How the Bookies see it
- Match Winner: Wales 21/20, Draw 21/10, Northern Ireland 15/4 - Bet365
- First Goalscorer: Gareth Bale 10/3, Aaron Ramsey 11/2, Conor Washington 9/1 - William Hill
- Half Time/Full Time: Wales/Wales 5/2, Draw/Draw 31/10, Draw/Wales 18/5 - BetVictor
- Wales topped Group B against all expectations, recording a 2-1 win over Slovakia and a convincing 3-0 trouncing of Russia. They might feel unlucky to have dropped a point to an injury time England winner in the middle fixture of the three, but confidence is high and, in Gareth Bale, they possess the tournament’s joint top scorer.
- Northern Ireland did well to limit Germany to a 1-0 win earlier this week, thanks mainly to the goalkeeping heroics of Michael McGovern. The stopper, who is without a club at the moment, kept out eight golden chances for the world champions, which was enough to send the green and white army through to the next stage on goal difference. The game followed a famous victory over Ukraine and a defeat to Poland.
The battle between Bale and McGovern will be fascinating to watch, especially as the Welsh wonder has managed to land 80 percent of his shots on target so far in the tournament. The keeper will have to be at the top of his game again to stop the world’s most expensive player continuing his goal-a-game run and William Hill’s 10/3 on Bale opening the scoring is difficult to ignore in a game where he should have plenty of opportunities to strike.
Although Northern Ireland have the backing of a support even more fanatical than the vocal Welsh contingent, Wales have the superior squad and boast players like Ramsey and Bale who can create something from nothing. Northern Ireland are dogged and organised, but the sheer confidence running through the Welsh squad should see them able to break down their opponents. Coral’s 13/4 on Wales to progress with a handicap of one is worth a look if you are less than excited by the near-evens odds on a standard victory.
- Sports.net’s top tip - Wales to win with a handicap of one - 13/4 at Coral.
Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run up to the game.