Sweden v Bulgaria – Friends Arena at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 2
We’re well underway in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, and on Monday night I will be looking to continue my good run in these International Asian Handicap Betting recommendations as Sweden host Bulgaria at the Friends Arena.
[expand title=”Read More…” swaptitle=”Hide” trigpos=”below” rel=”star-highlander” ]
Sweden, in my opinion, are going through a bad spell at the moment since the retirement of their best player Zlatan Ibrahimovic after Euro 2016, as their performance in that tournament was disastrous.
Not winning a single match and scoring one goal in three matches.
Yet, considering this, Janne Andersson’s team sits unbeaten after two matches; drawing 1-1 with group A second favourites Netherlands (which they were very lucky to do), and recently beating Luxembourg 1-0 away from home.
However, it’s the quality of their squad that I have a problem with, as there isn’t a name on their team-sheet that shouts out as a game changer, or someone who could pull something out of the bag.
Furthermore, in World Cup qualification they have only won one of their last five matches. As their last win at home in a competitive game was back in November 2015 against Denmark.
One player I’m hoping makes a difference against Bulgaria is Marcus Berg. He needs to step up since Ibrahimovic retired and if he scores more goals like the one against Netherlands, he will be a fan favourite in no time.
When I think of Bulgaria, I think of Dimitar Berbatov, Stiliyan Petrov and cheap beer. Now, I doubt those two of those listed are still around, but it doesn’t mean it should be a dull encounter.
Petar Hubchev’s last match will be one they will want to forget, losing 4-1 away to France in a game they were leading in.
An issue with Bulgaria is that they haven’t qualified for a major tournament since 2004, and their last appearance in a World Cup was in 1998 when they returned home after the group stages not winning a single game.
Not many players spring to mind when looking at the squad. The only one that rings a bell is Aleksandar Tonev, and that’s probably through my Football Manager days.
Furthermore, in World Cup qualification they have only won two of their last 16 matches on the road. Their last win being a 2-1 victory against Malta. They currently sit fourth in the table and will need to win this to keep up the pressure on the group favourites.
These two nations have a rich history of head-to-heads, meeting on 11 occasions with the most recent match ending in a 3-0 win to Sweden back in 2005. In fact, Bulgaria haven’t beaten Sweden since 1967, and the last time they secured a point off the Swedes was back in 1993.
I would have to back Sweden for this encounter. They are the home side and have a great record against the Bulgarians. Yet, they will need to make sure they score more goals than they have been doing in recent matches because I see both sides scoring.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sweden -1 @ 1.88 with Bet365
Prices correct at time of writing.