Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ireland Euro 2012 Betting Guide: Ireland vs Croatia

Ireland play their opening game of the European Championships on Sunday, June 10 vs Croatia. The game, as well as the competition in general, represents a number of opportunities to make money.

One of them is the Correct Score market. Last year when the two sides clashed at Ireland's Aviva Stadium both sides were involved in a 0-0 stalemate. Ireland contained the Croat's the day with relative ease, apart from a couple of half-chances and the teams that day were relatively the same as they will be on Sunday and a 0-0 draw this time around can be backed at 13/2 with many bookmakers, which seems a likely result considering Ireland's recent defensive record of 11 clean sheets while on their run of 14 games unbeaten. Ireland are seldom breached at the back but if you fancy Modric to orchestrate his side to a win to can back a 1-0 win for the Croatians at 11/2. If you fancy Ireland to continue their streak of clean sheets, which is a still at this price due to Croatia's talismanic forward Ivica Olic ruled out through injury, you can back them at an enticing 9/4 to do so vs Croatia. Croatia are 11/8 with SportingBet not to concede.

The Unders/Overs market is also a useful tool for this fixture. 12 of Ireland's last 14 games have been under 2.5 goals and so this represents a decent chance to make a bit of money. However, the Under 2.5 market remains the favoured choice with bookmakers as both sides will be wary as it is their opening game of the competition. Under 2.5 can be backed at a disappointing 8/15 while the opposite is 7/4 with William Hill.

Also at value for this fixture is a Draw HT/FT 4/1 as I think nothing will separate the sides come Sunday. A draw in the Win-Draw-Win market is also at 11/5.

BEST BET - Draw @ 11/5 (General)

I've gone for the draw because of Ireland's recent defensive record - 14 games, 11 clean sheets - and the fact that both sides are fielding more or less the same sides as last summer should draw a similar result. There'll be chances but as Ireland showed against Russia, and more recently Hungary, their pain threshold is at an all-time high and they should be able to hold out against a depleted Croatian side come Sunday.

VALUE BET 0-0 DRAW 13/2 (General)

All prices were correct as of June 9 00:32 GMT.

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