The inaugural UEFA Nations League continues this week as a shorthanded England squad will face a tough task against a scrappy side from Switzerland on Tuesday. We break down this game and more with a full slate of soccer odds and analysis.
England Shorthanded vs. Swiss
England are facing a shortage of skill players as they prepare to face Switzerland on Tuesday in an international friendly. The English are reeling after dropping a 2-1 decision to Spain in their UEFA Nations League opener, and will likely be without Luke Shaw (head) and Marcus Rashford (hamstring). Coupled with Dele Alli having withdrawn from the team, that leaves England – who are -138 favorites – to rely heavily on Harry Kane up front. Kane is installed at -120 to score anytime, and +260 to score in each individual half. Switzerland (+400) are on a high after trouncing Iceland 6-0 in their Nations League opener.
Betting Big on Belgium?
After watching how poorly Iceland fared against the Swiss, it's increasingly hard to believe the team qualified for the World Cup. The good times have faded fast for the small island nation, which will look to bounce back Tuesday as it continues its Nations League schedule against Belgium. The absences of roster veterans Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Aron Gunnarsson and Alfred Finnbogason will make things even more difficult for an Iceland side that comes in as a +1,000 underdog. Belgium are -300 to prevail, and are worth a look to win by exactly two (+275) or three goals (+450).
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It's hard to believe, but the Croatian entry at the UEFA Nations League looks vastly different from the one that captured runner-up honors at this summer's World Cup. Croatia settled for a draw in their opener against a Portuguese side missing Cristiano Ronaldo, and will be in tough Tuesday as they tangle with host Spain. The post-World Cup retirements of Danijel Subasic and Mario Mandzukic have resulted in major depth issues for the Croatians, who are hefty +450 underdogs. The Spanish, who come in at -138, are coming off an impressive 2-1 victory over England this past weekend.
One of the more interesting – and evenly-matched – international friendlies this week pits host South Korea against Chile. The South Koreans are slight +187 underdogs but have played some inspired soccer of late, finishing up their World Cup sked with a stunning 2-0 win over Germany and following that up with a 2-0 triumph over Costa Rica last week. The Chileans (+137) had hoped to shake off their international rust against Japan last week, but their friendly was cancelled after a powerful earthquake struck Hokkaido. A third straight South Korea two-goal victory is listed at an intriguing +700.
* Austria have been one of the stronger teams in international play this year, having racked up five victories in six matches – three of them coming by multiple goals, including a 2-0 triumph over Sweden last week. The Austrians are +200 against Bosnia-Herzegovina (+155) in UEFA Nations League action Tuesday, with a two-goal Austria win paying out at +700.
* The United States and Mexico will do battle Tuesday in the latest edition of their geographical rivalry – and there have been plenty of goals scored, with the teams averaging three tallies per game over their past six meetings. The over on the 2.5-goal total is paying an attractive +125 for this one, with the Mexicans slight faves to prevail at +137; the U.S. is +200.
* Goals have been hard to come by for Colombia in its recent head-to-head series with South American rival Argentina. The Colombians have been shut out in six of their previous seven matches against the world powers, producing only one goal in that span. Undermanned Argentina is a +162 option for a clean sheet in their international friendly in Colombia on Tuesday.
* Panama and Venezuela have played each other tough so far in the 2010s, having settled for draws in four of their past six meetings – including each of their previous two. Oddsmakers are also expecting a tightly-contested affair Tuesday in their international friendly, making Panama (+160) a slight favorite over Venezuela (+200) with the draw at +190.
* Home pitch has made all the difference for Ireland in international play this season; the home side has outscored the visitors 9-2 in their four matches in 2018, with the Irish hosting just once – and prevailing 2-1 over the United States in that one. Poland are the home side for Tuesday's international friendly with Ireland, and are overwhelming -182 favorites.
* It will surprise no one to see that Brazil are a whopping -2,500 for their international encounter with global soccer minnow El Salvador (+2,500). But just how one-sided will this one be? The Brazilians haven't beaten a team by more than two goals in any of their past six matches, but are installed at -110 to win this one by four-plus goals.
* Northern Ireland and Isreal face off for the first time in five years Tuesday. The teams have drawn two of their three previous meetings, while going under the 2.5-goal total in all three. Northern Ireland are the favorites at +100, but bettors might want to consider either a Northern Ireland-Under play (+260), or a Draw-Under double-up (+260).
* Palestine would love nothing more than to figure out how to score in Qatar as the Middle East rivals square off Tuesday. The Palestineans have yet to produce a goal in three consecutive games against the Qataris, though the sides haven't faced off since 2013. You'll get +700 for a scoreless draw, +450 for a 1-0 Qatar win and +600 for a two-goal triumph.
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* Italy will face Portugal without the services of Mario Balotelli. The 28-year-old looked sluggish in Friday's uninspiring draw with Poland; Balotelli suggested he was dealing with a muscular problem, while coach Roberto Mancini said it was a fitness issue. Italy is listed at +150 to score more than one goal against the Portuguese.
* Leicester City have shored up their back line with the signing of standout defender Harry Maguire to a five-year contract extension. Maguire was a key member of the English side that reached this summer's World Cup semifinals. Leicester City have earned six points in four matches his season; they resume EPL play as +200 'dogs Saturday vs. host Bournemouth.