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Why back Wales to top World Cup qualifying group as Austria and Alaba battle Bale?

Jamie Clark | 6 October 2016

Wales World Cup qualifying odds to win Group D of 2/1 with Coral will shorten if Chris Coleman’s crew pull off a win in Austria.

Why Wales World Cup qualifying odds are worthwhile

Prudent punters would be wise to take that price now, not least because the Dragons delivered in a memorable run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals. Austria flopped by comparison with a group stage exit after some pundits picked them as dark horses.

You can’t help but wonder how Austria are actually 13/8 favourites to top the pool? Leicester City left back and former national captain Christian Fuchs has retired, leaving a change of leadership in their ranks.

Wales World Cup qualifying odds will be shaped by the battle between stars David Alaba (left) and Gareth Bale (right) as the Dragons travel to Austria on Thursday.

Wales World Cup qualifying odds will be shaped by the battle between stars David Alaba (left) and Gareth Bale (right) as the Dragons travel to Austria on Thursday.

Both group market principals possess not-so-secret weapons in David Alaba and Gareth Bale respectively. It is in their hands where progress to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia may rest.

How do they compare, though? Check out the Alaba v Bale stats below before deciding which player to back and whether those Wales World Cup qualifying odds are worth a punt…

Alaba v Bale

Dragons talisman Bale and Austria key man Alaba crossed international paths before in a February 2013 friendly. Wales won 2-1, with Bale scoring the opener before setting up Sam Vokes’ winner.

Alaba v Bale happened in a February 2013 friendly between Wales and Austria.

Alaba v Bale happened in a February 2013 friendly between Wales and Austria.

Alaba was rather overshadowed three-and-a-half-years ago, but this is a competitive clash. The Bayern Munich left back plays in midfield for his country, even since Fuchs called time on his international career.

With a return of six goals in 10 previous World Cup qualifiers, Alaba certainly carries an explosive threat. Like Bale, Alaba is often his country’s designated penalty taker.

All but one of Alaba’s international goals to date from 50 caps have come in competitive games. That also translates into a better anytime scorer price of 10/3.

Bale the real deal

Gareth Bale is in much better international form than David Alaba.

Gareth Bale is in much better international form than David Alaba.

Real Madrid winger Bale, meanwhile, is more prolific in Euros qualifying than for past World Cups. A return of 12 in 25 European qualifiers is almost a strike rate of 50 per cent. You can also add three in six from the Euro 2016 finals.

Bale’s previous World Cup qualifying efforts are a more modest six in 16 – a lesser average of 37.5. While Alaba has failed to score an international goal from eight outings this calendar year, Bale has netted five in seven starts in 2016. This includes a brace against Moldova last time out.

As the more in-form of the two, Bale is thus a shorter anytime scorer chance at 17/10. Two apiece of those five were either first or last goals, meaning 9/2 in either alternative market is more appealing.

A special enhanced Bale wincast of 5/1, for him to score and the Dragons to defeat Austria, represents the best value. Punters can stake a maximum of €/£20 on that boosted price.

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