Northern Ireland face a daunting task when they travel to Vienna to face Austria in the Nations League on Friday night.
Despite failing to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, Austria have lost just one of their last 11 matches on home soil – a 3-0 reverse against Brazil.
Both of these nations were beaten by Bosnia and Herzegovina in their respective opening Nations League matches last month and, so, defeat here would effectively end any realistic prospect of finishing top of the group.
Given their hugely impressive home record, it is little surprise that Austria are available at just 1/2 (1.50) with to beat the boys from Belfast.
Michael O’Neill’s outfit have won just two of their last eight matches away from home and have failed to score in any of their last four fixtures on their travels.
Northern Ireland, then, can be backed at 6/1 (7.0) to buck that particular trend in Vienna, while the same firm go 3/1 (4.0) that the visitors pick up a precious point against Franco Foda’s men.
West Ham United striker, Marco Arnautovic, is expected to lead the line for the hosts. The 29-year-old striker has scored four goals in his last six games for the Hammers and will be looking to find that kind of form for his county.
Gareth McAuley and Conor Washington are absent from the Northern Ireland squad, but Tom Flanagan has been recalled while Aaron Hughes is back after missing last month’s matches against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Israel through injury.
Will Grigg, Kyle Lafferty, Liam Boyce and Josh Magennis have all been in decent scoring form at club level this season and O’Neill will hope that his forwards can demonstrate their firepower in the Austrian capital.
The odds compilers offer 5/1 (6.0) that O’Neill’s men manage two or more goals in this game, while the same firm go 9/1 (10.0) that Northern Ireland net in both halves.
However, this looks to be a tough assignment for Northern Ireland and ‘s 6/4 (2.50) quote for Austria (-1) to beat the handicap mark could represent real value for punters ahead of Friday’s fixture in Vienna.
Odds correct at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
Austria (-1) at 6/4 (2.50) for a 1pt stake at