Sports Betting Weekly

Ireland v Poland

When: Monday, 30 March 2015 @ 00:45 (FINISHED)
Where: Aviva Stadium
Having beaten Georgia, thrashed Gibraltar, drawn in Germany and lost to Scotland, it’s fair to say Euro 2016 qualifying has been a largely positive experience for Ireland so far and – that one slip up at Celtic Park aside – Martin O’Neill will be very pleased with how his side have performed.

The boys in green will face another stern test on Sunday as high-flying Poland visit the Aviva Stadium and – with Scotland playing Gibraltar three hours earlier – it looks highly likely that it will be one that they need to pass in order to stay in the hunt in what has been an incredibly competitive group.

Of course, this will be easier said than done against a Poland side who are currently Europe’s top scorers in qualifying with an impressive 15 goals from their four games– including two in an exceptional win over world champions, Germany – and the bookies odds certainly seem to reflect just how big a task O’Neill’s side have on their hands if they’re to derail the Group D leaders here.

Indeed, despite the Irish boasting home advantage, there is very little to separate the two sides in the outright winners’ market, with the hosts priced as slight favourites at 29/10 and the visitors not far behind at 9/4. In truth those odds may flatter Ireland somewhat against a side who have not lost a game in qualifying and boast a goal difference of +13, so if we are to find some value in this fixture we may have to put our home nations bias to one side and enjoy those artificially long odds instead.

If you can’t stomach betting against the Irish, the draw is available at 23/10 and 1-1 is actually the bookmakers’ favourite scoreline at 5/1, but it really does look as though they’ve misstepped in their evaluation of the Poles, who are as big as 18/5 to win to nil – something they have done in each of their three Group D victories so far. That said, with Ireland notching 10 goals in qualifying themselves, this could be an open encounter and you may be better placed backing Poland to edge it 2-1 at 12/1.

Somewhat predictably, the bookmakers have also plumped for Robert Lewandowski as their favourite first scorer option for the visitors despite the incredible form of strike partner, Arkadiusz Milik. True, the 11/2 priced Bayern Munich man does lead his compatriot by four strikes to three in qualifying, but all four of his goals came in the 7-0 demolition of Gibraltar. Milik, meanwhile, is priced at longer odds of 7/1 but has scored in each of Poland’s last three games against superior opposition, making him far and away the stronger pick and the better value option in this market.

Similarly, Robbie Keane is deemed the best option for the hosts at 5/1, but again these numbers seem to have been shortened by his hat-trick against Gibraltar. Both Aiden McGeady and James McClean have two strikes to their name in qualifying and odds of 11/1 and 12/1 present far more intriguing propositions, so don’t be afraid to push the boat out and look beyond the favourites here.