Northern Ireland v Croatia – Windsor Park at 19:45 live on Premier Sports
My latest Asian Handicap betting preview focuses on the international friendly match between Northern Ireland and Croatia. Last weekend I returned a nice profit having backed Republic of Ireland +0.5 at 1.92, with the Irish beating Austria 1-0.
[expand title=”Read More…” swaptitle=”Hide” trigpos=”below” rel=”star-highlander” ]
It’s been a busy week for Northern Ireland, who will be playing their second match in the space of 4 days against Croatia.
The home side thrashed Azerbaijan 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier last weekend, with Lafferty, McAuley, McLaughlin and Brunt all getting on the scoresheet.
So far, Northern Ireland have only lost 1 match in Group C and as a result, they’re sitting 2nd in the group table with 7 points. Azerbaijan also have 7 points and Northern Ireland’s victory looks even more impressive when you take into account that Azerbaijan were unbeaten before hand, having won 2 and drawn 1 of their 3 group games to date.
Northern Ireland’s only defeat of the qualification process so far came against Germany in a 2-0 loss. The Germans are currently sitting top of Group C, boasting a 100% win record.
The rest of Group C consists of the Czech Republic, Norway and San Marino. Michael O’Neill’s side drew 0-0 away to the Czech Republic and beat San Marino 4-0 in another comfortable victory at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland are yet to play Norway and are set to take on the Norwegians in February.
This friendly against Croatia gives O’Neill the chance to experiment with a few players and give others a well earned rest!
Croatia are currently top of Group I after winning 3, drawing 1 and losing none of their World Cup qualifying fixtures so far.
They’re also fortunate to have a relatively easy group which consists of Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland and Kosovo and so they are likely to finish top of the group and will almost certainly qualify.
Last week Croatia beat Iceland 2-0 as Brozović scored a brace to secure Ante Čačić’s side another 3 points.
Turkey have been the only side to hold Croatia in their qualifiers to date, with that game ending in a 1-1 draw. Victories over Finland (1-0) and Kosovo (6-0) make up their other results and their next World Cup qualifier is against the Ukraine at the end of February.
Croatia have a talented squad, which includes the likes of Modrić, Rakitić and Perišić and on paper they should beat Northern Ireland. However, taking into account this is a friendly and Northern Ireland are playing at home, a safer bet is to back goals in this game.
Croatia’s squad is most definitely of a higher quality, although I can see both teams getting on the scoresheet. For this match I think there is good value on the overs market and therefore I recommend backing over 2 goals at 1.90. 2 goals in the match would see our stakes refunded and 3 goals would secure us profit.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2 goals @ 1.90 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.