San Marino v Northern Ireland Betting Tips: Not the thrashing many expect

18:36, 31 aug 2017

This match is certainly a one-sided looking affair as minnows San Marino host Northern Ireland.

San Marino are unsurprisingly the underdogs going into this fixture as the last time they did not suffer defeat in a match was against Estonia back in November 2014.

La Serenissima are one of the whipping boys of European football and it is no surprise that they have not scored a goal in any of their last six outings. In fact, when they last scored a goal (against Norway last October) they celebrated it as though they had won the World Cup! Defence is also a huge problem for San Marino with no clean sheet since 2014 and 21 goals conceded in their last three games.

There is very little hope going into this match for San Marino as they have not scored a competitive goal in their homeland since netting against Poland in September 2013. Having said that, although they are the minnows here, it is worth noting that they have conceded under 2.5 goals in four of their last seven home outings.

With only one team per group automatically qualifying for next year’s World Cup, it will be hard for Northern Ireland to repeat the historic achievement of qualifying for Euro 2016 – particularly with Germany alongside them in Group C. Furthermore, although they are currently second in the group and four points ahead of Czech Republic in third, the fact that only a few second-placed teams go through to the playoffs means they are even more likely to miss out on Russia 2018.

Michael O’Neill’s side have been particularly good at the back during this qualification campaign and have only conceded in one of their six matches so far – against Germany last October. Unfortunately though, in terms of the final third, they have not been great and have tended to sneak narrow wins rather than blow teams off the park. However, as proved by relatively recent 4-0 wins against San Marino and Azerbaijan, they are capable of finishing their chances against the smaller sides.

Away form is generally a huge concern for the Green and White army with just one away win in World Cup qualifiers since February 2009. However, this form almost seems irrelevant when travelling to a minnow such as San Marino.

For this match, it is more about how much Northern Ireland win by rather than anything else. The away side are expected to thrash San Marino here but I doubt they will score more than four. Northern Ireland generally struggle to score goals on the road and could only find the back once in Azerbaijan last time out. Furthermore, the last meeting between these two sides in San Marino only finished 0-3 and there have never been more than four goals in any match between the two. ‘3-4 Goals Exact‘ is priced at a profitable 13/10.

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