On Thursday night, Russia hosts Scotland in Moscow in Group I of qualifying for the European Championships. A home victory would-but see Russia qualify for next years tournament.
Russia (Odds of 8/15 for victory)
After an opening Group I defeat in Belgium, Russia have now recorded five straight wins in qualifying. Last time out, the home side recorded a 1-0 home win against Kazakhstan, who are third in the group. The five straight wins have put them in a very good position in the table, eight points clear of the chasing pack with just four qualifiers remaining.
Russia have not just enjoyed a good campaign in the current qualifying, but also the last campaign too, as they have won nine of their last ten qualifiers. The 3-1 defeat against Belgium was the exception in that ten-game run.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s team have built their current good run of form in qualifying on a solid defensive foundation, as the home side has kept clean sheets in four of their last five matches in Group I.
Unsurprisingly considering their recent record in qualifying, Russia have recorded five straight wins in home qualifiers, while also not conceding a goal in the process. In fact, they have conceded just two goals in their last 11 home qualifiers. The home sides recent solid defensive displays in home qualifiers have contributed to six of their last seven matches producing under 2.5 goals.
Scotland (Odds of 13/2 for victory)
The visitors have endured a poor qualification campaign, as they currently sit second from bottom in the group standings. Steve Clarke’s side have won two and lost four of their games in Group I, a run which has ended their qualification hopes.
Scotland are currently on a three-game losing run in qualifying, having conceded at least two goals in all three defeats. The fact that they have conceded at least two goals in four losses in qualifying has contributed to their poor record.
The visitors have struggled for wins in qualifying on their travels, as they have won just two of their last nine away matches in qualification for the European Championships. Their recent away games in qualifying have been pretty high-scoring of late, with over 2.5 goals scored in three of their last four qualifiers on their travels.
This game is now pretty much meaningless to the visitors. However, Clarke’s team will get a second bite at qualifying for Euro 2020 courtesy of topping their Nations League group.
These two teams have certainly enjoyed very different qualifying campaigns for Euro 2020. Russia have impressed, while Scotland have underachieved, especially as the likes as Cyprus and Kazakhstan are above them in the group.
It is really hard to look beyond a home win in this clash at odds of 8/15, although there is not much value in the odds. If Scotland got anything out of this clash it would be a big shock. The under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/6 does not look a terrible bet considering Russia’s recent defensive record on home soil.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 8/15 and/or under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/6 (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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