Thursday 8th October 2020
In Across the Leagues today:
Coronavirus continues to dominates the headlines. And that includes the back pages.
Ryan Christie has been ordered to self-isolate, as he was deemed to have been in close enough proximity to Scotland teammate Stuart Armstrong. The latter having tested positive for the virus.
That means our early pick of the prices on Christie to score tonight v Israel is void with stakes returned. See below for my update on that game.
Some of England’s young squad continue to do things that make the general public hold highly-paid professional footballers in contempt…
After recent protocol breaches, Gareth Southgate has had no choice other than to leave out five players. With Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho now temporary outcasts. Along with the already-dropped Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood.
One young England player who could make a name for himself for the right reasons is Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
After starting the season in fantastic scoring form for Everton, with nine goals in six games in all competitions – including two hat-tricks. The 23-year-old forward has earned a first England call up.
There are a lot of distractions for players these days. Compared to sneaking out of hotels or going to ‘rule of six’ birthday parties, getting yourself a promotional tie-in with a high-street clothing brand isn’t too bad…
If you want to look at what H&M are calling ‘Dom Calvert-Lewin’s autumn picks’ – then take a look here. You might learn something. Before this morning, I didn’t know what a shearling jacket was.
Back to the football…
The bookies aren’t messing about with the prices for England v Wales tonight. In terms of the star names, Gareth Bale is out injured for the visitors. Harry Kane is odds-on to score Anytime, at around 5/6 (1.83). And Calvert-Lewin is also odds-on in general.
There’s doesn’t look to be much value in Dominic’s price to score on his debut tonight. He could turn out to be one to watch at big odds in the ante post markets moving forward, though…
Joint-top of the charts in the Premier League, Calvert-Lewin is currently trading at 7/1 at best to be Top Goalscorer in 2020/21 – from odds of 80/1 & 66/1 pre-season.
If ‘Dom’ gets pitch time and scores and/ or impresses in any of the upcoming England games v Wales, Belgium & Denmark. Then any long odds in the long-term markets are sure to take a tumble…
Alas, only a couple of bookies have got their ante post markets up for the rearranged ‘Euro 2020’ Finals next summer (or Euro 2021, as it’s now starting to be called).
In their Golden Boot market, Skybet go 100/1 for Calvert-Lewin, with 1/4 odds for 4 Each Way places.
BetVictor don’t even have Dominic on their list.
At both firms, England captain Harry Kane is the outright tournament favourite, at 5/1 and 6/1.
Skybet and BetVictor both also have a Top England Goalscorer market. The fledging prices have Kane out in front, of course, at 11/8 (2.38) and 2/1 (3.0) respectively. Calvert-Lewin doesn’t yet appear in the options. Expect that to change between now and next spring…
Bet365 have a Euro 2020 ‘To Be in Finals Squad’ market for England. Calvert-Lewin is 1/2 (1.5) to make the cut.
Of course, if everyone’s fit and in contention, then the competition for places is likely to be fierce…
Gareth Southgate’s attacking options include Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham… then there’s Calvert-Lewin potentially muscling in on the scene.
Not to mention Premier League new-boy Ollie Watkins, who bagged a hat-trick for Aston Villa against Liverpool last weekend. Watkins is 3/1 to make the squad next summer.
Rather than get involved in the International Friendly at Wembley, I’m focusing on the important matches elsewhere…
The Euro 2020 Qualification Playoffs are the main event, with eight one-off semi-final ties taking place this evening.
Scotland v Israel
Returning to the Scotland v Israel game that we first looked at on Monday, with Christie and a few others now out of the picture, the case looks stronger for one of the other scorers we’ve discussed recently – Lyndon Dykes.
So far this season the Australian-born Scotland representative has found the net in five out of nine games for club & country. That takes in strikes for Livingston, new club QPR – and his first goal for Scotland last month.
All but one of Dykes’ five goals so far have come from the penalty spot. The sole effort from open play was in a Scotland shirt, against the Czech Republic.
With chief penalty taker Ryan Christie now unable to play tonight, it’s not out of the question that new-boy Dykes will get the chance to score from 12 yards.
He’s around 2/1 in the Anytime Scorer market, and a top-price 6/1 to be First Goalscorer.
Bosnia & Herzegovina v Northern Ireland
Another massive game in these playoffs is Bosnia & Herzegovina v Northern Ireland…
Two key stats for us in this one:
At 34 years of age, Dzeko now has veteran status. But the Roma striker is a proper goalscorer – headers, tap-ins, penalties…
And in an important match like this, the cream can be expected to rise to the top. The former Man City forward is Bosnia & Herzegovina’s most-capped player, and all-time top scorer.
Home form also suggests this will be a tough trip for Northern Ireland, who are six games without a win overall. Bosnia have scored first in seven of their last eight home matches. That includes a 2-0 win over tonight’s visitors in the UEFA Nations League in 2018 – a game in which Dzeko scored both goals.
Edin Dzeko is around the Even Money (2.0) mark to score Anytime – odds-on in some places, slightly odds-against in others.
With both Dzeko and Bosnia’s first-goal form in mind, of odds 7/2 (4.5) and 3/1 (4.0) to score First appeal the most here.
I also like the aggressive, bigger-price First Goalscorer approach for Lyndon Dykes in the Scotland game…
Back in 2016, when these European Championship playoffs matches were two-legged, home & away affairs, three of the four 1st leg ties went Under 2.5 Goals. With so much at stake this evening, and the possibility of extra time and penalties, we could see some tight matches.
That being the logic, a first goal might turn out to be the only goal… and if that’s the case, then being on a First Scorer is particularly appealing.
Euro 2020 Qualification Playoffs
TONIGHT 7.45pm – Sky Sports
Scotland v Israel
Bosnia & Herzegovina v Northern Ireland
I’ll be back tomorrow with a look ahead to the weekend games and opportunities.
Enjoy the football…