PRICE BOOSTS MAX BET £10
Northern Ireland have seen their form tail off and since a narrow 1-0 win hosting minnows Luxembourg in September last year, they’ve gone just W1-D3-L6 over 90 minutes. However, it’s worth noting that their qualification group featured heavyweights Germany and the Netherlands, against whom they lost three of four winless games.
Slovakia have hardly been in inspired form themselves and replaced Pavel Hapal with caretaker Stefan Tarkovic after the last international break. They’ve now gone W1-D4-L4 over the past 13 months, as the only side they could beat in normal time were Azerbaijan on home turf.
The nearest to a heavyweight encounter they had came in a 3-1 defeat away to Croatia, though the 2018 World Cup finalists aren’t quite the same team anymore with multiple key players either growing old or having retired in the wake of that tournament.
Multibet 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 Northern Ireland Win
Slovakia typically enjoy much better results on home turf, whereas they’re only W2-D2-L8 in away fixtures since September 2017, as the victories come over Azerbaijan and Hungary.
That encourages us to swing behind the hosts, who have actually won 14 of 18 matches in Belfast since October 2015 when excluding visits from top sides Germany, Croatia, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Nine of those games finished with the hosts winning either 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, and with a fairly low-scoring affair expected, the multibet provides a better alternative to the straight match outcome.
0-0 HT Score
Ian Baraclough took charge of Northern Ireland in August, but the DNA of this side remains very much unaltered from Michael O’Neill’s spell in the dugout and with few goalscorers in the squad, low-scoring encounters should continue.
As ever, the bookmakers don’t expect a high output in Northern Ireland’s games, but there could be some value unearthed backing the half time draw.
That’s occurred in 15 of Northern Ireland’s last 26 matches now at any venue now, with 13 of these games goalless at that stage, while they’ve been level at the break in 10 of their last 15 wins on home turf.
Corry Evans may be ruled out through injury, but the rest of their core players are available. Meanwhile, with the squad averaging 32.7 caps per player, this isn’t a team that lacks experience and can be expected to rise to the big occasion as they’ve often done in recent years.