Steve Clarke’s men go back on track with a 1-0 win over Moldova in their last outing, leaving their hopes of a second placed finish very much alive, and avoiding defeat here will be viewed as another step closer with Austria currently one point behind them in fourth.
The Austrians haven’t been up to par so far in this group, going winless up against the three sides currently above them in the table (Denmark, Israel, and Scotland) and conceding a whopping 11 goals across those three games, though we wouldn’t expect this to be a net-bulging thriller with nine of those coming against Denmark and Israel, while the Scots are having some serious difficulties in front of goal lately.
Indeed, Steve Clarke’s men have scored just one or fewer in 13 of their last 16 outings, managing just two across their last five alone and that lack of prolificacy could be the main hindrance to them reaching their first World Cup since the turn of the century.
While Austria were torn apart by Israel at the weekend, that was out of character for what is usually a pretty solid defensive unit.
They came into that fixture off the back of three successive clean sheets over 90 minutes which included games against Ukraine and Euro Champions Italy.
It was just four goals conceded in seven prior to the weekend, and we’re inclined to put that down as an anomaly rather than a changing trend.
Under 2.5 Goals
The main thorn in Austria’s side here is the absence of Sasa Kalajdzic who is set to miss the rest of the calendar year after having surgery on his shoulder.
That means that aside from veterans Marko Arnautovic and David Alaba, no one has more than six goals for Austria and that lack of output could potentially spell a low scorer here.
Likewise, John McGinn is Scotland’s top scorer in the current squad with 10, while no one else has any more than half of that tally.
Billy Gilmour was impressive against Moldova, with much of the hosts’ attacking threat at the weekend coming via the Chelsea loanee, though until there’s a proven record of the attacking players capitalising on those chances, an unders bet on the goals market looks the right play.
While the reverse fixture finished two apiece, four of the previous five head-to-heads have seen ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ land, while that recent outing looks set to be another low-scoring stale affair (with the game goalless 10-minutes into the second half), before three goals in the final 20 minutes put some gloss on the scoreline.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS