Football Bet of the Day: Ronnie's return won't necessarily spark a firefight
After a galling near-miss in Austria, Kev's hoping for more success in Portugal tonight.
"Despite their wealth of attacking talent, Portugal are cautious by nature under Fernando Santos, and they're facing a Ukraine side that recently drew 1-1 in Italy and won promotion to the top tier of the Nations League."
Portuguese pragmatism on display
Portugal v Ukraine
Friday 22 March, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports
Sometimes football doesn't seem fair, and by extension, football betting doesn't always appear just. Poland did their bit in our BTTS wager last night, but Austria missed several good chances, including a free header for Marc Janko at the end from close range. Marc's off the provisional Christmas card list (I start early.)
We'll head to Portugal, home of the reigning European champions. Arch-pragmatist Fernando Santos has overseen an era of consistency and success. Although the last-16 exit to Uruguay at last year's World Cup was a bitter blow, Portugal are in the mix to win the inaugural Nations League trophy this summer.
Now the quest to retain the European Championship crown begins in earnest. Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the squad, and is in line to make his first international appearance since the World Cup. Benfica youngster Joao Felix has excelled for Benfica this term, and is pushing hard to feature in the attack.
Ukraine won promotion to the top tier of the Nations League, and have undoubtedly made progress under the guidance of Andriy Shevchenko, who has made the journey from superstar striker to coach. They have only lost one game since the pivotal World Cup qualifying defeat to Croatia, and that was a 4-1 defeat at Slovakia that was essentially a dead rubber in the UNL.
Ukraine have recently gone to Italy and drawn 1-1 and played out a goalless stalemate in Turkey, and if you look at their World Cup qualifying campaign, seven of their ten matches featured fewer than three goals.
Three of Portugal's four Nations League games were under the 2.5 goals line, and it'd be a surprise to see a goalfest here against a well-organised Ukraine side.
Points Staked: 39
Points Returned: 29.62
P/L: -9.38 points
Back Under 2.5 Goals at [1.84]