England v Belgium: Top Spot Up for Grabs in Group G Finale
The flat-track bullies of Group G lock horns in Kaliningrad on Thursday night – kick-off: 19:00 GMT as England face Belgium with first place at stake going into the Round of 16 at the World Cup.
Just one yellow card currently splits the two teams before this deciding fixture, with England conceding two bookings from their opening games against Tunisia and Panama, while Belgium has three indiscretions so far. A draw here and if Gareth Southgate’s side incur one more booking than the Belgians, Group G will be decided by drawing lots to determine first and second spots.
Belgium boss, Roberto Martinez has already suggested he will make several personnel changes for this game, while Southgate could also look to shuffle his squad with the knockout phase on the horizon. In terms of a betting proposition, this game looks to be very difficult to call, especially before both managers show their hand with regards to team selection.
All three outcomes in the Match Betting market are odds against which highlights two things; value, but also difficulty in predicting the result.
It could be merely bookmaking patriotism involved, however, England are the layers favourites to win this game. Black Type and Betway go the best industry price on the Three Lions of 17/10. A perfect record of three wins from three games for the Red Devils can be backed with Boylesports and Betfred at 2/1, while the Draw can be taken at SportingBet, who offer 9/4.
This game, despite the implications of top spot in Group G, is in effect a dead rubber. While this betting preview has been written before Groups E and F are decided, the route to the latter stages of the World Cup is likely to be made easier by finishing in second place and avoid the potential Quarter Final game with either Brazil or Germany if both qualify in their expected finishing places.
A small preference for the Draw could well be the call in this game as neither team will be going all-out with more important games to come.
Individual Goal Scorers
With several players likely to be rested for this fixture, the options for selecting the First Goalscorer in Kaliningrad is more difficult than most other games, but here are a few potential offerings.
Leading the race for the Golden Boot with five goals from his opening two games, England striker, Harry Kane is the 7/2 favourite with 10Bet and Sport Pesa to open the scoring against Belgium. Kane despatched two penalties with consummate ease against Panama and provided he gets the nod to start against fellow Spurs team-mates, Jan Vertongen and Toby Alderweireld, Kane is in such good form he’s worth a punt once again.
Romelu Lukaku is a doubt to start for the Belgians according to his manager, so the top price of 9/2 with 888Sport and Boylesports may be best avoided on this occasion. Ready preference is for Michy Batshuayi at 15/2 with 10BET to take advantage in Lukaku’s absence.
Marcus Rashford is likely to be given a starting berth against Belgium and the 13/2 on offer is worthy of consideration. If Southgate does select the Manchester United man, he has a real chance of nailing down a spot in future World Cup games due to the ineffective performances of Raheem Sterling against Tunisia and Panama.
The 17/2 available with Sport Pesa and 10BET for No Goalscorer should also come into calculations. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see this game turn into a boring stalemate with both teams being happy with a share of the spoils.
Other Side Bets
SportingBet offer the tempting odds of 11/13 for UNDER 2.5 goals in this game, and this bet rates as the strongest selection of this preview. Several changes on both sides generally equates into a disjointed game and I expect this to be no different. We have the cushion of two goals to be scored in the contest and I believe it will be enough.
A tentative selection is offered up on England to win the game with your stake being refunded if the match ends in a draw. MarathonBet are offering 9/10 on this eventuality, but it would not be the most confident choice.
As always with our betting previews, we like to offer up a Correct Score bet for our readers and this game is no exception. Our preference is for a 1-1 draw at the generally available odds of 5/1. A goal-less game was also very prominent in my thoughts and that choice could be worth dutching up as a cover bet.
- UNDER 2.5 goals for England v Belgium at 11/13 with SportingBet
- Full Time Result – Draw at 9/4 with SportingBet
- 1-1 Correct Score bet at 5/1 with Coral