkyBet) and I think this is a good punt with the home side having scored two or more goals in three out of their last four home games. In those four games this bet would have landed twice, which is encouraging. Luxembourg have also struggled to score away against highly-ranked opposition.
In the goalscorer markets, I’ve been attracted to midfielder Paddy McNair, who has been enjoying his role further forward for club and country and has averaged just under three shots per-game. He has found the back of the net already this season and having watched him against Bristol City in his last match I fancy him to have a positive influence on this match. McNair is 7/1 (Unibet) to score at anytime.
I’ve said I fancy Northern Ireland to dominate this match and I’m hoping that will come true. Norn Iron are 3/1 (Bet365) to Win Both Halves on Thursday night. With places in the big game against the Germans up for grabs I can’t see there being much let up in Northern Ireland’s approach.
Northern Ireland v Luxembourg – Northern Ireland -1 (6/4Skybet)
Northern Ireland v Luxembourg – Northern Ireland to win both halves (3/1 Bet365)