Sometimes in the final knockings of a qualification group, you can’t just jump at the obvious, well-touted markets. For example, backing a match like this where there are so many variables in attitude does not lend kindly to the win-draw-win selection.
What you need to remember is that the motivation for these games is effectively zero, and that applies to this game especially. Scotland cannot qualify directly, and they’re already pencilled-in for the playoffs. What this means is that the Scots will take a nice little holiday to warmer climates – albeit every single climate this side of Irkutsk is nicer than Scotland’s – and focus on everything other than a dead rubber match.
Similarly for the Cypriots – home pride is hardly a big catalyst. Their games aren’t well-attended, and their home record in this campaign thus far can boast just a win over San Marino. Neither of these teams will be going hammer and tongs, and I can assure you – this is one I’d probably keep track of on an app rather than tuning in.
Let’s dispel a myth nice and early here: Baku is not a ‘tough place to go’.
Baku is on the Caspian Sea. Here are some countries that are closer to Cardiff than Baku is: Turkey, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia. It’s nearly a thousand kilometres beyond Moscow. The primary reason teams struggle in ‘Eastern Europe’ is because they underestimate the climate, time and logistical differences.
Gareth Bale and co are going half way around the world for this game – there’ll be no let-up. Also, were you aware that the only competitive home games that Azerbaijan have won in a competitive environment since 2016 are against San Marino and the Faroe Islands?
You just want a nice little top-up at low risk for your treble, don’t you?
This is the ideal case and I firmly believe, despite the lowly four points between them in the table, there is easily a gulf separating the sides. In fact we saw that in Bratislava when Croatia slapped them 4-0 and rode back home in relative comfort. An extra saving grace here, apart from the obvious home-field advantage, is that Croatia haven’t confirmed automatic qualification yet.
- Cyprus v Scotland – Both Teams to Score: No (17/20)
- Azerbaijan v Wales – Wales to Win to Nil (11/10)
- Croatia v Slovakia – Croatia to Win (4/11)
A winning £/€1 treble on these selections returns £/€5.30 including stake on pp.com. Odds correct at time of posting, subject to change.