ON PAPER, tonight’s Group B qualifier between joint leaders Wales and Belgium in Cardiff appears to be something of a mismatch.
The visitors are ranked second in the world, were 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists, and haven’t lost to their hosts in five encounters.
However, while Belgium should still be fancied, Wales are in fine form, having lost just one of their last 10 matches. They go into the game level on points with Belgium, separated only by goal difference, as they look to qualify for their first major tournament since 1958.
The side may be depleted by injuries, and have players lacking in recent competitive match practice, but they’ll be buoyed by the inclusion of Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey alongside talismanic captain Gareth Bale, who wins his 50th cap tonight.
Real Madrid’s under-fire forward has ‘only’ scored 17 goals this season from his wide left position but looks happier in the red of the land of his birth, with four goals in his last five international appearances.
Belgium have form of their own, unbeaten in eight matches since their World Cup defeat to Argentina, having scored three or more goals in half of those games.
They’ll be without midfielder Marouane Fellaini and stalwart captain Vincent Kompany which, as shown by the three goals they leaked in last Sunday’s 4-3 victory over France, will leave them vulnerable at the back.
That said, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and Chelsea’s double Player of the Year Eden Hazard should provide enough of a threat to see them through.
At 8/11 with Betway the visitors are big favourites and should be backed to claim a victory that would open up a gap at the summit of the pool.
The draw is offered at 5/2 and Wales are available at around the 4/1 mark.
Considering all the attacking talent on display it could be worth backing there to be goals for anyone looking for a longer-odds bet.
My money is on a 2-1 away win, which Betway have chalked up at 8/1.
That outcome would be enough to profit from a buy of total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index and our returns would be even higher if there are any more scored.
Belgium to win at 8/11 with Betway
Belgium to win 2-1 at 8/1 with Betway
Buy total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index