Italy vs. Spain and Pick to Win
Date:Saturday, September 2nd, 2017
Where: FIFA World Cup European Qualifier
by Keith, Professional Soccer/Football Handicapper, Predictem
Match Odds: Spain 4/5, Italy 17/4, Draw 5/2
Moneyline: Spain -125, Italy +425, Draw +250
Over/Under Best Market: UNDER 2 6/4 (+150)
Italy will be the subject of attention yet again this week, but this time it wont have anything to do with Serie A action. The Italians have World Cup implications to deal with as they square off with Spain in a highly-touted qualification match-up against cross-continental rival Spain. The two sides are among the most storied programs in European history and have been responsible for winning two of the previous three World Cups. The two sides are fierce rivals and their long feud has been one that has been chronicled with excitement, passion, and theatrics. Overall, Spain and Italy have squared off in the World Cup Final on three occasions and have met in six UEFA contests as well. All of these affairs were pivotal in the final outcome of these respective competitions. All-time, Italy leads the series with 11 wins and 10 losses to the Spanish. Between the two, they have drawn 15 times. The last meeting between two took place last year in September, where both sides played to a 1-1 draw.
Both Spain and Italy sit in the top two positions of UEFA Group G. Both sides have already played six contests against the other four constituents of their group, including Albania, Israel, Lichtenstein, and Macedonia. For Italy and Spain, both are sitting pretty with 5 wins and 1 draw and the winner of this contest if applicable would all but secure an automatic qualification to the 2018 World Cup Final in Russia. For the loser or runner-up of the group, they will have to play their win into the second round. With Israel and Albania seven points behind the duo, a draw for both sides all but protects the two clubs from losing their foothold in the standings.
Home pitch advantage is weighing in heavily in this scenario be that the Spanish get to play this one at home in Madrid. However, in a rivalry of this capacity that can be cast aside. The two sides are so familiar with one another that this experience neutralizes the environment the contest takes place in. With this being said, we are not proponents of laying juice by any means. Given the fact much of the public has taken such a position, taking a contrarian approach here is likely what is optimal. While it is very difficult to conceive Spain losing at home to an arch rival, it is not improbable for a draw to take place. Given the fact such an event is offered at a friendly price it is certainly worth a look.
Overall, both teams are in excellent form. In their previous five international contests both Spain and Italy have not lost one game. Italy has won their last four overall; while Spain is 3-2-0 in their previous five respectively. In European qualifiers, Italy has outscored opponents 7-0 in their last two victories. On the contrary, Spain has won their last two European qualifiers by a score of 6-2. Spain had to sweat out a win against eliminated Macedonia when they escaped the feisty underdogs by a score of 2-1.
Despite offense being the focal point of both teams results it is actually the defense that should dictate the pace of this game. In one market, the price of the Under 2 offers substantial value at 6/5. This market is scarce but requires no juice and is certainly plausible. Given the fact heavy lumber is required on the Under from 3, many markets have taken a stance on this notion. Midfield play is the name of both Spain and Italys strategy as they force opponents to play efficient. The focus is not so much on scoring as much as it is possession and control of the game itself. As a result of these two potential plays, we are putting up 2 units for a possible return of 4 units if both situations play out accordingly.
Italy Recent Form
W Lichtenstein 5-0
W Uruguay 3-0
W Netherlands 2-1
W Albania 2-0
D Germany 0-0
Spain Recent Form
W Macedonia 2-1
D Colombia 2-2
W France 2-0
W Israel 4-1
D England 2-2
Keith’s Prediction for the Game: DRAW 5/2 (+250) and UNDER 2 (6/4) +150.
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