Here’s our weekly sports bet from James Pacheco of Sports Betting Pays, find out more about his excellent service at http://sportsbettingpay.uk
Malta to put up a real fight against Scotland
Our five week winning run came to an end last week but there were plenty of profits secured before that so we go into the international football weekend in good shape.
I’ve thought long and hard about how to play Malta v Scotland and my next best bet would have been to go with it being a low-scoring match with under 1.5 goals appealing at 3.2 with Betfred. But I’m actually quietly confident Malta can get something from this game.
It’s a cliché to say there are no easy games in international football these days but from amongst the so-called minnows, Malta are one of the toughest to beat. With the exception of a 6-0 drubbing away at the Czech Republic, results during last season included a 2-1 defeat away at Austria, a 1-0 loss away in Croatia, a heroic 1-0 loss in Italy and a 2-0 defeat in Norway. They also drew at home to Azerbaijan and Moldova. All of those sides who beat them last season are stronger than Scotland and as you can see, the margins of defeat were very, very narrow.
They’re also far tougher at home and they will be eying this fixture against Scotland as a fantastic opportunity to cause an upset. It’s worth remembering that Scotland were the only Home Nation not to qualify for Euro 2016 and it’s not that difficult to see why. Whereas every one of the other four have at least one real star who can make the difference and at least three or four other really good Premier League players, I’m not sure you can say the same about Scotland. Naismith, Fletcher, Snodgrass, Ritchie, Phillips, Maloney, Martin…all players doing their bit at lowly Premier League clubs or good Championship clubs but no-one of whom you can say ‘’Í really fancy this guy to have a really good game tonight.’’
I also think Scotland, a bit like Celtic, are a side for heroic performances against favourites on home soil but vulnerable away from home against just about anyone. They’ve won just two of their last 8 matches away across qualifiers and friendlies- a 6-0 win against Gibraltar (who are much weaker than Malta) and a shock 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in a friendly. That run included a 1-0 defeat in Georgia.
So all in all I think Scotland can be caught cold here against an improving side who will relish playing on home soil against a side they’ll be showing little respect for. That said, a 1-0 Scotland win isn’t out of the equation nor is a 2-1 win so I’ll play it a little safe and side with Malta +1 meaning we’ll get our money back if Malta lose by one and win if it’s a home win or a draw.
2pts Back Malta on the +1 Asian Handicap @ 2.2 with Bet365*
*To make it simpler for everyone, from now on I’ll be using a 1-4 points system rather than a 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1 point system but the concept is the same.