Best bets for international friendlies

Andorra v Republic of Ireland
Thursday June 3, 17:00
Live On Sky Sports

Being a Republic of Ireland fan hasn’t been much fun recently, with defeats in the March World Cup qualifiers, including one at home to Luxembourg. Stephen Kenny must win this friendly against Andorra for the sake of his players’ confidence and his future as manager.

Daniel McDonnell says: “For some punters, the recreational angle for this game could be to look at the Irish goalscorers market. Two names stand out here as attractive options, especially if Andorra sit off and ask Ireland to break them down in dead ball situations.

“St Mirren’s Jamie McGrath is a new call who arrives after scoring 17 goals in the Scottish top flight this season. His status as the penalty kick taker inflated his total but Kenny knows him well from their time together with Dundalk in the League of Ireland and McGrath should get the opportunity to impress here.

“It’s the type of game where Ireland need a playmaker. He’s 6/1 in the first and last goalscorer markets but the 7/4 about the debutant scoring anytime could be a play.”

Daniel’s bet: Back Jamie McGrath Anytime Goalscorer @ 2.757/4

Ukraine v Northern Ireland
Thursday 3 June, 19:00
Live on Sky Sports

Ian Baraclough got off the mark as Northern Ireland manager on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Malta. Having take 12 matches to claim his first victory he’d love to get another when his side travel to Ukraine on Thursday.

Paul Robinson says: “Ukraine are the odds-on favourites for this friendly, with their price hovering around the 1.664/6 mark on the Betfair Exchange.

“But that’s quite short given Ukraine’s recent win record, and it appears that they reserve their best displays for the better teams.

“If you think that victories will be like busses for Northern Ireland, then you can take some of the 7.613/2 on the away win, but I just don’t see it personally.

shevchenko ukraine.jpg

The draw is a tempter at 3.55/2 though, as the match features two teams who don’t score many goals. There is also the potential that the Ukraine won’t want to bust a gut, ahead of the Euros.

Paul’s bet: Back The Draw @ 3.55/2

Belgium 1.261/4 v Greece 11.521/2; The Draw 7.06/1
Thursday 3 June, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Red Button

Belgium should be one of the leading contenders at Euro 2020 and in Romelu Lukaku they have a striker who’s 6/1 to be tournament top goalscorer. This Thursday night friendly against Greece should allow Roberto Martinez to finalise his plans and potentially look at replacements in case Kevin de Bruyne doesn’t recover from his injuries in time.

Dan Fitch says: “Greece should provide a good test for Belgium, ahead of the tournament. They are in Group B alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Roberto Martinez Belgium 1280.JPG

“Roberto Martinez’s men have showed very consistent form since the last World Cup, where they finished third, having only lost two of their last 27 matches (W22 D3). Greece cannot compete with that record, but they have only lost one of their last 14 games (W8 D5).

“It’s fair to say that aside from a match against Spain, which Greece drew 1-1, their level of opponent has been far from the quality that they can expect to find against Belgium. Of the 22 games that Belgium have won since the last World Cup, they have been ahead at half-time in 18 of them.

Dan’s bet: Back Belgium to beat Greece half-time/full-time at 1.84/5