England v Scotland Betting Preview
Back England to maintain top spot with victory over Scotland
Gareth Southgate’s side have won two of their three qualifying matches so far, after a disappointing 0-0 draw against Slovenia in their most recent outing. England struggled to manufacture any clear-cut chances, and if it wasn’t for Joe Hart’s string of fantastic saves then England could have fallen to an embarrassing defeat. They’ve only found the net three times in their opening three games, and although both Slovakia and Slovenia have the same total, only Malta have fewer (one).
They have, however, kept three clean sheets, and nobody can argue that they’re less than capable at the back. Across their first three group games, England have had an average of 70% of the ball, but their failure to convert possession and chances into goals has cost them. Since the disappointment of Euro 2016, England have failed to impress, and Southgate needs to get his team firing again soon to regain the faith of the fans.
Gordon Strachan’s men have made a stuttering start to their qualifying campaign, winning only one of their three group games so far. Scotland currently sit fourth in Group F, but a win on Friday would move them level on points with England, who currently top the group on seven points. They’ve scored six goals so far, the most of any team in the group, but have also conceded five, a total only surpassed by Malta (nine).
Scotland’s 5-1 thrashing of Malta was the perfect start to their campaign but was hardly a test of their ability, and two poor results against Lithuania, and more recently Slovakia, have brought them crashing back down to earth. When losing 3-0 to Slovakia last time out, Strachan’s men registered the same number of shots as their opponents but failed to find the net, and they, like England, will need to start taking their chances on Friday to stand any chance of coming away with three points.
England have won seven of the last nine meetings between the two sides, and have only lost two of the last ten. They’ve also scored three goals in both of the last two meetings, and two or more in five of the last six. No-one can question Gareth Southgate’s side’s ability create chances, but they’ll need to do more than pose a threat to continue their excellent head-to-head record. Scotland have only won twice at Wembley since 1981, and not since 1999, so q victory is a big ask.
To score – Harry Kane 11/10
The Tottenham forward returned from injury last weekend, and marked his comeback with a goal against Arsenal in the North London derby. Gareth Southgate will be pleased to have the striker fit again, and he’s expected to come straight back in and lead the line against Scotland. Kane has five goals in 17 appearances for the senior team, but his lack of form during the European Championships and his recent injury setback means that England have now gone eight games without seeing his name on the scoresheet. He’s due a goal, and judging by his performance at the weekend he’s heading back towards his best. I recommend backing odds of 11/10 for Harry Kane to find the net at any time.
Both teams to score – Yes 5/4
Both sides have found the net in the last two meetings, with England picking up 3-1 and 3-2 victories. Scotland will do well to break down England’s solid back line, but six goals in three matches from Gordon Strachan’s side illustrates their ability in front of goal. England have scored in 11 of their last 13 games, and in their last 16 at Wembley, so it would be a shock to see them fail to convert on Friday. I’m backing odds of 5/4 for both teams to score.
Match odds – England 4/11
It’s no surprise to see that England are favourites for Friday’s clash, as at their best Gareth Southgate’s side should easily walk away with the three points here. But Scotland will not be easy opponents, and I fully expect them to take the game to England for the whole 90 minutes. I’m backing England to make it three wins from four with odds of 4/11. You can back odds of 7/2 for the two sides to play out their first draw in eight meetings, whereas a Scotland win is priced at 8/1.
Writer’s prediction: England 2 – 1 Scotland
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.