Belarus vs Bulgaria
Competition: Europe World Cup Qualifying
Date: 9 June 2017
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
The first round of the group games left Belarus with a bittersweet taste. They did start with a surprise draw at home to France, and they definitely fought bravely in Bulgaria (no matter if they lost 1-0), but on the other hand, they didn’t avoid heavy defeats in the Netherlands and Sweden, and, maybe worst of all, they dropped two points at home versus Luxembourg, a result that practically threw to the dustbin the good impressions they had left against France. At this stage, all Belarus want is to put in some good performances, and if a positive result comes along, all the better. Their problem number one has been scoring. They have sent the ball in just twice in five games. Even Luxembourg have three times that tally.
Bulgaria have taken perfect advantage of their home games so far. If wins over Luxembourg (4-3) and Belarus (1-0) were to be expected, their latest over the Netherlands (2-0) was the one that really… put them on the map in this group stage, and allowed them to start dreaming of finishing second. They are just one point behind Sweden, who beat them easily (3-0), but, the Bulgarians are hosting their north European opponents later in the qualifiers, so as long as they manage to stay up to two points behind them, they will have every reason to hope for a miracle, while also keeping an eye behind their back, as fourth-placed Netherlands should not be written off, not just yet.
Belarus vs Bulgaria: Head-to-head Stats
Belarus have hosted Bulgaria twice before. Ten years ago, in a Euro 2008 qualifier, the visitors won 2-0. More recently, in August 2011, Belarus won 1-0, but it was just a friendly game.
Belarus vs Bulgaria: Prediction
Belarus are considered, for some reason that I truly don’t understand, more or less clear favorites to win this game, which suits me just fine, because it makes ‘draw or Bulgaria’ pay better than what I expected.
Belarus vs Bulgaria: Tips
‘Draw or Bulgaria’ is at 1.60. Between the two, I feel a draw is much more probable, at 3.10. I would take an even bigger risk, and bet on the game not only to end in a draw, but also have less than 2.5 goals. This pays 3.60. I hesitate to back Bulgaria to win, away from home they have been very poor (but then again, it was against France and Sweden), so I would only bet on them to win in a ‘draw no bet’. A Bulgaria victory then, pays 2.20.