On Thursday night, European champions Portugal host Lithuania at the Estadio Algarve, in what could prove to be a crucial match for the home side in Group B of qualifying for the European Championships.
Portugal (Odds of 1/33 for victory)
The European champions headed into the qualifying campaign as big favourites to qualify for next years European Championships. However, Ukraine have proven the most effective team in the group and have already sealed qualification and with it top spot in the group.
However, the Selecao are second place in the group, with just two games remaining. Portugal do have the major advantage of playing the groups two weakest teams in the final matches of their qualifying campaign in Lithuania and Luxembourg in their final game. On paper, both are matches they should win easily.
Portugal had a decent recent record in qualifying until a 2-1 defeat in Ukraine last time out ended a run of three straight wins in qualifying for the Selecao. The defeat also ended a 12-game unbeaten record in Euro qualifiers for the home side.
The Selecao have been tough opponents on home soil in qualifying of late, losing just one qualifier at home in 23 outings. Judging by the visitor’s recent record, that statistic is unlikely to change on Thursday night.
Lithuania (Odds of 28/1 for victory)
The visitors will be glad to see the end of their qualifying campaign, as the visitors have taken just one point from their seven games. Lithuania do not just have a terrible recent record in qualifying for the European Championships, as they have failed to win in 18 matches, while suffering 15 defeats in the process.
Their results in qualifying have been particularly disappointing, as they have failed to win in nine qualifiers, suffering seven defeats in the process. The visitors have struggled defensively of late in European Championship qualifiers, conceding at least twice in their last five outings.
Unsurprisingly considering Lithuania’s recent general record, their record on their travels in European Championship qualifying is poor, as they have won just one away qualifier in 11 matches, having suffered nine defeats in the process. The fact that they have conceded at least twice in eight of those 11 defeats on their travels has hindered their chances picking more positive results.
Lithuania have faced Portugal just three times, suffering defeats in all three games while conceding at least four goals in each of the three defeats. On current form, a repeat of those hefty defeats cannot be ruled out.
Portugal should record a comfortable victory over the visitors to move one step closer to qualifying for next years tournament. Backing the home win offers little values, though. The over 3.5 goals scored at odds of 8/13 looks a decent bet, although it does not exactly offer the best value.
Verdict: Back the over 3.5 goals scored at odds of 8/13 (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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Will Portugal record a routine victory over Lithuania?