World Cup European Qualifiers Matchday 2 Odds & Picks


World Cup

Scotland’s Ryan Christie, left, fights for the ball with Israel’s Sheran Yeini during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Israel and Scotland in Netanya, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • World Cup qualifying continues in Europe on Sunday, with a full slate of 13 games promising a mixture of David-vs-Goliath mismatches and competitive middle-of-the-pack contests
  • One balanced matchup to watch will be in Tel Aviv, where familiar foes Israel and Scotland collide with both searching for their first win of qualifying
  • Get all the odds and best bets for World Cup Qualifying in Europe on Sunday below

The international break continues in Europe, with a full slate of games over the weekend offering a wide range of betting opportunities.

Feel like risking it on an Over/Under? Austria’s mismatch at home against the Faroe Islands is offering plus money (+102) for the Over 3.5, when the latter averaged 4.00+ goals against the last time it faced decent competition in the past cycle of EURO qualifying.

Those sorts of one-sided affairs — England at Albania, Denmark vs Moldova, etc. — offer some value in prop bets, while somewhat closer contests like Armenia vs Iceland could entice bettors to look at underdog plays.

Israel vs Scotland is the most even matchup of the day, and the only one bookmakers are seeing as a true pick’em.

UEFA World Cup Qualifying – March 28 Odds

Matchup Home Draw Away
Kazakhstan vs France +1600 +750 -770
Albania vs England +1000 +410 -345
Georgia vs Spain +1300 +525 -500
Denmark vs Moldova -3335 +1400 +4000
Armenia vs Iceland +320 +185 +112
Romania vs Germany +750 +380 -286
Bulgaria vs Italy +1200 +525 -480
Kosovo vs Sweden +510 +275 -175
Ukraine vs Finland -150 +245 +460
Switzerland vs Lithuania -3335 +1400 +4000
Austria vs Faroe Islands -3335 +1300 +4000
North Macedonia vs Liechtenstein -835 +700 +2000
Israel vs Scotland +188 +210 +155

All odds taken Mar 26 at DraftKings

Armenia vs Iceland Prediction

While Armenia is hardly a world-beater — recent results include 1-0 wins over North Macedonia and Liechtenstein — Iceland is in a horrid run of form entering Sunday’s game in Yerevan.

Arnar Viðarsson’s side has lost six matches on the trot, all against quality competition (Germany, England, Denmark, Hungary, Belgium).

Former Sevilla manager Joaquin Caparros is in charge of Armenia, which is undefeated in six (4-2-0) since a 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in his managerial debut.

On paper it’s a mismatch — the bulk of Armenia’s team plays in its weak domestic league, while nearly the entire Iceland squad plies its trade in top-20 leagues around the world — but qualifying is a funny thing and this will be Caparros’ first test against clearly stronger opposition.

Taking the hosts with draw no bet (DNB) protection at +163 seems like a reasonable gamble; Armenia or Draw is tabbed at a less-attractive -148.

Pick: Armenia DNB (+163)

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Bulgaria vs Italy Prediction

Qualification prospects are not looking good for Bulgaria entering its Matchday 2 visit from Italy on Sunday.

Yasen Petrov’s side fell 3-1 at home against Switzerland to open Group C play, and face a challenging trip to Northern Ireland three days after the clash with the Azzurri — who are 1-0-0 following a steady 2-0 win over that same Northern Irish side to begin their schedule.

The head-to-head history has not been overly kind to Bulgaria, which is winless in seven matches (0-3-4) against Italy.

However, the two have not played since 2015 and Sunday’s hosts have actually drawn the last three matches on home turf versus Italy.

Roberto Mancini’s men have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six outings, and Bulgaria has been shut out in three of its last four against quality opposition. Consider the ‘Under’ play, as Italy is very capable of locking down a steady one- or two-goal win.

Pick: Under 2.5 (+135)

Israel vs Scotland Prediction

There is plenty of recent history between Israel and Scotland ahead of their Group F clash in Tel Aviv on Sunday, with three meetings last year across UEFA Nations League and the EURO playoff.

Israel scored a 1-0 win on home turf over the Scots in Nations League play, while the two meetings in Scotland both ended in draws (1-1, 0-0) — with the latter advancing on penalties to the main tournament.

Off the top, it’s clear the Under 2.5 (-177) is a near-given.

 

Additionally, Israel will especially be feeling pressure to earn a result; a 2-0 home defeat to Denmark to begin group play has left Willi Ruttensteiner’s side in desperate need of results if it’s to finish in the top two of a very difficult group.

Scotland’s 2-2 draw at home against Austria isn’t disastrous, and Steve Clarke’s side would do well to earn a point in Israel — and have two points from two matches — ahead of a sitter at home against the Faroes next Wednesday.

With the hosts tipped as slight underdogs despite having beaten the Scots at home just five months ago, consider the value offered by the draw.

Pick: Draw (+210)

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Carlos Verde

Soccer Sports Writer

Soccer