How the Bookies See it
- Winner: England 1/3, Draw 7/2, Scotland 8/1 - Paddy Power
- First Goalscorer: Harry Kane (ENG) 18/5, Daniel Sturridge (ENG) 4/1, Jamie Vardy (ENG) 9/2 - BetVictor
- Correct Score: England 1-0 5/1, England 2-0 5/1, England 2-1 8/1 - William Hill
- England’s first few steps on the road to Russia have been underwhelming to say the least. A last-gasp win away to Slovakia gave Sam Allardyce victory in his his one and only game as the Three Lions’ manager in a match that was largely uneventful throughout. Following Big Sam’s departure, Gareth Southgate took charge as England laboured to a 2-0 win over footballing minnows Malta, before a tiresome 0-0 draw in Ljubljana with Group F rivals Slovenia. The only positive points for fans is that the team sit top of the group and are one of four teams in qualifying yet to concede.
- Scotland started their qualifying campaign brightly, crushing nine-man Malta 5-1 in an impressive away performance. Optimism in the Scottish camp soon faded as a 1-1 draw with Lithuania preceded a 3-0 defeat to a Slovakia side who were without a win in four games. Supporters will be hoping under-pressure manager Gordon Strachan can turn things around and record a famous victory under the Wembley Arch this Friday.
Defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 saw England reach a new low as their dreams of winning a first trophy in 50 years evaporated yet again. Fans and former players alike slated the team for their abject performance in France, as many seemed to lose interest in watching their national team flop time after time. Former England captain Terry Butcher recently described watching the Three Lions as ‘purgatory’, a sentiment no doubt shared by countless England supporters. It will be the job of Gareth Southgate to reignite the flames of passion not felt by supporters in many years, and a game against Scotland would be the perfect place to start. The home side are 1/3 to triumph over their northern neighbours, but a win to nil could prove a more favourable option at evens with Paddy Power.
A lot has been made of England’s lack of a consistent goal scorer. Harry Kane frustrated audiences at Euro 2016 with his inability to find the back of the net, but the Spurs striker could redeem himself against Scotland. The 23-year-old is 18/5 to break the deadlock, but a bet at 11/10 on Kane to score anytime might be a wiser move, especially as the striker could start on the bench following an injury hit start to the campaign. Another option to consider could be Theo Walcott, with the Arsenal man posing a real attacking threat in the early months of the season. The forward is well priced at 9/5 with William Hill to score anytime in an England win.
Scotland have been having problems of their own following a rocky start to qualifying for Russia 2018. The boys in blue have not featured at a major international tournament in 18 years, a barren run that the Tartan Army hope ends sooner rather than later. If the Scots are to break this hoodoo, they need to overcome the odds and record their first victory over England since 1999, but in a year that has seen Leicester City win the title, Brexit win out in Britain and Donald Trump triumph in his bid to become president, anything is possible. The visitors are 19/2 with BetVictor to leave with all three points, while a repeat of their last Wembley success, a 1-0 win, is priced at 21/1.
To win, Gordon Strachan’s men will need to be at the top of their game, starting with goalkeeper David Marshall. The Hull City stopper is 5/1 to keep out the England attack, while a goalless draw is available at 10/1 with William Hill. The Scots will also be hoping that Leigh Griffiths can replicate his form for Celtic as he slips into the blue of the national team. The striker, who has been called Scotland’s answer to Robbie Fowler, is 11/2 to net first and 14/1 to score anytime in a famous Scottish win.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Scotland to win - 19/2 with BetVictor
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.