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UEFA Nations League Betting Picks for England vs. Croatia and Switzerland vs. Belgium

| November 17, 2018 12:00 am PDT
UEFA Nations League Betting Picks

The first edition of the UEFA Nations League is heating up. The group stage of the tournament is coming to an end, which makes each game crucial.

We will know the winners that will go through to the next phase and fight for a place in the 2020 European Championship by next week.

I see this as a good moment to explore the remaining games and find some exciting betting opportunities. So, in today’s post, I will focus on the matches that will be played on Sunday, November 18th.

To start with, I’ll check the betting odds provided by the leading soccer bookmakers on the market. Then I’ll go from there and see where the betting value lies.

England vs. Croatia

Let’s start with the top betting markets for this game.

England to Win1.87
Draw3.60
Croatia4.00
Over 2.50 Goals1.77
Under 2.50 Goals2.00

This has been one of the most exciting groups of the whole tournament. With one game left to play, each side has the chance to progress.

Spain was the favorite to win the group at the outset and initially looked like they were living up to that billing. But two defeats in a row have meant that a win for either England or Croatia would result in the victorious team taking the top spot.

There’s also the possibility of a suicidal draw that will open the door for Spain to go through. Exciting stuff, as both England and Croatia HAVE to win to reach the next stage.

England seems to be the natural favorite here after beating Spain and dominating the USA in its last two games. The home advantage and the good form of the country are the reasons behind the odds of the bookies.

You would normally expect the prices for the goals market to be much closer, but the must-win situation of both teams explains them as well. They simply can’t afford the draw.

I don’t expect either side to go gung-ho from the start, but this will eventually happen. As a result, the over/under market is very tricky.

Let’s take a look at both teams before I share my final UEFA Nations League betting picks.

England

England struggled a bit at the start of the UEFA Nations League, losing against Spain at home and drawing versus Croatia.

The chances of the country to go through looked bleak, but an impressive win against Spain means that now England has complete control over its own fate.

If the Three Lions defeat Croatia on Sunday, they will win the group and progress to the next stage of the competition.

England had a solid warm-up for the final clash of the UEFA Nations League by beating the USA 3-0 this week.

It was Wayne Rooney’s return for one final game with the English kit but also a chance for Gareth Southgate to test some new players. The manager sent a young starting lineup that impressed a lot. His boys were able to create chances almost at will.

To be fair, I don’t think we should draw too many conclusions from this game, though. Croatia is a much stronger side that will be fully motivated to win the match and the group as well. I expect the visitors to mostly defend in the first half, which should give England a lot of the ball.

The likes of Dele Alli, the rested Harry Kane, and Raheem Sterling will be expected to make the difference under the circumstances.

I think they are in fine shape, while Gareth Southgate has managed to install a system that provides a lot of support from the full-backs that provide a much-needed width up front.

I think England will certainly create some chances from open play, and the team is also deadly from set pieces. If the home side scores first, I believe it will go on to win the match at the end.

However, if Croatia does so, this could be a big problem. The pressure will start building, and the visitors have enough players to control the tempo and defend well.

I believe that Southgate is aware of that, so he will instruct his men to stay patient and attack without leaving too much space at the back.

Croatia

Croatia set completely new standards after reaching the World Cup final this summer in Russia. The fans and the experts expect more from the country now, which put them under some pressure at the start of the Nations Cup.

It was slow and included a humiliating defeat when Spain humbled Croatia by beating them 6-0. The scoreline flattered the hosts to an extent, but it was still a very bad game from the vice-world champions.

They responded in the best possible way, though, beating Spain this Thursday. It was a dramatic 3-2 victory sealed in the last minute of the match. It restored the pride of Croatia and also put the team in contention.

Another victory on Sunday would be enough for the Balkan country to reach the next stage of the UEFA Nations League.

The momentum from the Spain victory certainly gives Croatia a chance in this game.

Despite losing Mandzukic and other experienced players that were instrumental in the World Cup, the side still has plenty of exceptional individuals like Perisic, Modric, and Rakitic. They can create, score, and control the midfield when required.

I expect to see them try to play it a bit cautious at the start on Sunday and hit England on the counter. The game plan would be to get the first goal, defend fiercely, and close the match, using the space the home side would eventually leave.

The problem with Croatia is that the side doesn’t really know how to defend that well. This is why I feel the team will actually end up going behind and will have to push hard for an equalizer.

Betting Pick and Prediction

I’m in a very strange spot for this match, as I feel that the beginning will be conservative for both teams. Croatia will play with the idea of keeping a clean sheet and going for it in the second half.

At the same time, England will probably have more of the ball without being too reckless.

The game will potentially be quiet in the first half but could go crazy in the second. I’m inclined to go for the over 2.5 goals, but I believe that waiting for 20-30 minutes without the goal at the start and taking a higher price live is the better approach.

