On paper, England weren’t exactly given a tough Euro 2016 qualifying group.
But you can only beat what’s in front of you and Roy Hodgson’s men have so far gone about their business very efficiently as they look secure a place at next year’s finals in France.
The Three Lions have won all four of their Group E matches, finding the net 11 times in the process and conceding just once – a Jordan Henderson own-goal against Slovenia – and subsequently they’re in pole position to qualify as pool winners.
England should tighten their grip on top spot this weekend too, as they take on Lithuania at Wembley tomorrow (Friday) night and bookies are supremely confident that Hodgson’s troops will claim maximum points, William Hill installing them as favourites at just 1/8.
The visitors arrive as BetVictor’s 22/1 outsiders while it’s 9/1 at bet365 to finish allsquare but it’s impossible to oppose Hodgson’s charges, especially on home soil and punters looking to cash-in on a likely Three Lions triumph should be contemplating the magnitude of the success.
Those expecting the Lithuanians to make life uncomfortable for their hosts can tackle BetVictor’s 10/3 about Hodgson’s charges shading it by a one-goal margin and it’s 11/2 with Paddy Power for England to prevail 1-0.
Similarly, Winner.com might see money for the 16/5 they mark against the Three Lions coming out on top following an even first period but they should be able to ensure it’s a slightly more straightforward evening and Ladbrokes agree, penalising England by a goal in the handicaps at odds of just 4/9.
More precisely, bet365 offer 9/2 about Hodgson’s side notching twice without reply, Stan James make England 4/9 to be in front at the interval as well as full-time and a home victory combined with a clean sheet looks a banker at 1/2 (bet365).
In attack, Harry Kane’s incredible form for Spurs is likely to be rewarded with a start (2/9, Paddy Power) and the prolific striker is set to be well backed at 3/1 via Skybet to break the deadlock.
Skipper Wayne Rooney is also a 3/1 shot, this time at betway, to net first and in the same market BetVictor rate Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling at a chunkier 6/1.
In betting terms, it’s not about whether or not Scotland will beat Gibraltar in their Euro 2016 qualifier at Hampden Park, it’s more a case of how many they’ll score in what should realistically be an entirely one-sided affair.
So certain are Gordon Strachan’s boys of a victory that the best price about a home win is Stabn James’s 1/50 while the visitors are a 50/1 shot with BetVictor to stun their hosts and Skybet rate a stalemate at 18/1.
Punters clearly don’t believe Gibraltar will find the net so bet365 have clipped Scotland to 2/11 to prevail ‘to nil’ and the odds have been reduced on a 3-0 (7/1, BetVictor), 4-0 (11/2, betway) and 5-0 (8/1, Winner.com) Scotland successes.
Similarly, Strachan’s troops are just 1/10 to be in front at the end of each half, yet there has been modest interest in a Scottish triumph following an even first period – now in to 6/1 and in a match tally of fewer than 3.5 goals (5/2).
Elsewhere, unbeaten Wales are bet365’s 7/2 underdogs as they head to Israel in Group B, BetVictor quote 17/10 about Northern Ireland getting the better of Finland in Belfast and it’s 6/4 (Stan James) for Republic of Ireland to overcome Poland.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton picked up this season where he left off in the last, claiming victory in the opening race at Melbourne and bookies expect the Mercedes man to take the chequered flag again in Malaysia this weekend.
Hamilton is a 4/11 jolly at BetVictor to prevail at the Sepang Circuit, where team-mate Nico Rosberg is a 5/2 chance with Winner.com and the fact that Sebastian Vettel is next in the betting at 25/1 (Stan James) tells you all you need to know about the expected dominance of Mercedes.
Taking them out of the question, William Hill rate Red Bull’s Vettel at 2/1 and that’s arguably the best bet.
In tomorrow’s big Super League clash, St Helens are just 4/11 via betway to emerge with the points from their trip to Hull KR (9/4, bet365) and the champions look decent value in the handicaps, where they’re penalised by eight points at odds of 10/11 (Paddy Power).
Bet of the week: Sebastian Vettel to win Malaysian GP (betting without Mercedes) – 2/1 (William Hill).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com