England vs Ukraine Picks and Predictions: Rice Is the Key for England

In what could be an extremely lopsided matchup at Wembley Stadium, we head to the cards as the value may lie with one of England's key players getting booked. Find out why by reading our England vs. Ukraine betting picks.

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2023 5:10 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Declan Rice England
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Sunday sees more EURO 2024 qualification action as England are set to face Ukraine at Wembley Stadium.

This is Ukraine’s first game in this year’s qualifiers, while England enter this Group C clash in good form after picking up a valuable away win over Italy.

Can Ukraine put a dent in England’s qualifying hopes? Don’t miss our England vs. Ukraine picks and predictions.

England vs Ukraine best odds

England Ukraine
-350 Moneyline +1,100
+400 Draw +400
Over 2.5 (-143) Total Under 2.5 (+110)

Odds courtesy of bet365 on March 24, 2023.

England vs Ukraine picks and predictions

Sunday gives us an interesting clash between England and Ukraine as both teams try to qualify for the 2024 European Championships. Potentially a third of the Ukrainian starting lineup will be playing for clubs in England, so these two teams should know each other fairly well ahead of kick-off.

The headlines focused on captain Harry Kane in England's latest 2-1 win over Italy, but it also featured Declan Rice finding his name in the referee’s book.

Rice is now on one yellow card for this qualifying campaign and players receive a one-game suspension when they pick up two yellow cards. With some tricky games coming up, it’s fair to say that England really can’t afford to be without their best players, of which Rice is one.

If you look at England’s schedule, you can see their next game is on the road against a Malta roster that rank 167th on the road. If there was one game when England be fine with the absence of Rice, it would be that one.

We’ve seen time and again in the past that quite often when players are on the edge of a ban, they conveniently find themselves getting booked and then missing easy games that won’t impact the team too much. Rice is generally good at running the disciplinary tightrope and has only picked up four bookings in 26 Premier League games, so we aren’t placing this bet based on lots of evidence that he’ll get booked, but more speculation that it might potentially suit him and England.

I think there’s a very good chance at least one of those England players currently on a yellow card might get booked on Sunday, and Rice makes the most sense, both in terms of his importance to the team and also his potential to get booked given that he’ll be in a midfield battle all game.

My best bet: Declan Rice to get booked (+525 at BetRivers)

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England vs Ukraine side analysis

Both teams are likely to line up in a 4-3-3 and we’ll probably see Southgate send out a similar England team to the one we saw in Italy on Thursday. Maguire and John Stones will be in the backline but we will see change at fullback. Ben Chilwell will come in for the suspended Shaw at left-back, and we could see Reece James in place of Kyle Walker on the other flank.

The midfield was great in the first half against Italy so we’ll probably see the Rice, Jude Bellingham, and Kalvin Phillips trio again. Harry Kane will start again and Bukayo Saka is surely set to play alongside him given how dangerous he looked midweek. Jack Grealish was solid against Italy but he might get a rest with Phil Foden potentially starting in place.

We saw in World Cup qualifying that Ukraine have the potential to really damage teams, thanks to Myhailio Mudryk’s electric pace and Roman Yaremchuk being a physically strong and dominant number nine. As always, Zinchenko will be their key man as always, as he's a very underrated player who is only starting to get the credit that he deserves since leaving Manchester City.

International soccer is a tough sport to predict but it’s really hard to look beyond England winning this in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd. 

England vs Ukraine Over/Under analysis

I’d really recommend backing Over 2.5 goals. While the Over is the shortest price of the two options, it’s tough to see this matchup being low scoring.

England scored twice in Italy and should have no trouble putting a few past Ukraine. They also played five home games in 2022, with those games seeing 16 goals and just one hitting the Under.

Although it’s a new year, this team still has the same core of players and we should see another goal-fest on Sunday.

England vs Ukraine game info

Location: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Date: Sunday, March 26, 2023
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET

England vs Ukraine key injuries

England: Text.
Ukraine: Text.

England vs Ukraine weather

It’ll be a cloudy but dry day in London with temperatures in the mid-50s.

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