Stats signpost an England win
Fifty-two. That is the number of goals England have scored in their last 20 fixtures, a figure that equates to 2.6 per game and compares favourably with the best and most feared international sides in world football. Add 14 clean sheets kept during that period and unquestionably this is a squad in great shape and consistently fine form under the scholarly charge of Gareth Southgate.
Coincidentally, 52 is also roughly the amount of times in the days to come that we will be shown Paul Gascoigne's magnificent individual effort that downed Scotland all those summers back and why the heck not? For one thing, how can anyone tire of witnessing such impudence? For another, it's quite eerie how this Friday's clash between England and Scotland - the oldest international fixture in the world - corresponds with that memorable evening in 1996. It features the same two nations, at the same venue, at the same stage of the Euros and it was 25 years ago this week.
Still, nostalgia is not what it used to be and has little place here save for a couple of historical quirks that may - or may not - be relevant. Scotland have only triumphed south of the border once in the past 30 years while none of the previous 32 encounters in North London between these feisty neighbours have ended goalless.
A stale-mate? No, mate
It's hard to believe that this latest all-British dust-up will buck that trend even though Scotland are expected to construct a replica of Hadrian's Wall in front of David Marshall for the duration.
An England breakthrough will change the game's narrative very quickly because a second loss inside a week will almost definitely end the Scot's Euro adventure. More so, do not under-estimate the immense pride of the players coming up against the 'Auld Enemy'.
It is pertinent therefore to factor in that the Three Lions have an admirable track-record in breaking down two-tiered defences. On the last nine occasions they have come up against sides ranked beyond 40th in the world - as Scotland are - Kane and co have accrued an aggregate score-line of 33-0. If we round that up to a nice, neat ten we include the 5-3 victory over Kosovo two years ago that saw the underdogs score inside a minute then attempt to shut up shop, only for England to blast five past them before the break.
It's also worth noting that this is a meeting that typically produces goals, certainly in recent times. Their last four encounters have averaged four per game.
Backing over 2.5 goals at 17/20 won't buy you a villa in Tuscany but it is a highly likely event that will almost double your money. That makes it a solid, sensible bet.
Maguire isn't a must
Understandable as it may be, there is a danger of getting too caught up in this game's story. After all, this is England v Scotland in a major tournament. A passionate and parochial clash set on the world stage.
What should not be overlooked however, is just how good England are right now and - bluntly speaking - how superior they are to their opponents.
With seven consecutive victories under their belt, Southgate's side are enjoying their longest winning streak since 2015 and it is becoming increasingly clear they possess a versatility in style and approach that has resulted in them comfortably seeing off minnows while controlling proceedings against their immediate peers. The manner in which Luka Modric was neutralised in their tournament opener was close to a tactical masterclass.
Up front, a plethora of exciting young talent fizz around the prolific totem of Kane and their raids are built on solid foundations. England have not conceded now for 697 minutes, and for four-and-a-half hours of this prolonged period have been impenetrable minus their influential stopper Harry Maguire.
The Three Lions are 5/6 to win to nil
A lucky and prolific charm
Determining where the goals will come from leads us to Raheem Sterling who has been directly involved in 19 in his previous 17 appearances. As encouraging, the Manchester City flyer appears to be a Wembley good luck charm too, having never been on a losing side on the 23 occasions he has played there for his country.
In the days following England's careful dismantling of Croatia many predicted that Jack Grealish would star in the sequel, with Southgate expected to shuffle his pack. Reports of the Villa schemer missing a training session to manage a shin problem however suggests Sterling will once again get the nod.
The 26-year-old is 17/10 to score anytime but enough with these pragmatic choices. Let's push the boat out a little. Mason Mount has not just added goals to his armoury at club level but on the international scene too and the Chelsea star is 7.42 to score first and for England to win in the wincast market.
Back the spot over a Scot
So what of Scotland? Where do their threats lie? Unfortunately, for the 9/1 outsiders it is easier to highlight the bets to avoid rather than commit to any speculative punts.
Andy Robertson is well fancied to assist, with a startling stat emerging after last Monday's defeat that the marauding full-back created six chances for his side, the most by any player in Group D so far.
Yet as crucial as the Liverpool man is for Scotland, he has only assisted twice in 46 appearances and, as odd as this sounds, he is usually 'just' their best performing player.
As for a potential goal-source John McGinn, with 10 in his last 19 outings, fronts the queue but the nature of this Friday's game widens his odds considerably. With his team on the back-foot for the most part the Villa midfielder will be too busy trying to nullify Mount and Phillips to forge forward to any meaningful extent.
It is from set-pieces that Scotland can best hope to hurt their ancient rivals and should you be inclined to back a non-sassenach goal-scorer Scott McTominay is a good shout, due to his aerial prowess.
Speaking of dead-ball situations though brings us back to England. Nine of the last 60 goals scored in England internationals - both for and against - have been penalties, a 15% ratio that greatly exceeds the norm.
A tempting 17/10 is available for a spot-kick to be awarded for either side