Nations League Preview: Scotland & Northern Ireland to start with three points?
Odds and preview ahead of tonight’s fixtures
After Wales and the Republic of Ireland started their Nations League campaigns by putting points on the board, Northern Ireland and Scotland are hoping to follow suit tonight.
Northern Ireland start life in Group B1 with an away tie against Romania, with Norway and Austria joining them in the Group.
Steve Clarke and his Scotland side begin their Group B2 campaign by hosting Israel at Hampden Park, joined in the group with Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Elsewhere, Italy take on Bosnia and Herzegovina as Netherlands face Poland in the tie of tonight’s fixtures. Ahead of the action, we’ve previewed our pick of tonight’s games.
Scotland v Israel (19:45)
Both Scotland and Israel make the step up to Group B this campaign after achieving promotion in last year’s tournament, and after winning one game apiece last year, they’re up against each other again.
Steve Clarke’s side are the 21/20 favourites heading into the match at Hampden Park, where they won 3-2 last year. Israel can be found at 29/10, with the draw at 11/5.
Scotland will be without their starting front man Oli McBurnie, but Lyndon Dykes, fresh off the back of a transfer to Queens Park Rangers, could make his international debut.
Dykes is the 9/2 favourite to score first, with Oliver Burke 2/1 anytime. Celtic’s James Forrest bagged a hat-trick in this fixture last year, and he’s 33/1 to score two or more this time around. Eran Zahavi is a 5/1 favourite to score first for Israel, with Munas Dabbus 3/1 anytime.
Romania v Northern Ireland (19:45)
With Ian Baraclough now at the helm, Northern Ireland will need to find some form as they look for promotion to Group A. At the end of Michael O’Neill’s reign, they lost three of their last four, including a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany.
Romania haven’t been in great shape either, winning only four matches in 2019. They’re the favourites to win at 23/20 though, with Northern Ireland out at 14/5 to claim three points.
The last meeting between the two sides came five years ago, ending in a 0-0 draw. You can find the draw priced up at 21/20, with a goalless draw 11/2 with our traders.
Josh Magennis provides the biggest threat to a Romanian clean sheet. The Hull City striker is 6/1 to open the scoring, or 14/5 anytime. Gabriel Iancu is the 9/2 favourite to score first for Romania, with Reading’s George Puscas 13/5 anytime.
Netherlands v Poland (19:45)
Preparations for the Nations League haven’t been ideal for the Netherlands, losing head coach Ronald Koeman to Barcelona last month.
Koeman was beginning to shape an exciting Dutch side, and with this their first meeting against Poland for four years, they’re still the odds-on 1/2 favourites.
Poland will be without their talisman Robert Lewandowski, who has been handed the international break off after winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich. They’re 6/1 to win, with the draw 16/5.
Luuk de Jong could lead the line for the Netherlands after his brace in the Europa League final. He’s 7/2 to score first, or 15/2 to score two or more goals. Krzysztof Piatek could fill Lewandowski’s void, and he’s 15/2 to score first for Poland, with Arkadiusz Milik 10/3 anytime.
Italy v Bosnia and Herzegovina (19:45)
Roberto Mancini will be looking to get Italy’s Group A1 campaign underway with a win, but is light on regular central midfielders through injury, with Federico Bernardeschi and Sandro Tonali out. Marco Verratti has been given extra time off after Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League final too.
Bosnia will be without Miralem Pjanic after his positive COVID-19 test, but Edin Dzeko will lead the line. The hosts are odds-on 4/11 favourites, with Bosnia 17/2 underdogs. You can find the draw priced at 4/1.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.