Dave Tindall previews Friday night's Euro 2020 qualifier between the Czech Republic and England where he's backing an entertaining win for Gareth Southgate's men...
"Quite rightly, Southgate has focused on the strength of the team and that's the forward players. It means, England look ripe to outscore teams in goal-laden contests rather than win to nil."
Czech Republic v England
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Czechs face battle to stay second
It's been boom or bust so far for the Czech Republic in Group A.
They've lost, heavily, to England at Wembley and, perhaps more crucially, suffered defeat at the hands of Kosovo, their main rivals for second place.
On the plus side, they've won home and away - 3-0 both times - against Montenegro and come from a goal down to sink visitors Bulgaria 2-1.
Those three wins and two defeats put them a point above Kosovo although they'll do well to still be there by next week with Kosovo hosting Montenegro on Monday night while the Czechs sit it out until mid-November.
The positive spin is that they can join England on 12 points with victory in Prague.
Surprisingly, it's the first time the Czechs have hosted England since March 1992 (as Czechoslovakia), in a 2-2 friendly draw in Prague.
England can take complete control
Three points clear and with a game in hand, this is a golden chance for England to virtually put Group A to bed.
In terms of results, it's been perfect so far from Gareth Southgate's men.
They kicked the group off with a 5-0 thumping of the Czechs at Wembley, also stuck five past Montenegro in their first away game, eased to a 4-0 home win over Bulgaria and then beat Kosovo in a crazy, Liverpool v RB Salzburg-style clash, racing into a 5-1 lead before being pegged back to 5-3.
Add it all up and they've smashed in 19 goals at an average of just under five per game.
For history buffs, England's only competitive away game against the Czechs ended in 2-1 defeat. That was in 1975 with Don Revie in charge. The win helped Czechoslovakia top the group and the following summer they beat Germany in the Euro 76 final thanks to Antonín Panenka's now much-copied dinked penalty in the shootout.
Visitors fancied to march on
Eleven English blokes in Prague on a Friday night... what could possibly go wrong?
Not a lot (on the pitch at least) according to the market, with England just [1.48] to bank another three points.
Czech Republic are [8.0] to pull off a shock while The Draw is [4.8].
The hosts have won their last three competitive matches at home when adding in World Cup qualifiers but a quick check of their opponents shows that the trio of defeated teams were San Marino, Bulgaria and Montenegro.
Any time they've played anyone decent, they've lost - 3-1 v Brazil in March, 2-1 to Ukraine in 2018 and 2-1 to Germany in 2017.
England should win this but there are better ways to play them.
England can outscore Czechs
As shown by those tougher fixtures, the Czechs do at least have a goal in them. In fact, they've scored in each of their last 10 home games.
England have played out a couple of 0-0s since the 2018 World Cup but the goalless draw in Croatia took place behind closed doors in a weird atmosphere.
In their other three away games, they've conceded twice in Spain, once in Montenegro and three times in the Netherlands.
With goalkeeper Jordan Pickford letting in plenty for Everton, England don't exactly smack of a watertight unit and conceding three at home to Kosovo was evidence of that.
Quite rightly, Southgate has focused on the strength of the team and that's the forward players.
It means, England look ripe to outscore teams in goal-laden contests rather than win to nil.
The way to play that is to head to the Match Odds and Both team to Score market and back England/Yes at [3.4].
This looks more appealing than the basic Both Teams to Score price of [2.04].
Be brave with goal bets
The basic Over 2.5 goals quote of [1.83] doesn't scream of value but it could pay to go a goal higher and take Over 3.5 at [3.15].
The argument is a simple one: goal make-ups in England's last six matches are 8, 4, 0, 2, 6, 5 so it's landed in four out of six.
Since Czech Republic lost 5-0 to England at Wembley, all five of their games have featured at least three goals so latest form suggests four or more has a very decent chance of landing.
Trio stand out
World Cup 2018 Golden Boot winner Harry Kane has continued on his merry way in terms of England goals, scoring six in the four qualifiers so far.
But it's the transformation in Raheem Sterling that has stood out most. How's this for contrast: Sterling scored just twice in his first 45 games for England; he's now netted eight in his last eight.
Like Kane, Sterling has six in this qualifying campaign so, given that parity, you'd rather back the Manchester City man than the Spurs skipper. Sterling is [2.26] to score while Kane is just [1.8] so Raheem the goalscoring machine is the one to play.
In-form duo Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson add to England's goal threat but they're likely to start on the bench, compromising the appeal of their 'to score' odds which are [2.1] and [2.4] respectively.
But Czech Republic have a good candidate too.
Patrick Schick has scored four in four for his country and is [4.5] for another. On the face of it, that's surely a bit of value.
However, Schick managed just one goal in his final 13 games for Roma last season and they've since farmed him out on loan to RB Leipzig.
He's played just once for the German side this season, coming off the bench in the 63rd-minute at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. That lack of game time and goals domestically reduces his appeal unless he's the new Milan Baros and scores freely for his country but not for his club.
England are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia, winning five and drawing two.
Dave Tindall's P/L, 2019/20
2pts England to win and Both teams to Score at [3.4]
2pts Raheem Sterling to Score at [2.26]