Instead, I will try a bit of a wicked market for my final pre-game pick. I believe that both teams will find the net because they are too strong up front. Still, England’s home advantage and better defense should be enough to win.

One of my favorite bookies, Betway, offers the price of 3.60 for England to win and both sides to score. Since I expect something like 2-1 or even 3-2, this would be my final pick.

PICKEngland to Win and Both Teams to Score3.60

Switzerland vs. Belgium

Let’s take a look at the prices offered for the most popular betting markets for this UEFA Nations League match.

Switzerland to Win3.30
Draw3.30
Belgium to Win2.20
Over 2.5 Goals1.95
Under 2.5 Goals1.83

This game is a direct duel for the first place in the group and the right to continue in the next stage of the UEFA Nations League. Before I move on to my quick thoughts about the teams and the markets, let’s just clarify the possible scenarios.

If Belgium wins or draws this match, the team will automatically qualify for the next stage. If Switzerland wins 1-0, 2-1, or with a bigger difference than one goal, it’ll be the Swiss going through.

Simply put, the situation is wide open, and the hosts have a realistic chance of winning the group.

With that said, I agree with the bookie’s assessment that Belgium is the slight favorite, but Switzerland shouldn’t be underestimated. The team is solid and will have the home advantage. To an extent, I feel the odds are rather accurate.

I could say the same when it comes to the goals market. It’s a close one, as I don’t see Switzerland pushing hard from the first minute, but the home team will eventually have to try and find a winner if the game isn’t going according to plan.

At the same time, Belgium has a bunch of quality players up front, so the team could always punish the opposition.

Let’s dig a bit deeper.

Switzerland

Switzerland has always been a weird team for me. Despite lacking some exceptional individual quality, the country has managed to stay consistently strong and play in the finals of almost every major competition in the past 20 years or so.

You could often see Switzerland reaching the knockout stages, as well, so the country deserves a lot of respect. The current squad has some solid players like Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, as well as a lot of discipline and tactical awareness.

One could say that both were absent in the shocking defeat against Qatar this week, but I don’t think you should consider this game at all. It was just a filler, to be honest, and I feel that the whole squad and the coach had their minds on the decider against Belgium.

Switzerland should feel confident, as they were more than a match for Belgium in the first game.

The individual quality Belgium can boast made the difference when they played Switzerland in October, but it was a rather tight clash that could’ve gone either way.

Switzerland was composed at the back and did a good job protecting the defense from the middle of the park and keeping the ball for decent periods of the game.

I expect more of the same this time around. The hosts will patiently make sure not to let Belgium’s attack have many chances, while trying to find a way to score.

I think that keeping a clean sheet will be the key for Switzerland. If the game is still goalless later on, this would put enough pressure on Belgium, as 1-0 would be enough for the home team.

Belgium

Belgium’s golden generation of players had been underperforming for years before finally reaching the last four of the 2018 World Cup.

I believe this boost to the confidence of the side will certainly provide a platform for future success, as many of the leading players have a couple of years left in their prime.

The UEFA Nations League is not exactly the most prestigious international soccer tournament, but it’s a good place to build winning habits for Belgium.

The third-place finishers from the World Cup have managed to get the full nine points so far, finding the path to the victory in every single match, including a 2-0 success over Iceland on Thursday.

It took a bit of time, but Michy Batshuayi stepped up in the absence of Romelu Lukaku to score a brace.

The Belgians will be confident that they have the attacking power to beat Switzerland, but I have my doubts about it. Kevin De Bruyne is out with injury, while no one knows if Lukaku will be fit to start yet.

This certainly harms the chances of the team, as the opponent is quite solid at the back. Hazard is still available and a constant threat, but the lack of other important figures will help Switzerland focus more attention on Belgium’s main man.

I feel that the visitors might struggle in front of goal but should be able to contain Switzerland for most of the time. It’s a tricky fixture, though, so Belgium must be careful.

Betting Picks and Prediction

You usually see goals in games like this one, as one of the teams will eventually have to push forward to fight for the first spot in the group. At the same time, I don’t think either of them will be too aggressive from the start.

I expect Switzerland to try and control the tempo, not allowing Belgium enough space to attack with speed and penetration. This is why the under 2.5 goals market seems tempting, and the price of 1.83 is decent enough.

I feel that this game could be goalless until deep in the second half, and we could see a 1-0 in favor of either team.

PICKUnder 2.5 Goals1.83

Final Words

If you’ve been following my blogs for a while, you probably know that I’m not the biggest fan of international soccer, the World Cup and EUROs finals aside.

However, this last round of games that are direct clashes for a place in the next stage of the UEFA Nations League certainly involves a lot of excitement, so I will be watching.

What do you think about the games on Sunday? Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments section below.

Good luck!

Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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