World Cup qualifiers Asia and South America take priority over International Friendlies. April Fool's Day sees a return to league action and more detailed stats-based research. The research here is more opinion-based.
10:00 - Australia v UAE - 1.37 Australia
- This world cup qualifier Asia sees Australia 3 points behind Saudi Arabia and Japan why? DRAWS.
- Australia have had 4 consecutive score draws, either 1-1 or 2-2. They are priced to end that sequence today.
- They beat the UAE 0-1 the last time these 2 met, care of a 75th minute goal.
- UAE are only a point behind Australia but in stark contrast they avoid draws.
- UAE have lost to the top 3 already and beaten other side.
- I would have to lay any late score draw in the hope that the Ozzie score draw sequence is put to an end.
11:35 - Japan v Thailand - 1.11 Japan
- Thailand have a single point in Group B and have been rather 'found out'.
- Japan are 2nd. With Australia having an apparently winnable game today, Japan must win here and the odds suggest comfortably so.
- Japan beat Thailand 0-2 earlier and seem to only score 2 in their wins. So expectation is for a possibly functional win today rather than the 3/4 goals that go with a 1.11 quote.
- 3 consecutive home 2-1 scorelines for Japan, one was a loss, the other 2 wins. Japan have not convinced in those wins. The winners came in the 90th and 80th minutes.
- 2-3-4-2-3 conceded by Thailand so far, and that fits in with the 1.11 odds quote.
- Expectation is for an easy home win, scoring 2+ goals. I could see Thailand try and frustrate. The Thais though are woefully inadequate in the final third.
- If a tight match, expect a late late Japan goal 80th+ minute.
12:00 - South Korea v Syria - 1.23 South Korea
- Group A is very tight with only Iran managing to build up a points gap at the top.
- Apart from that, all is to play for today and from the standings in the group, this might be tighter than the odds suggest.
- At home, Korea have won 3-2, 3-2 and 2-1 so Syria might get a chance of a goal today. Korea were actually losing v Qatar and Uzbekistan but were emphatically 3-0 ahead v China.
- Syria are ultra defensive, keeping South Korea to a 0-0 when they met earlier. This was followed by a 0-1 win v China, 1-0 loss to Qatar, 0-0 v Iran and 1-0 win v Uzbekistan.
- What a contrast between the teams. I will back 0-0 pre-match and hope that the Syrian defence is on top here, at least until halftime.
13:00 - Iran v China - 1.62 Iran
- 0-0 the last time these 2 met.
- Iran lead Group A and China are 2nd bottom and struggling.
- Iran are yet to concede a goal which is, of course, the best foundation for any match. Their last 3 wins have been 1-0.
- China beat Korea 1-0 at home latest, against the run of play and the odds. Prior to that, China failed to score in 4 consecutive matches.
- China have conceded 3 and 2 goals away.
- 0-0 must be in play here but Iran did score their single goal 25th minute last match.
- Iran must be favoured here given their superb defensive record. Can they score?
- I would lay any late 0-0.
14:00 - Uzbekistan v Qatar - 1.97 UZ
- Uzbekistan have a real chance of qualifying. Qatar do not. Uzbeks are 3rd in Group A.
- No draw yet for the Uzbeks this campaign. 2 of their wins were 1-0 featuring very late goals v Syria and Qatar.
- Uzbeks at home are highly unlikely to score 2 goals so note that if Qatar score first.
- 0-0-2-1-0-0 scored by Qatar this campaign. A solitary win was 1-0.
- Not really a match to catch my imagination. If you wanted a play, back 0-0 pre match and hope the match is 0-0 at halftime. It was only a tight and late win when these 2 last met.
18:30 - Saudi Arabia v Iraq - 1.64 Saudi
- Saudi Arabia continue to impress in Group B and are top with Japan on 13 points. I did think their odds would be shorter against a hapless Iraq.
- Saudis beat Iraq 1-2 earlier in the campaign after Iraq took the lead. Saudis required 2 penalties. Perhaps that is the story behind the relatively high odds for top v 2nd bottom?
- 2-2-3-1-3 scored by the Saudis this campaign is impressive. Their sole defeat was v Japan.
- Iraq have struggled but have never been trounced. 2-0 loss to Australia, 1-2 v Iraq, 2-1 v Japan,4-0 win v Thailand, 2-0 loss to UAE and 1-1 v Australia.
