The Betting Corner: Should You Bet On Friendly Matches?
Again the cut and thrust of the Premier League takes a break, as international teams slug it out in a series of friendlies over the next week. There's plenty of value to be found in international football, and we'll guide you through some of the best bets you should be considering among Tuesday's games.
Russia vs. Croatia
The past few games, except for a 1-0 defeat to eventual Euro 2016 group winners Austria, has been pretty good for Russia. The negativity of the Fabio Capello era seems to have been dispelled, and after a shaky early part of the qualifying campaign, the team in red made it through to the Euro finals in second place.
Croatia, like Russia, scraped through with a win in the final qualifying game, although a 1-0 victory over Malta should not imply superiority. Even though things have not gone entirely the Balkan nation's way during qualifying, it's indisputable that the squad boasted by the visiting side is among the most talented in Europe, with Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic among the players who are enjoyable to watch, and born winners.
This friendly will be a chance for both teams to solidify their strongest teams for the road ahead, and we expect a draw, probably low-scoring, in the Russian cold. BetVictor has 85/40 for a stalemate.
England vs. France
England, like a kind of footballing Klitschko brother, has sailed through Euro 2016 qualifying with a perfect points record thanks to only playing pushovers, with the possible exception of a Switzerland team that actually did better than England at the last World Cup.
For this reason, many skeptical fans look to the match against France, a legitimately strong side with excellent ball players throughout the lineup, with a sense of fear. How this game unfolds will be down to several factors, notably how tired England's Premier League players are, as they look to conserve their limbs for club duty, and how well the France side copes without Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena after the shock of their blackmail and sex-tape scandal.
Given that France still has quality players like Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, and Manchester United sensation Anthony Martial in its squad, a bet on a win for the well-rested Euro 2016 host nation seems appealing. 2/1 with Unibet says the result will go that way, while a two-goal winning margin either way is 3/1 with Betway.
Germany vs. Netherlands
Not since before the 1970s has a German side gone into a match against the Netherlands such a strong favorite. It's not hard to see why, the World Cup winners having had a relatively smooth path through Euro 2016 qualifying, while the Dutch tanked in their group, with calamitous results including a 3-0 away defeat to Turkey, the country in which playmaker Wesley Sneijder plays.
That said, Dutch coach Danny Blind will use this game to remodel a team that was showing its age in qualifying, and we may see a start for Wolfsburg striker Bas Dost, reckoned by many to be a better option to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie up front.
You can get almost anomalously high odds for a Dutch friendly win against Germany, and Unibet's 4/1, along with 5/2 with BetVictor for a Draw No Bet on the Netherlands, are good-value odds.