Sports Betting Weekly

Israel v Wales

When: Saturday, 28 March 2015 @ 22:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Sammy Ofer Stadium
While England’s progression from Group E is viewed by most as little more than a formality, over in Group B things are a lot more open, with the top three teams separated by just three points – and they may be closer still by the end of Saturday as second-placed Wales take on Israel in Haifa.

With the hosts taking maximum points from their three games so far, Eli Guttman’s team currently sit top of the table with a game in hand over this weekend’s visitors, but they’ll need to see off the Welsh to stand a chance of progression as that spare game will be against group favourites, Belgium.

For Wales, meanwhile, a win will extend their unbeaten start to Group B, put them top of the table on 11 points – a tally that would represent a fantastic achievement given they’ve already travelled to Brussels to face the Belgians in their trickiest away assignment – and would also hand them a crucial advantage against an Israel side that are expected to be one of their main rivals for a runner-up spot.

Unfortunately for Chris Coleman’s side, the Israelis are no slouches on home soil and the bookmakers have highlighted this fact by naming them as 20/21 favourites for the clash. The visitors, meanwhile, are viewed as outsiders at a best price of 17/5, with the draw – a result that would be of far more use to Wales than it is to Israel – priced somewhere between the two at odds of 5/2.

Much like England and Lithuania, the two teams have never met in European qualifying, making it impossible to draw on any head-to-head history to guide our betting – but what is obvious from the group is that both sides have been in fine defensive form, having conceded just two goals apiece.

Wales were particularly impressive as they held the Belgians to a 0-0 draw in their previous game, and if you fancy them to again stifle a Group B rival on their travels, you can get 7/1 on the game finishing goalless. True, the Israelis stuck three past Bosnia-Herzegovina in their only other home qualifier last time out, but in Coleman’s side they’ll face a more organised opponent and it looks unlikely the game will feature more than 2.5 goals (8/13) or be decided by more than one either way (5/4).

In terms of identifying the main threat in either side, the player Coleman will undoubtedly be briefing his troops about is the dangerous Omer Damari. The RB Leipzig striker has notched five times in three games – including a hat-trick against Andorra – and is the favourite to open the scoring for his side at 9/2. Unsurprisingly, Gareth Bale is seen as the man most likely for the visitors having scored half of his team’s goals in qualifying so far – and you can get a decent-looking 6/1 on the Real Madrid man finding the net first or a safer 23/10 on him scoring at any point in the match.