- Iraq seem to be defensively good but concede late. 90th minutes v Japan and UAE for example.
- The Saudis should not lose today. I would not discount both teams scoring. I would lay Iraq were Iraq to score first.
21:00 - Bolivia v Argentina - 1.86 Argentina
- The South America World Cup qualifiers see a single group in a table format.
- Bolivia are 2nd bottom and Argentina are 3rd.
- Qualification began it seems way back in 2015.
- In that time Bolivia have only 2 wins. 8 of their defeats were to nil, including a 2-0 at Argentina.
- Bolivia have a distinct home advantage as their stadium is 11,932 feet above sea level.
- We see a more livelier Bolivia at home. 4-2-0-2-1 goals scored in their 5 World Cup qualifiers at home.
- They have, though, conceded 2-2-3-3-2-0 and meet the likes of Messi, Lavezzi, Aguero tonight!
- Argentina have lost to Ecuador, Paraguay and Brazil this campaign.
- Away from home, Argentina are clearly vulnerable. 2-2, 2-2, 3-0 loss last 3 matches.
- I do feel that Argentina may have too much fire power for the Bolivians who, admittedly, tend to turn up at home and get on the scoresheet.
- 2-2 is not inconcievable from a trading standpoint if we can get Bolivia to score and score first.
- Argentina should not be losing tonight and should be scoring 2 goals at least.
22:00 - Ecuador v Colombia - 2.14 Ecuador
- 5th and 4th in the Group, these 2 teams are well-placed to qualify if putting together a run of results.
- Ecuador flew out of the blocks with wins v big hitters Argentina and Uruguay. In the next 9 matches, they only managed 2 wins.
- Ecuador matches tend to see over 2.5 goals.
- In all qualifiers, at least one of the teams has scored at least 2 goals.
- Ecuador really look solid at home. Yes they lost to Brazil, but in other matches have scored 2-2-2-3-3. If they can continue scoring 2 or 3 goals, that is a solid foundation.
- Colombia have had a good campaign. Note the teams who have beaten them - Argentina twice, Brazil and Uruguay
- Colombia beat Ecuador 3-1 at home.
- Colombia's 3 defeats away came v the 3 teams I mentioned earlier.
- This is a tough puzzle to solve. We have an Ecuador scoring 2/3 goals at home who lost 3-1 away at Colombia. Can Ecuador continue to score 2/3 goals today?
- We have a Colombia losing to the 3 South American teams that are best known outside of the continent. Note too that these are 3 side with strong attacking instincts. Can we lump Ecuador at home into that category? If so, then Ecuador are favoured today.
- Over 2.5 goals should continue at least today.
23:00 - Chile v Venezuela - 1.25 Chile
- 6th v bottom of the South American World Cup qualifier group and Chile are in a battle for qualification but can help their cause with 3 points which could even catapult them to 2nd.
- Chile are solid at home, that much seems clear. 3-0, 2-1 and 3-1 now in their last 3 home matches. If they keep Sanchez and Vidal fit, then they should win tonight.
- Only 1 win for Venezuela was v Bolivia.
- In 11 of their last 12 matches, Venezuela conceded at least 2 goals.
- We should expect a Chile win, scoring 2/3 goals today.
Here is a list of International Friendlies. I will not be researching these matches. European Leagues return this weekend and I am sure International Managers have been requested to rest some of the stars, at least for a half. I list them below if you want to play. I am taken by the Estonia v Croatia match as Estonia are a small step up from the minnows. Apart from that, the friendlies are not very readable. If you want to play, use in-play stats such as those found at www.williamhill.com. I would rather my time was spend on the weekend league matches where we are likelier to make profits.
15:00 - Georgia v Latvia - 1.94 Georgia
15:00 - Estonia v Croatia - 1.63 Croatia
17:00 - Russia v Belgium - 2.36 Belgium
17:00 - FYR Macedonia v Belarus - 2.68 FYR
18:00 - South Africa v Angola - 1.29 SA
19:00 - Morocco v Tunisia - 1.99 Morocco
19:00 - Luxembourg v Cape Verde Islands - 2.46 Cape Verde
19:45 - Rep of Ireland v Iceland - 2.2 REP
19:45 - Portugal v Sweden - 1.67 Port
19:45 - Netherlands v Italy - 2.66 Italy
19:45 - Austria v Finland - 1.45 Austria
20:00 - France v Spain - 2.3 France