Walker Provides Wembley Value

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: October 10 2012, 16:28 BST

Kyle Walker: Can pose a threat going forward

1pt Kyle Walker to score at any time v San Marino at 17/4 (sportingbet).

2pts Scotland to beat Wales (draw no bet) at 10/11 (William Hill).

1pt Bosnia-Herzegovina to beat Greece (draw no bet) at 7/4 (Sky Bet, Ladbrokes).


When a 10-0 win is a smaller price than a 1-0 victory you know a mis-match is on the cards and that's the case ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier between England and San Marino.

While, as ever, the bookies are afraid of the patriotic punt, a look at some statistics help show their thinking is not all about the weight of money expected to come for the hosts.

San Marino - a country land-locked by Italy if you weren't aware - are officially ranked as the joint-worst team in the world by FIFA. They have lost their last 19 competitive matches 'to nil', conceding 101 goals in the process, an average of just over five per game.

Over 5.5 goals can be backed at 4/5 with Ladbrokes. That bet would have made a profit in eight of those 19 qualifiers. Slovakia, Montenegro, Hungary and Finland all managed to put six past them. The Dutch and Poles both managed double figures.

There's a general feeling that England aren't particularly ruthless in this sort of game but they were pretty convincing away to Moldova last month, winning 5-0.

Their last match against opponents of a similar ranking - Andorra in 2009 - brought a 6-0 victory at Wembley. That was the last time they netted six.

As for the last time they bagged seven in one game, that was against San Marino in 1993 when Graham Taylor's side won 7-1 away having won the home fixture 6-0 earlier that year.

Over 5.5 goals is certainly worth considering but we're looking for a bit more value and feel it could come in the goalscorer markets.

They are some ridiculously short prices around - Wayne Rooney at 1/10 with bet365 to net at any time for example - but one that does take the eye is Kyle Walker at 17/4 in the same market.

With Glen Johnson suspended, Walker seems likely to slot in at right-back and with San Marino set to offer very little in terms of attacking threat, he's sure to spend most of his time in the opposition's half.

In backing Walker, you are effectively getting a right midfielder on your side and with the layers expecting England to score at least six, he looks worth a small punt.

Yes, Walker doesn't have a great scoring record at club level but then there are rarely mis-matches like this at White Hart Lane. We've seen during Spurs games that the full-back has got a cracking shot on him and his attacking runs are often incisive.

Largely due to the media attention he's received of late, Leighton Baines is just 9/4 to score from the left-back position - and remember he almost certainly won't be on penalties here - so in Walker we've found our value.

On the same night, Welsh and Scottish eyes will be on the Cardiff City Stadium as the pair go head-to-head in a 'Battle of Britain' contest.

Both will be desperate to win as they already have ground to make up in the qualification race, but the bottom line is these are two poor sides at present.

It's been a miserable start for Chris Coleman's reign as Wales manager. Admittedly he was thrown into the job in difficult circumstances following the death of Gary Speed.

Wales made some real progress under Speed but the (largely) same group of players have now lost five out of five under Coleman, scoring just one goal in those games. That came during last month's 6-1 hammering in Serbia.

The new boss now appears to have plenty of problems to deal with. Aaron Ramsey has been ditched as captain, while Craig Bellamy's future is up in the air - he won't play in this one due to injury.

Scotland are also struggling. They have managed three competitive wins under Craig Levein, two of those against Liechtenstein.

Yet there would appear to be more reasons for optimism in their camp.

Only some awful officiating denied them a place in the Euro 2012 play-offs last year so they know they can compete, while they will travel to south Wales boosted by the return of Steven and Darren Fletcher to their squad.

The former's form for Sunderland so far this season has been excellent while the latter's experience will make a difference both on and off the pitch. Certainly both add strength to a team who drew their first two matches in the group - at home to Serbia and Macedonia.

We'll take the Scots in the draw-no-bet market at 10/11.

The Republic of Ireland entertain Germany at the Aviva Stadium, where the hosts are unbeaten in their last eight games.

However, they showed at Euro 2012 that they were a little out of their depth against quality sides such as the Germans - they lost every game in Poland by at least two clear goals - so prices of 13/2 about a home win aren't tempting us.

There are some other bets worth considering on the remainder of the coupon though.

First of all, Bosnia-Herzegovina are a side on the up and look worth a punt away to Greece.

The Bosnians have made a fine start to their campaign with 12 goals scored in wins over Latvia and Liechtenstein. OK, these aren't the strongest of opponents but a look back to their Euro 2012 qualifiers shows that Bosnia are capable of challenging better sides.

They finished second to France by one point in that qualifying group and with 45 minutes of the campaign remaining were on course to reach the finals automatically. Instead they had to settle for the play-offs where Portugal proved too strong for them after the first leg had finished goalless.

The Greeks showed at the finals that they are a functional, methodical side but little else.

We feel Bosnia are worth getting behind and again we'll claim the safety of the draw-no-bet market to back them at 7/4.

Finally, we're not into the habit of backing 3/10 shots but we simply can't resist pointing out that the Dutch can be backed at such a price to beat Andorra to nil in Rotterdam.

Andorra have failed to score in their last 11 games, losing 10 of them. This season they've already lost to Romania (4-0), Huingary (5-0) and even Liechtenstein (1-0) and shouldn't be able to lay a glove on the World Cup finalists.

It's one mainly for the big-hitters but a bet that still looks over-priced.

  • Preview posted at 1630 BST on 10/10/2012.