Scotland face a crucial match against Israel but boast the home advantage and Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse predicts a winning night in Glasgow...
"The pre-match betting available on the Betfair exchange shows the market supports a home win with Scotland priced at 1.981/1 to claim the points."
It's matchday seven of the World Cup qualifiers, and Scotland sit in a handy position, tucked behind runaway group leaders Denmark. Steve Clarke's team enjoy home advantage over nearest rivals Israel, knowing victory would strengthen their claims on the runner up spot and place in the playoffs. A tense night awaits in Glasgow.
These teams are no strangers to meeting in competitive action, with Saturday's match being the seventh renewal of this fixture. At present, the head-to-head stats show there have been three draws with two wins for Israel and just one for the Tartan Army.
The sides have met four times in the last 12 months and served up three draws. Will this match deliver another level finish, or can the Scots claim the points needed to shove them closer to the chequered flag?
McTominay and Armstrong return
Clarke faces the most crucial game of the group, but he does so with several important players returning from injury. Two key men in Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong are back in contention for the upcoming games against Israel on Saturday and the Faroe Islands on Tuesday. Other notable additions to the squad include Rangers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and Celtic captain Callum McGregor, who was named despite only recently returning from injury.
Scotland has won three, drawn two and lost only one so far, and their most recent form stands them in good stead for this match. The locals search for a hattrick of wins after beating Moldova and Austria last month, both by a 1-0 scoreline. Victory in their next three outings would guarantee Scotland a playoff place, making Clarke's job of motivating the players much easier. Scotland's destiny lies in their own hands, and fans packing Hampden can't ask for any more than that.
A must-win for the visitors
Israel arrives in Glasgow knowing they face a must-win match at Hampden. The visitors have held their own in this group so far and remain competitive after six matches, winning three, drawing one and losing two. They start just a point behind their opponents and have had the tougher run of matches. Three points would see Israel leapfrog the home team into that all-important silver medal position.
They put together an impressive three-match winning run but suffered defeat in their most recent outing, thrashed 5-0 by table-toppers Denmark in Copenhagen. That match was wrapped up by halftime in a painful lesson for the beaten side and a reminder that Denmark will be major players in Qatar 2022. A blow for Israel, but an away win would certainly help them recover.
Scots favourites for a crucial home win
This is an important match for both teams and could prove to be a crossroads in the group. The winner of the points would push themselves into a strong position for second place behind Denmark in the set and can begin to dream of playoff football. Could Scotland make it back-to-back major tournaments after competing in Euro 2020? It's possible and would be much more likely if they win on Saturday.
The pre-match betting available on the Betfair exchange shows the market supports a home win with Scotland priced at 1.981/1 to claim the points. That will feature in a fair share of weekend multiples. Israel to spoil the party is 4.47/2 while a fourth draw in five between these sides is 3.55.
Under 2.5 goals, a strong bet
There's plenty to go on in the stats here, and that's great news for punters happy to wade through the specials in search of a value play. Both teams have scored in two of the three Scotland v Israel games played at Hampden. Both teams to score again here trades at 2.1211/10.
A much stronger trend to keep in mind when preparing your predictions is there has been no more than two goals scored in the last four. That's also true of each of Scotland's three group games since the Euros. Under 2.5 goals looks like a strong bet at 1.715/7. Those after a bigger price may fancy a third 1-0 win on the bounce for Scotland at 6.611/2.
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