Faint World Cup qualification hopes will be on the line as Republic of Ireland host Azerbaijan at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (5pm). They went into the summer break as the bottom two teams and neither side had picked up a single point.
Both countries were in action on Wednesday night as they looked to keep in touch with the leaders in Group A. Ireland endured an agonising evening in Portugal as they went down 2-1 after leading for most of the game.
Azerbaijan also lost by the same 2-1 margin, to lowly Luxembourg. There are five games left to play so nothing is impossible but Saturday’s tie is a must-win for both sides.
Form is miserable in both camps but the Republic of Ireland are the clear favourites for the win with the big-name UK online bookmakers at industry best odds of 13/20. The draw is next at a general 11/4 while a win for Azerbaijan is on offer at a top price of 6/1.
Ireland’s disastrous 1-0 defeat at home to Luxembourg left Stephen Kenny’s men in a hopeless position. It has been a weak campaign and those of us with longer memories are always tempted to get behind the Republic as we remember their competitive teams of old. The current side is nowhere near as good and there could well be some value in the longer odds in this market.
Side bets have been a little slow to open following the games on Wednesday night but they will be full before kick off here. Of the bookies that have declared in the first goalscorer betting, Ireland lead the way with Adam Idah the favourite at 17/4, followed by Shane Long at 19/4 and Troy Parrott at 21/4.
Norwich City’s Idah has yet to open his account in eight matches for the full national side and that’s a good indication of where the team is at right now. Long could be a better option with a respectable, if not spectacular, record of 17 goals in 88 matches.
Team bets could be a better option this weekend with Both Teams to Score on offer at 6/5. This bet rarely heads above evens so that could be one to watch. Alternatively, if you want to take ‘No’ on Both Teams to Score, the best odds currently come in at 3/4.
The Total Goals market follows a similar pattern to BTTS with Over 2.5 coming in at a relatively high 5/4. If you want to push that one step higher, odds of 16/5 are available to go Over the 3.5 line.
That leaves this preview to round off with some Correct Score suggestions: If this game goes with form and follows the trends shown in earlier games, there could be interest in a 2-1 Ireland win which comes in at best odds of 17/2.
The same scoreline in favour of Azerbaijan is on offer at a top price of 21/1 while the 1-1 draw comes back to that same best figure of 17/2.
Our Preview’s Ireland vs Azerbaijan Betting Tips Verdict
The form guide does suggest a dour, low scoring evening but we’re hoping for that trend to be broken. Goals have been hard to come by for both teams in this group but, at the same time, Ireland and Azerbaijan’s defences have been weak.
In three matches, the Republic have scored three and conceded six while their opponents have scored two and conceded five in that same period of time.
The stats don’t offer a great endorsement of the attacking potential in either camp but it is those defensive figures that offer hope of a higher scoring 90 minutes. The other point to keep in mind is the fact that this is a must win and the two sides simply can’t afford to sit back and defend.
We suspect that Ireland will edge it but there is little value in that best price of 13/20. Too much has gone wrong for Kenny’s men in this group and there is potential for an upset.
Instead, we’ll start with Both Teams to Score. There is that need for both sides to get on the scoresheet and 6/5 is a good price in this market. Even better is the 16/5 on offer for Over 3.5 goals. It carries a greater risk and reward so you may be happier with Over 2.5 but the desperation for three points in each camp should lead to more action in front of goal.
So these are the advised betting tips for this Republic of Ireland vs Azerbaijan preview:
- Both teams to score at 6/5 with Paddy Power, Betfair or Betfred.
- Over 3.5 goals to be scored at 10/3 with Betfair.
Compare Ireland vs Azerbaijan Betting Odds
|Rep of Ireland||4/7||8/13||4/7||4/7||8/13||3/5|