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Northern Ireland host the USA in Windsor Park on Sunday evening in a friendly international match-up and coming into the match they really couldn’t be in worse shape. They’ve not won a match now since October 2019 and were soundly beaten by Italy in their opening Group C World Cup Qualification match earlier in the week.
The USA are on a good run of form, they’ve won seven of their last eight matches and come into this match unsurprisingly as favourites. Let’s go through the stats and find some value for the three best bets.
Sunday 17:05 – Northern Ireland v USA
Sky Sports Football
The North’s home form is every bit as bad as their overall stats. They’ve not won a home game at Windsor Park since a 1-0 win over Luxembourg in September 2019. Since then, they’ve lost to Germany, Norway, Austria and Slovakia (in extra time) and drawn with Netherlands and Romania.
The USA’s form looks good, but the thing is that they’ve not played anyone who’s any good. They’ve beaten the likes of Cuba, Panama, El Salvador, Jamaica and a few others on their recent run, but they hardly compare to the teams Northern Ireland have played at Windsor over the last two years.
However, you can only beat the teams in front of you and the USA have certainly been doing that, so they’ll be confident of beating the Northern Irish in their backyard here. No doubt, Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough will see this match as an opportunity to restart after their terrible form of late, but the US’s squad has some incredibly good players from the likes of Barcelona, Ajax, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund and should come out victorious here.
Unfortunately, we can’t see Northern Ireland’s bad run coming to an end against a team that’s bursting with potential talent in their ranks. We’re going with the United States to win this one.
We called it in their midweek match against Italy when we said they wouldn’t score in Parma, but facing an Italian defence at home is a bit different from facing an experimental USA-starting XI. For all of the North’s bad luck and lack of wins over the last year, they’re usually good for at least a goal in three of their last five home/away matches and finding the back of the net in 10 of their last 13 played at home.
The US don’t actually have the best away scoring record it must be said, they’ve only netted in three of their last eight away matches. Failing to score against England, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Wales. The really worrying ones there being Wales and Canada.
Mexico and Italy are decent sides and England usually bore their opponents to death at Wembley.
Here though they’re facing a side that rarely keep a clean sheet. Indeed, over their last 14 home/away matches, they’ve kept just one clean sheet.
While the market isn’t expecting goals here, there’s a good argument to be made for seeing Over 2.5 Goals landing and it’s some value too. Northern Ireland’s home scoring record is good, and we should see them getting one at least – and the same can be said for the USA.
But, what the market seems to have overlooked is that Northern Ireland really need to start getting wins under their belts. If they can’t get some confidence back into this team then their qualification matches for the Qatar World Cup are going to be drab affairs.
For the US, manager Gregg Berhalter has brought in a good few inexperienced players who will see this as an opportunity to make a name for themselves. As said above, they’ve got some good operators in their ranks from some of the best teams in Europe and they’ll see this as their chance to solidify their place in his usual starting XI.
There’s more at stake here than meets the eye on first look and we reckon we should see Over 2.5 goals here.
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