Iran will have a chance to seal their expected qualification when they face Qatar in Group C on Thursday. The future word cup hosts showed little to no resistance against UAE, and despite pushing themselves in to an early lead, lost 4-1.
Qatar had previously been undefeated in 11 games, but against UAE was extremely disjointed. I expect that on Thursday we will see the difference between a side that are good enough to host a World Cup, and one that will only ever compete in one, and that’s because they’re hosting it.
Bookmakers are making Iran heavy favourites, although I wonder if there’s a little bit of value in the price. For my money you could justify Iran being a slimmer price, but 1.620 leaves open the possibility of a bet on the Asian Handicap.
The handicap is currently 0.75 and prices of 1.80 upwards are available. Depending on how you perceive value and the relevance of Qatar’s recent unbeaten run, there may be a bet to be had there.
If you were to try and make a case for Qatar covering the +0.75AH, then it would be that amongst their 11 game unbeaten run, they won 1-0 against Australia and kept a further seven clean sheets.
The only result that really strikes me as relevant of somewhat respectable is the 1-0 win over Australia, but that did come in their own conditions against an Australia team that was most definitely second string, with only Jedinak and Kruse starting that game from Australia’s team on Tuesday.
Whilst Qatar’s last five games have gone comfortably Over the goal mark, Iran have gone Under in nine of 10. Whilst I fully expect a clean sheet from Iran, I have to worry about what resistance Qatar will offer.
I’m not going to stick my neck out and say Iran are going to win this game 3-0, but I’m saying it’s not beyond them and I don’t see enough value in the goals market.
Under 2.5 is an incredibly poor price at 1.53 with BetVictor, and this in a game pitting a World Cup qualifier against a team who just conceded four in the opening group game?
I think the handicap is a much wiser selection. This fixture has thrown up an even contest over the years, but Qatar have never beaten Iran outside of Qatar.
A lot of this current group have been in the squad for three or more years now, and in that time they’ve proved to be one of the best groups of players Iran have produced.
Iran always reach the knockout stages and they’ve never lost over 90 minutes in this competition.
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