England can all but book their place in Russia for World Cup 2018 by winning their next qualification match… and what a time to do it against their old rivals Scotland.
The rivalry between these two transcends sport and politics, and few ties are as mouth-watering as this in international football.
All of which made England’s stroll to victory at the Scots back in November all the more surprising. Gareth Southgate’s men triumphed by a resounding 3-0 scoreline with goals from Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill, and Scotland will be desperate to perform better at Hampden Park when the two teams meet there.
The bad news for the hosts is that they haven’t beaten England on home soil since 1985, so they will need to stir up some atmosphere if they are to take anything from this game and spoil English hopes of putting one foot in the World Cup itself.
Can they do it?
1. Betting Odds - Bookies Choice
Given the convincing nature of England’s victory over the Scots at Wembley, it’s no surprise to see the bookmakers pricing them as a comfortable favourite at 1.88 for this game.
Clearly the bookies see nothing in this Scotland side to get excited about, and that’s why the hosts are considered a rank outsider at 4.80. The draw can be backed at 3.65.
2. Scotland vs England Betting Tips
It is apparent that England are making good progress under Southgate’s stewardship. The resounding victories over Scotland and Lithuania have been backed by decent efforts in a 2-2 stalemate with Spain and a 0-1 defeat to Germany in which England were arguably the better side.
Unfortunately for them, Scotland don’t appear to be improving as steadily under Gordon Strachan, and while results have been wildly mixed at least the 1-0 win over Slovenia last time out has restored some confidence in the team. On home soil at least they remain a tough nut to crack: W5 D3 L2 is their most recent form at Hampden Park.
It’s no surprise to see them perform well there. The Scots are a proud and passionate bunch, and they will whip up an atmosphere at Hampden that stirs on their players. There’s steel in that midfield (Darren Fletcher, Scott Brown), creativity higher up the pitch (Robert Snodgrass, Matt Ritchie) and in Leigh Griffiths they possess a frontman who knows how to put the ball in the net.
But defensively there are question marks, and clearly their players haven’t the elite level experience of the English in laying in title-winning sides or Champions League contenders at club level. That can make a huge difference when the pressure is on.
And so yes, we’re happy to suggest an England victory is likely. However, we certainly don’t think it will be as resounding as their 3-0 triumph at Wembley, and the Scots in front of their own fans will make life very difficult for their opponents.
So our betting play for this one will be Scotland with a +1.25 Asian Handicap, which can be a good pick.
Scotland boast an excellent record at Hampden Park – how will that impact upon this match? But England are rightful favourites and they have won on Scottish soil plenty of times in the past. Expect a cagey, feisty affair here!