Preparations should start well for the Three Lions

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England’s performance across the World Cup qualifying campaign would probably be best described as solid but unspectacular.

But boss Roy Hodgson has seven months to fine-tune things before his team kicks a ball in next year’s tournament and the final preparations for the Three Lions begin this weekend as they entertain Chile.

Jorge Sampaoli’s troops have also made it to Brazil and they’re currently trading at 50/1 with to lift the trophy.

England meanwhile, are a significantly shorter 22/1 via betway and are expectd to confirm that assumed superiority at Wembley, where they’re odds-on at 10/11 (BetVictor) to emerge triumphant.

Skybet post 7/2 against the Chileans, Paddy Power chalk a stalemate up at 5/2 and it’s 18/5 at BetVictor to result in a score draw. But even accounting for the inevitable withdrawals from the squad, Hodgson’s men should make home advantage count to register a narrow success.

It’s 11/4 courtesy of bet365 for the Three Lions to come out on top by a one-goal margin, Stan James quote them at 7/2 to only secure the victory after an even first period and more specifically, Ladbrokes price the hosts at 7/1 to grab the game’s only goal.

Alternatively, punters expecting the friendly nature of the contest to mean a match tally of at least three goals (5/6, Stan James) can tackle bet365’s 15/2 about Hodgson’s charges finishing on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.

Elsewhere, betway quote hefty-looking odds of 7/10 for England to be the team that breaks the deadlock and in-form Manchester United front man Wayne Rooney is Ladbrokes’s 5/1 favourite to be the man to grab that opener.

However, injury doubts and the fact that Hodgson may wish to introduce some new faces, make it difficult to accurately predict who will start the game in attack so it may be worth considering a flutter in the ‘Anytime Goal Scorer’ market.

There, newcomer Jay Rodriguez is a 10/3 chance at William Hill and BetVictor rate his Southampton team mate Rickie Lambert at 13/5.

For Scotland, the friendly double-header against USA and Norway is about preparing for a serious crack at reaching Euro 2016.

The Scots finished strongly in qualifying for the World Cup and have undoubtedly improved under Gordon Strachan so it seems a touch strange that they’re a 2/1 shot with Stan James to get the better of the United States at Hampden Park.

Admittedly the visitors, 6/4 chances (Paddy Power), have made it to Brazil but they’re far from unbeatable and as Scotland have twice beaten Croatia in recent months, as well as giving England a run for their money at Wembley, they’re worth siding with in this one.

BetVictor make Strachan’s troops 17/2 to shade it 1-0 and returning Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher is a generous 6/1 via William Hill to open the scoring.

Bookies believe Northern Ireland are up against it in Turkey, Skybet considering them to be 7/1 underdogs and indeed it’s as high as 7/2 (bet365) for Michael O’Neill’s men just to snatch a draw.

Republic of Ireland by contrast, are just 2/5 with Paddy Power to usher in the new management regime with a victory over Latvia and on Saturday, BetVictor price Wales at a generous 13/10 to overcome Finland.

England have won both of their autumn Rugby Union internationals, against Australia and Argentina, but Stuart Lancaster’s men will have to step up their performance level significantly as they come face-to-face with the mighty All Blacks, Skybet’s 2/9 favourites at Twickenham.

The hosts are 4/1 (bet365) to make it three out of three but it’s hard to see them pulling off a memorable triumph against a strong New Zealand side and subsequently, those intent on backing England should head for the handicaps, where Paddy Power give them a dozen-point start at odds of 10/11.

Wales meanwhile, are 10/11 via bet365 to beat Argentina by more than nine in Cardiff, Stan James quote Australia at 4/5 to prevail in Ireland and South Africa are 10/11 with Ladbrokes to over Scotland’s 12-point advantage at Murrayfield.

Switching codes to Rugby League and the World Cup reaches the quarter-final stage this weekend. England are just 1/66 (William Hill) to book their place in the last four at France’s expense and although Steve McNamara’s troops are a banker to prevail, it’s their opponents that get the nod in the handicaps at 10/11 as BetVictor’s 36-point head start is a touch on the high side.

Bet of the week: Scotland to beat USA – 2/1 (Stan James).

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