England host Ukraine at Wembley in their World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday and we bring to you our match preview complete with the best betting odds and betting prediction for the fixture.
England 2/5 (Bet Victor – see their sign up offer)
Draw 19/5 (Boylesports – see their sign up offer)
Ukraine 19/2 (Betfair – see their sign up offer)
The reverse fixture of England's last group stage encounter at Euro 2012, and the reverse of my last group stage tipping piece for www.thatsagoal.com, but things are a little different this time around. For a start we're at Wembley as opposed to the Donbass. Secondly, this is a qualifier as opposed to a tournament game, and lastly, no Shevchenko and no Rooney (yes pedants, I know it was technically a home game for England at Euro 2012 and therefore most definitely not the reverse of this fixture, but the fact remains it was in freakin' Ukraine, okay?)
Last time out I had Rooney first at 11/2 and England to win at 6/5 right. Shevchenko any time was a loser, but hey, my name isn't Biff Tannen.
This time the Ukrainians will be much more compact, looking to hit the Three Lions on the break or exploit a set piece, and this could lead to a cagey, low scoring game – how many times have we seen England toil to break down well drilled, technically sound sides who can play with some real discipline?
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Ukraine have one only two of their last six games (three Euro 2012 group games and three friendlies) scoring only four and conceding eight. When you consider that one of these wins was against Austria and the other was in their long awaited home opener at their Euro championships against a slow starting Sweden, it's easy to see why the bookies have England as super short best priced 2/5 jollies. But we've been here before, haven't we? England overwhelming favourites in a game that matters against a side who whilst not in form are by no means mugs. The bookies, not to put too fine a point on it, can do one.
So if we're not joining the hordes of patriotic mugs and ballsy high rollers in a wade into England at miserly prices, what are we going to have a punt on boys and girls? Well, after I recoiled from England 2/5 like a scrotum kissed by the Baltic waters of the North Sea off Skeggy beach, the first price I went a-hunting for was Super Frankie Lampard to score first. Penalty duties plus his brace against Moldova make him worth a little wager, especially at the 6/1 on offer from the Magic Sign. Always nice taking Ladbrokes' dough too.
Elsewhere I think we can profit from Stan James' 20/21 for under 2.5 goals. As I've already mentioned, shorn of their talismanic goal threat in Serie A legend Andriy Shevchenko and playing far from home, I think Ukraine will be more concerned with silencing the Wembley crowd than putting their collective best foot forward, and we certainly won't see the goalfest we saw against Moldova.
Frank Lampard to score first 6/1 Ladbrokes (sign up with promo code FB50 here for a free £50 bet)
Under 2.5 goals 20/21 Stan James (bet £10 here, get a free £10 bet)