Republic of Ireland v Georgia – Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 2
My second Asian Handicap preview for Thursday see’s the The Boys in Green host Georgia.
The Irish will be hoping to add to their point earned against Serbia in their opening group match.
These two sides know each other well, having been drawn in the same Euro 2016 group. Ireland won both matches but were put through their paces.
Ireland are 1.47 favourites which is a bit on the short side, but offer some value on the Asian Handicap half time market.
Republic of Ireland
Since their brave performance at the Euro’s this Summer, Martin O’Neill’s men have beaten Oman 4-0 and drew with Serbia away 2-2.
O’Neill and Roy Keane have developed Ireland into a solid side, run on energy and passion. They also have some quality players and despite being in a bit of a transition, it hasn’t slowed them down.
Players like Seamus Coleman, Wes Hoolahan, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick have all been excellent in recent games. They will have to be at their best if they are to qualify out of this tough group which also includes Austria and Wales.
As mentioned, Ireland know Georgia well having defeated them twice in Euro 2016 qualifying. It took a 90th minute winner from Aiden McGeady in Tbilisi though and a 2nd half goal from Jon Walters in Dublin. Both matches were won by a single goal and Ireland should expect another tough test on Thursday.
Martin O’Neill has stressed the importance of a good start here and I expect them to take a lead into half time, as they did against Serbia. That won’t mean the match will be over however, there will be a lot of work still to do.
The visitors come into the match having won just once in their last 9 games. That match win was against Spain in a friendly prior to the Euro’s.
The Crusaders’ last competitive win was a 1-0 victory at home to Scotland in September 2015. It was their 3rd and final win in qualifying. They also suffered 7 defeats and ended with a negative goal difference of 7. Which isn’t too bad having suffered as many defeats. Defeating Gibraltar 3-0 and 4-0, is what kept that down though.
Georgia have also already suffered a couple of demoralising defeats this year at the hands of Romania and Slovakia and it has to be said that Ireland pose a tougher test than either of those.
It’s going to be very hard for the visitors to get a result here, but showed they have heart after really making a game of the second half, in their 2-1 opening group match defeat to Austria. It may take them time to get settled here, but once they do, they shouldn’t get turned over.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals
I’m staying away from the full time Asian Handicap market for this one as I think the Irish could once gain win this one by a single goal. With the AH line at -1 we’d be heading for a push and we’re here to make money.
My attention was caught by the half time line of -0.5 at a price of 2.14. Although Ireland needed second half goals to defeat Georgia in their last 2 meetings, I’m expecting them to start quickly.
The price on the Overs market here is also a surprise. Over 2 goals on the Asian line is priced at 1.86. Although the visitors could be looking to play it tight, when they go a goal down, it will open things up.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Republic of Ireland -0.5 FH at 1.96 & Over 2 goals at 1.86
Prices correct at time of writing,
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