It's a huge match for Wales and one where goals aren't as unlikely as the odds suggest so take advantage of the price on at least three, says Jamie Pacheco...
"But it’s a very different story if you look at Slovakia’s recent results. Six of their last 10 have gone overs including the 3.5 goal mark being broken in four of them. Similarly, three of the four matches between these two have had over 2.5 goals."
Slovakia v Wales
Thursday October 10, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Hosts eyeing up runners-up spot
Slovakia are on course for a somewhat rare appearance at a major international competition.
They sit second in Group E on nine points after three wins and two defeats. Luckily for them they saved their worst performance for the side who is almost certain to win the Group, Croatia, losing 4-0 at home to Luka Modric and co.
Even luckier for them, they saved their best performance for the side most likely to challenge them for a runners-up spot. They beat Hungary 2-1 away and now have the return match at home against them to look forward to.
Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, fresh from a clean sheet against Manchester United at the weekend, should feature in goal. Other than him, there aren't too many other household names to speak of. With one exception. Marek Hamsik, who spent 12 years at Napoli and made over 400 appearances for the club, is still around and leading by example. Now playing in the Chinese Super League, he'll be making his 117th international appearance here.
Huge game for Bale and co
Wales will be a little disappointed by their efforts so far. Croatia are always an incredibly hard side to beat and the two we've just mentioned are no push-overs either but there are far harder Groups out there and if they don't make it to Euro 2020 they'll feel like it was a missed opportunity.
All is not lost, though. They're on six points with a game in hand and a win here would put them in pole position to still come second, assuming they make the most of their extra game.
With such a big game coming up, they'll be frustrated that there are clouds over their two star men. Aaron Ramsey is suffering from a twinge in his abductor muscle and may not be fit to play while Gareth Bale is perfectly fit but enduring an absolute nightmare season at Real Madrid.
It's been made perfectly clear to him by everyone at the club that he's not wanted but no-one has yet found a solution. The latest insult was to be let out of the squad to play FC Brugge at home. Let's see whether this treatment by his club adversely affects the former Spurs man or makes him even more motivated.
Slovakia are [2.48] to win the game. That looks fair. Bar that aberration of a result against Croatia, they've been pretty good, especially at home. They've won five of their last six home qualifiers (Euros and World Cup) and despite (or maybe because of it) the absence of many star names, look to be a pretty tight-knit group.
If you're going to back them, you'll probably be wanting to ignore their recent head-to-head record against the Welsh, though. They've lost their last three against them with the 1-0 reverse in March very relevant given how recent it was.
That head-to-head record is just about enough to put us off, though. Don't be reaching to back the draw, though. Remarkably, Wales haven't had one in any of their last 12 competitive matches. It's [3.3] if you're interested.
Overs looks overpriced
If you were to look at Wales' recent results alone, you can easily see why 'unders' is such a strong favourite at [1.6]. Seven of their last ten across qualifiers and friendlies have gone 'unders'.
But it's a very different story if you look at Slovakia's recent results. Six of their last 10 have gone overs including the 3.5 goal mark being broken in four of them. Similarly, three of the four matches between these two have had over 2.5 goals.
If it was evens the pair, we'd leave this well alone but with 'overs' out at [2.56] that's tempting enough to take the plunge.
Opta tell us that of the nine goals scored by the hosts in qualifying so far, eight different players got them. The aforementioned Hamsik is the only one who has two. He's a big-looking 13/2 in light of that and his record of 24 in 116 games suggests he's a pretty regular scorer in international football.
No prizes for guessing who the anytime scorer favourite is. Bale is 9/5 to score anytime and 9/2 for first goalscorer honours. If you want to chance a Welsh player, then how about Man Utd's Daniel James. He's gone off the boil of late with no goals in his last seven but did get thee in his first four for his club so is no stranger to finding the back of the net, especially if he plays just behind Bale. James is 4/1 to score anytime.
Back Over 2.5 goals @ [2.56]
Back Marek Hamsik to score @ 13/2