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World Cup Qualifier

by Ben, last updated 2005-08-31 01:27:50

My picks for this weekends World cup Qualifier.

Rooney to outscore Hartson
Rooney to score any time
England to win 1X2
Northern Ireland vs Azerbaijan, under 2.5 goals
Denmark draw no bet (no analysis).

Plus bonus tips from Nigel Ridgeway of Bet365.


 Northern Ireland vs Azerbaijan

 Northern Ireland (1.73) Draw (3.61) Azerbaijan (6)

Not much to say about this match. Two teams that have no hope in qualifying play at 3pm today on BBC1.

Northern Ireland have had problems on and off the pitch. On the pitch they struggle to score. They've only scored in 2 of the 6 qualifiers. They've lost to nil 3 times and drew 0-0 with Azerbaijan. Off the pitch they had to send home Cardiff City midfielders Philip Mulryne and Jeff Whitley for breaking a curfew.

Azerbaijan aren't doing too well either. They lie bottom of the group scoring a grand total of 1 goal. That was against Wales this time last year. Since then they have been thrashed by Poland 8-0 and 3-0. England only managed 1-0 and 2-0 victories though.

I can imagine this match will be very tedious so I am going for under 2.5 goals at 1.73 at SportingOdds. Neither team score much so 1-0 either way looks the most likely scorelines.


 Wales vs England, Rooney vs Hartson.

 Goalscorer Match Bet

Blue Square are doing this special market on Rooney vs Hartson.

I really think they've made an error of judgement here. They are offering 2.75 for Rooney to outscore Hartson. I don't think Hartson will score so really this bet is on whether Rooney will score or not. Given that Rooney is at best 2.1 to score anytime, 2.75 is a bargain price.

I've already tipped Rooney to score in this match. Even before Sven decided to change formation, I thought that Rooney to score anytime was a good bet. He's going to be upfront by himself now thus increasing his chances of scoring.

Rooney is such a skilful player. If you watch his goals against Newcastle and Everton you'll see they were minor errors by the defence that gave him the chance to score. Sometimes defences get away with little errors but with Rooney around, they get punished. Wales are bound to let their defences down at some point in the 90 minutes allowing Rooney to pounce.

Blue Square get a free £25 bet too if you haven't already got an account.



 Wales vs England, Saturday September 3rd 2005

 Wales (9) Draw (4.4) England (1.44)

England play Wales in this really pointless match. England are surely going to win this one. They need to, to top their qualifying group (plus they need to beat Poland). They'll probably qualify anyway but topping the group is so much sweeter than qualifying as best runner up.

When I fist priced this up in my head I thought it'd be something like 1.2. Seeing odds of 1.44 available is such a bonus. Its like printing money. England are going to win this no problem at all. Its at the Millennium Stadium in Wales which is practically home for England.

After England's humiliation against Denmark I can see Wales getting the backlash. As this is a proper world cup qualifier rather than just a friendly, Sven and the rest of the team will give it their best. David James not in goal so no more soft goals. That defeat in Denmark was a wake up call for several players. They'll perform to guarantee their places in the squad for the world cup.

Wales haven't done much on the international stage recently. Defeats both home and away to Austria have put them in no position to qualify. They drew 0-0 at home to Slovenia last match (friendly). They are going though a team rebuilding exercise at the moment. Read between the lines of this quote from Hartson, Wales and Celtic striker.

"We are in a rebuilding process and all we can do is turn in a better performance from last time, but we have to take into account what a good side England are."

The price of 1.44 should be snapped up. When the rest of the English betting public place their bets, surely its going to be all placed on England, thus pushing the price down. I rarely bet on the 1X2 at such short odds but this time its too good to resist. I can see the headlines on Sunday now "Wales Crushed by Rampant England Side"

I've also gone for Rooney to score anytime. Svens going to be playing a 4-5-1 with Rooney up front on his own. Most places are offering evens for this but PaddyPower are offering 2.1.


 ENGLAND TO SLAY THE WELSH DRAGONS

 by Nigel Ridgeway

Sat Sep 3 15.00 BST (SS1)
With no Premiership or Championship matches this weekend (or Ashes cricket for that matter!), the eyes of the nation will be on the Millennium Stadium where England are confidently expected to pick up the winning thread after the disaster against Denmark. They were well beaten in Copenhagen but don’t let that put you off backing them to beat Wales at 2/5. It should be remembered that England have never lost a qualifier under Sven, including the 2-1 win over Wales at Old Trafford, while Wales have yet to win a single qualifier to date (winless in their last 12 competitive games). Take them to win by the corresponding correct score and, at the same time have a bet on Rooney to score first at 7/2 (Evens anytime) - the scorecast pays out a respectable 15/1. And remember, if he scores that last goal in the game instead, we’ll give you your money back! Once the game goes live, we’ll have live In-Play betting on 14 markets.


 UNITED DRAWN WITH A THREAT

 by Nigel Ridgeway

Last week’s (long-winded!) draw for the UEFA Champions League didn’t throw up that many opportunities for an upset, however, Villarreal could give United a run for their money in Group D. Man Utd have no easy task to win this group and may be under priced at 8/15. United have departed from this competition at the first knock-out stage for the last two years, and will face much sterner tests than that offered by Debrecen in the qualifying round, beginning with a trip to Villarreal on 27th September. Villarreal were perhaps a little lucky to avoid extra time against Everton in the last round, but make no mistake they are a good side. With Lille starting their season poorly, and Benfica a weaker unit than the one that won the Portuguese domestic title last term, Villarreal are the value at 3/1 to win the group.


 OWEN FAVOURITE TO GET TOON OFF THE MARK

 by Nigel Ridgeway

After weeks of rumour Michael Owen has finally agreed to don the Number 10 shirt for Newcastle, and he looks set to form a formidable striking partnership with Alan Shearer. Newcastle are yet to score in their four Premiership matches this term and under fire manager Graeme Souness will be hoping that Owen does the business in front of goal. The England striker is 10/3 favourite to score first for the Geordies in the Premiership, whilst it’s a 5/1 shot that the duo score 30 or more goals this season.




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