Three Lions emphatic favourites to see off Slovenia

England captain Wayne Rooney
England captain Wayne Rooney

England have made an excellent start to Euro 2016 qualifying, winning their opening three matches without conceding a goal.

And if results go their way this weekend, Roy Hodgson’s boys could find themselves a whopping six points clear at the summit of Group E.

Subsequently, they’re just 1/8 at BetVictor to ultimately get to France by claiming top spot in the pool and those odds could fall yet further if the Three Lions are able to get the better of second-placed Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday.

Inevitably given their home advantage and solid form, England are emphatic favourites to land a maximum haul, Stan James pricing them at 1/3 while the confident visitors will believe that they’ve been underestimated by Ladbrokes, who chalk them up at 11/1 despite their back-to-back victories against Switzerland and Lithuania.

Hodgson’s men toiled in Estonia last time out, Wayne Rooney’s free-kick settling matters 17 minutes from full-time and the trouble they had penetrating a committed Estonian defence might prompt one or two punters to back a stalemate in this one at 4/1 via bet365.

Similarly, there could be market support for a frustrating, goalless encounter at 21/2 (BetVictor) in a contest that looks set to be far from straightforward for the hosts but the Slovenians have already lost in Tallinn during this campaign and in front of their own supporters, the Three Lions should edge it.

The pair’s last meeting, in the 2010 World Cup, saw England prevail 1-0 and a repeat of that scoreline isn’t out of the question at 9/2 courtesy of betway. Alternatively, Skybet rate any triumph for the home side by a one-goal margin at 5/2 and William Hill go 16/5 about Hodgson’s charges coming out on top following an inconclusive first period.

In attack, Wayne Rooney (10/3, bet365) and Danny Welbeck (4/1, Paddy Power) dominate the first scorer betting but there might be some value in thinking slightly outside of the box where goals are concerned.

As there’s every chance England will struggle to break down the visitors, set-pieces could prove crucial and Phil Jagielka, who has struck four times in 11 outings for club and country, is a definite a threat in that department. make the Everton man 33/1 to break the deadlock and he’s 14/1 at bet365 to notch at any stage. At the other end, meanwhile, Stan James make Hodgson’s troops 4/5 to combine victory with a clean sheet.

Assuming Germany’s defeat in Poland, not to mention the home draw with Ireland, were merely blips and the world champions will climb to the top of the table, the runners-up spot in Group D looks set to be a three-way battle.

So the importance of tomorrow’s (Friday) clash between two of those sides – Scotland and the aforementioned Irish – can’t be overestimated.

The Scots enjoy home advantage, which accounts for their status as Stan James’s 13/10 jollies at Hampden Park while BetVictor rate the visitors at 9/4 to put a huge dent in Scottish qualification hopes and it’s 21/10 (bet365) for the spoils to be shared.

The latter is set to prove popular and there could also be cash for BetVictor’s 19/5, posted against a score draw but if the Irish look to settle for a point their strategy might backfire so the Scots could nick it – they’re 11/4 (Stan James) to nick it by a one-goal margin and 9/1 with betway to record a 2-1 triumph.

In Group F, Northern Ireland’s blistering start has seen them triumph in both Greece and Hungary but they remain BetVictor’s 6/1 underdogs to overhaul Romania (8/13, William Hill).

Like Michael O’Neill’s side, Wales top their group but they’re also huge outsiders, this time at 12/1 with, as they visit a talented Belgium outfit.

The second round of autumn internationals in Rugby Union pitches England against South Africa and Stuart Lancaster’s men are 5/6 with Stan James to bounce back from the defeat to the All Blacks by seeing off the Springboks (6/5, BetVictor) at Twickenham.

As favourites, the hosts are penalised slightly in the handicaps but Ladbrokes only give them a point to overhaul at 10/11, which is a touch higher than the match odds.

At Murrayfield, meanwhile, Skybet quote Scotland at 16/1 to get the better of New Zealand, betway giving the Scots a 25-point start at 19/20 and also on Saturday, BetVictor rate Wales at 10/11 to defeat Fiji by more than 23 in Cardiff.

Bet of the week: England to beat Slovenia by one – 5/2 (Skybet).

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