France v Bulgaria – Stade de France at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 4
France will be hoping to bounce back after a disappointing draw with Belarus in their first World Cup qualifying match. They host Bulgaria, who come into the match as 22.75 underdogs. That gives the visitors a 2.25 goal advantage on the Asian Handicap market which can be backed at odds against.
After Les Bleus disappointment of losing to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on home soil, they will be desperate move on and focus on qualifying for the World Cup.
It looked as though the Cup was their’s, coming into the final as strong favourites. Thanks to Eder’s extra time winner though, it was Selecao who lifted the trophy in Paris.
In Didier Deschamps first competitive match since that defeat, they could only muster a 0-0 draw with minnows Belarus. In a group that also includes Sweden and the Netherlands, 3 points from this match is very important.
France travel to Holland on Monday, making this a very important international break for Deschamps where you feel at least 4 points is a must.
Antoine Griezmann finished the Euro’s with 6 goals, winning him the Golden Boot. He has also started the season well domestically, scoring 6 in 6 for Atletico Madrid. With Karim Benzema still not with the squad, and the likes of Martial and Giroud not really impressing recently, there is a lot of pressure on the Atleti man.
The Lions have failed to qualify for a major international tournament for 10 years now. Despite some players of real quality, they’ve been unable to hit the heights of the World Cup in 1994 where they reached the semi finals.
Bulgaria were drawn in a tough Euro 2016 qualifying group, which included Croatia, Norway and Italy. The Lions managed just 3 wins and 2 draws from their 10 matches. They were only defeated by more than one goal on one occasion however, a 3-0 reversal away to Croatia.
Petar Hubchev’s side have also defeated the European Champions this year 1-0 in Portugal, during a friendly in March. That result was followed up by a 2-0 win in Macedonia.
Two heavy defeats in the Kirin Cup at the hands of Japan (7-2) and Denmark (4-0) would have affected morale. But, they bounced back with a win, albeit a laboured one, over Luxembourg, 4-3 to start their WCQ2018 with 3 points.
I can’t really see Bulgaria upsetting the odds here and registering a win against the French. They have the slightly better head to head record, winning 7 of 14 head to heads, but France have won 5 of the last 6 on home soil. Bulgaria did come away victorious in their last meeting in France however, back in 2011.
Asian Handicap & BTTS
Although I can’t see the Lions walking away with three points, they do offer some value on the Asian Handicap market. France hardly set the tournament alight with their attacking performances in the Euro’s and drew a blank last time out against lowly Belarus.
The French are also vulnerable at the back, conceding in 4 of their last 7 home matches. In addition, Bulgaria were only beaten by more than a single goal once in their last qualifying campaign. This makes the visitors an attractive bet +2.25 on the Asian Handicap market.
I’m also recommending them to get on the score sheet, along with Les Bleus as Both Teams to Score looks great value at 2.75.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Bulgaria +2.25 at 2.02 & BTTS at 2.75
Prices correct at time of writing,
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