Expect England to beat Israel but do
not bet on a high-scoring game
The early money ahead of England's
Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel has come for the home side, with Ladbrokes
reporting brisk business since they issued match prices this week. "All the
money, as you'd expect, has been for England" said their spokesman Robin
What punters have to work out, though, is whether Steve
McClaren's side are a value bet at Blue Square and VC Bet's standout offer of
4-11. Boyle Sports and Paddy Power are biggest about the draw at 7-2 while
Israel can be backed at 10-1 with Betfred and Power.
Bookmakers always offer artificially short
prices about England as they know patriotic punters will back them at any
price, although they do believe top spot in Group E is probably beyond them.
England are 7-2 with Sky Bet to win their section, behind Croatia, the
8...#8209;11 favourites (Stan James and Totesport).
McClaren's time as
coach could be up if England fail to win. Ladbrokes offer 8-13 he will be in
charge of England at the start of the finals with Fabio Capello and Terry
Venables 6-1 joint favourites to take over. William Hill make England 4-7 to
qualify for the finals next summer and 5-4 they miss out. Betfred and
Sportingbet are best about them winning at 10-1.
England should win
tomorrow but it will not be easy as Israel are unbeaten on their travels in
qualification so far. They will be tough to break down and will play for a
draw. While they might not get it, I can see them holding England until
half-time at least. In seven qualifiers so far, England have gone into the
break all square on five occasions, which suggests the 7-4 Betfred are offering
about a draw after 45 minutes is a value punt. Those that still believe
McClaren's side will prevail could back draw/England on the half-time/full-time
double result market at a general 7-2.
The lack of options up front
should also worry England backers. The inclusion of Emile Heskey after three
years away has prompted plenty of special bets. Ladbrokes reckon his recall is
a short-term fix, as they quote 11-4 he will reach 50 caps and 1-4 he does not
(he currently has 43). Ladbrokes also offer 7-4 he scores once in the games
against Israel and Russia, 9-1 twice and 14-1 three or more. Heskey is a best-
price 7-1 with Coral and Sky Bet to score the first goal of the game, with
Michael Owen the general 4-1 favourite.
However, as there are question
marks over the form, fitness or quality of all of England's available strikers,
it might pay to look elsewhere in this market. Therefore, a speculative
interest on John Terry to score first at 20-1 with Betfred is the advice. It is
possible England's best chance of scoring against Israel will come from a set
piece and the Chelsea defender is always a threat from corners. Back him
each-way, meaning you get paid at half odds if he scores the second or third
Admittedly, it is unlikely England will score three times - Power
will lay you 7-2 they do - as goals have been scarce recently. Sportingbet
offer 9-10 about fewer than three goals in the match and that looks a value
play. Take out the two games against Andorra and England's qualifiers average
just over a goal a game (six in five fixtures). Israel's 0-0 home draw with
England should be a pointer. Spread bettors are advised to sell total goals in
the match with Sporting Index at 2.5.
Sell total goals in the
match with Sporting Index at 2.5. (click above - Sporting Index)