With our Top Soccer Matches of the Week focusing on CONCACAF and CONMEBOL and the final round of those qualifying matches being so compact the value for this week is in UEFA World Cup Qualifying, while there aren’t many good games from a group stages standpoint there are a couple games that are valuable from a betting point of view.
UEFA WCQ: Serbia vs. Croatia (FK Crvena Zveda) – Friday September 6, 2013
We kick-off our look at Value Matches of the Week with a Baltic rivalry from Group A, as although the group is all but decided with only positioning between group leaders Belgium and Croatia there is no love lost between these two sides and there is always something to play at stake. Serbia are a talented side that have the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Neven Subotic, Aleksander Kolarov and Matija Nastasic as part of a solid defensive unit, however where they are lacking is in scoring punch with a young attack led by Benfica trio of Filip Dricic, Miralem Sulejmani and Lazar Markovic. On the other hand Croatia`s main strength is in its attack, led by Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric as well as Bayern Munich forwards Mario Mandzukic they are poised to qualify and the only battle for them will be whether they finish first and qualify automatically or go into the playoffs as runners up.
This is a tough one to call for the simple fact that it`s a rivalry that tends to get heated, however I`m leaning towards Croatia in a close game away from home with a superior attacking unit.
Prediction: Croatia ML (+165)
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UEFA WCQ: Rep. of Ireland vs. Sweden (Aviva Stadium) – Friday September 6, 2013
The other rather interesting game from Group C is a battle for the runner up place, Germany are clear group winners but Austria, Sweden and Ireland are all knotted on 11 points. This is really a battle between two of the more well-known forwards in soccer, as the LA Galaxy`s Robbie Keane goes toe-to-toe against PSG`s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. For Ireland to be successful Coach Giovanni Trappattoni will need his defensive unit to stand strong and for goalkeeper Keiren Westwood to organize his group against good Swedish attack. Outside of Ibrahimovic they do have midfielders Sebastian Larsson and Kim Kallstrom as well as forward Johan Elmander to lean on for extra help. There are many familiar names on this Irish squad for those into English soccer, a few young players worth keeping an eye on are Hull City midfielder Robbie Brady and Everton fullback Seamus Coleman.
I`m going with the OVER in this match, with Austria playing Germany this is a golden opportunity for either club to get a leg up on the others for a qualification place and although Ireland will be more focused on defending both will be pushing for goals at times.
Prediction: OVER 2.5 (+110)
Until next week, I hope you sit back, relax and enjoy the games!