THE news of Gareth Bale’s hamstring injury has thrown a large spanner into the works – not for England, maybe, but regarding a juice-priced tip for In Off The Post this week, writes Lee Sobot.
But even without the Tottenham wing wizard. Wales are begging to be backed at 8-1 to cause something of a stir this afternoon.
To the Welsh outfit second, but firstly to England and the reasons why you might want to think twice about steaming in at best-priced odds.
The prime reason is surely this whole captaincy rigamarole with Rio Ferdinand stripped of the captaincy in favour of John Terry and divisions in the camp almost inevitable as a result.
It may be that England’s players are professional to the core – as they should be – and unite in tremendous fashion this afternoon, all to a man behind the reinstated Terry and producing an accomplished performance in Cardiff as a result.
But that’s a big if and it’s not hard to see things going the other way with 4-9 an expensive way to find out if it does.
In the likely cauldron of hate, venom and animosity towards the English at a packed Millennium Stadium it’s not difficult to see them getting turned over at odds-on.
We’ve seen it before – we can all remember the defeat in Northern Ireland a few years back which was probably a bigger shock than a Wales win would be.
But do we just lay on England or can we trust the Welsh to get the job done and reward insulting odds of 8-1 (Victor Chandler and Paddy Power)?
Certainly, if lightning-quick Bale, pictured left, was fit confidence would be higher and it has to be said that news of his absence made me reconsider the Wales-punt angle altogether.
However, in Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy and Robert Earnshaw to name but three, the hosts have more than enough firepower to cause England problems, not to mention every single player will considerably raise their game.
The Welsh also need a victory – they haven’t picked up a point so far – and one week on from Gary Speed’s former Sheffield United side getting a big win over Leeds, this may be the day the new national manager gets his.
That Leeds result left us with burnt fingers somewhat – and somewhat spoiled my birthday given that I also invested in the Whites. But never in a million years did they look like winning once Max Gradel had fluffed his header.
It might be that odds of 4-9 on England look pretty juicy come tea-time as Fabio Capello’s side could easily outclass the hosts but at 8-1 we won’t stand to lose too much if we are wrong and we can always sit back with national pride if the result goes against the Welsh.
Still, we could do with some England interest and if Fabio’s boys are to win it will almost certainly be to nil as Wales will likely turn us over or just not get going at all.
A 2-0 scoreline (11-2) seems by far the likeliest outcome with 1-0 never enough, especially in front of a partisan Welsh crowd while 3-0 is quite big at 11-1.
As for a weekend acca, a tea-time double on Greece (at Malta) and Ireland (home to Macedonia) makes reasonable sense at just worse than evens (around 4-5).
Maltese people are very nice, judged from the phone interviews I’ve had with Daniel Bogdanovic and Justin Haber, but it doesn’t mean their national side is any good while Ireland are in big trouble if they can’t beat Macedonia at home.