Wales v Ireland: Three wily wagers for the celtic Cardiff clash

Ireland beat Wales in their last competitive meeting, but a lot has changed in the time since. Chief among them is Gareth Bale's return....

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Half Time/Full Time: Draw/Wales – 7/2

The last time Ireland played a competitive game, they trudged off their home pitch having suffered a humiliation orchestrated by Spurs man Christian Eriksen, who bagged a hat-trick in Denmark’s 5-1 playoff demolition of Martin O’Neill’s side.

A former Spur could do similar damage in this meeting.

We’re not saying we expect a Gareth Bale overhead kick wonder strike, but maybe a top corner rabona from the edge of the box isn’t out of the question?

But Ireland are unlikely to play as openly as they did versus the Danes, and should be determined to put up a defensively minded performance given the limited resources of their squad.

Bale can pierce the sternest defences, but O’Neill will surely set his team up cautiously and they will hope to keep the game tight in the early stages with their focus on securing an away draw at worst in the opening round of the Nations League.

A half time draw, with the Bale making the difference in the second half as the Irish defence wanes seems a likely scenario here, and 7/2 looks a nice price for it.

Soccer Football – UEFA Nations League – Wales Training – The Vale Resort, Hensol, Britain – September 3, 2018 Wales’ Gareth Bale during training Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

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Both Teams to Score: Yes – 5/4

If we assume the Welsh have enough attacking talent- well, Gareth Bale – to get on the scoreboard, the question is can the Boys in Green do the same?

Looking at their attacking options, it wouldn’t fill you with confidence, as Jonny Walters is the primary threat and beyond that, well, the cupboard looks rather bare.

But this assumes that Ireland have previously had a wide range of attacking talent to draw on. It feels like Shane Long hasn’t scored this millennium, so his absence is hardly a devastating blow to a side that generally relies on set-pieces and agricultural endeavour for goals.

They’re certainly capable of scrambling at least one goal from somewhere if needed, especially with the kind of physical approach they bring to dead ball situations. 5/4 looks a reasonable price for it.

Soccer Football – 2018 World Cup Qualifications – Europe – Republic of Ireland vs Denmark – Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland – November 14, 2017 Republic of Ireland’s Shane Duffy scores their first goal REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Anytime Goalscorer: Shane Duffy – 16/1

Which bring us to our last pick. The Brighton centre half bagged a goal for Brighton in their pulsating win over United.

He has two goals at international level, one in the 5-1 playoff defeat, and another against Georgia earlier in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

He is a mainstay of the Irish defence now and looks a dominant presence whenever the team lines up for corners or free-kicks.

Frankly, we’re surprised the price isn’t shorter here. The 45/1 on him to open the scoring is also tempting, but we’ll take the safer play on a juicily priced anytime punt for the big man to smash one home and give Ireland something to cling to in what should be a difficult away day trip to Cardiff.

*All odds correct at time of posting

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