England’s defeat by Iceland during the European Championships was deemed the lowest point in the national team’s recent history (and there is plenty of competition for that ‘accolade’).
But should they lose to Malta on Saturday, calls to undertake a complete withdrawal from international football (a FAxit?) may gather unexpected momentum.
Gareth Southgate’s men are 1/50 (888sport) to win, while Malta are priced at 125/1 by Coral, although as much was made of Iceland’s ability to overhaul England despite the nation’s meagre population, perhaps punters should take note of the tongue-in-cheek statistic published by the match stats team at bettingexpert.com this week which revealed that Malta’s population is 100,000 larger than that of Iceland.
Big hitting punters would need to put serious money on England to get a return, but can they justify the risk?
Backers of more modest means will no doubt have a greater inclination to take the 8/13 offered by 188bet against England winning when starting three goals down, or else wander into the ‘anytime goalscorer’ markets where Marcus Rashford is 4/9 (Unibet) to score and Jamie Vardy is a 4/11 shot with Bwin.
England are 3/10 (bet365) to win without conceding – a far from foregone conclusion – and 1/5 at BetVictor.com to lead at the end of both halves.
Patriotic punters could be tempted by Ladbrokes’ 4/9 price for England to win by four or more goals, though more precise types may fancy Paddy Power’s 15/2 for the Three Lions to secure a 4-0 victory.
Elsewhere in the correct score markets, the likelihood of it ending in a 2-0 home success is rated a 12/1 shot by Matchbook.com, attractive odds considering Malta’s probable tactics, while optimists expecting England to rip their visitors apart can get 20/1 (Marathonbet) against them registering a 7-0 win.
There’s evidence of punters backing three or four correct scores from 4-0 upwards.
Martin Keown and Emile Heskey were on the scoresheet when England last faced Malta 16years ago and won 2-1.
Could Malta score on Saturday? Of course they could and punters who concur can get an appealing 3/1 (Betway) against both teams finding the net.
As the pool of English players in the Premier League continues to plummet (on average, only three Englishmen feature in first team action), so the likelihood of England winning another trophy recedes and wagers such as Skybet’s 13/8 for Malta to win when handed a four-goal starting advantage begin to appear considerably more attractive than they once did.
Odds supplied by www.smartbets.com, the customisable odds comparison site.