Fresh off reaching the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia earlier this summer, Roberto Martinez and Belgium will be looking to build on that head of steam when they host Switzerland on Friday in the UEFA Nations League. The Red Devils got the better of World Cup favorites Brazil and are likely to have too much in the bag for a Switzerland side that has not been at its most consistent in recent months.
Martinez and Belgium making steady progress
The Red Devils can certainly be happy with their bold, expansive performances in Russia, but the key will now be to kick on against European opposition in this new tournament. The early signs are encouraging, with Belgium winning its last three matches in a row, scoring nine goals and conceding none – a 2-0 win over England, followed by a 4-0 rout of Scotland and a 3-0 victory over Iceland.
Switzerland, by way of comparison, comes into this match on the back of just one win and two defeats in its last four encounters. Sweden eliminated the Swiss from the World Cup while England also defeated the Swiss side 1-0 in a friendly match last month.
It is therefore of little surprise that home side Belgium comes into this clash as the red-hot favorite to take all three points. You can back the Belgians to wrap up victory at just -200, with Switzerland all the way out at +600 to do the same. A draw is priced in the middle, at +360.
Belgium likely to be in the mood for goals
Judging by what we have seen from Belgium under Roberto Martinez, goals and attacking football are likely to feature heavily on Friday. While it is never easy trying to predict the exact scoreline of any given game, a comfortable 3-1 win for Belgium is priced competitively at +1000.
That in turn would allow you to also back OVER 2.5 goals in the game, at the short price of -163, while both teams to score comes in at just -138. This may well be the pick of the games to keep an eye on over the weekend.
Switzerland looked impressive at the World Cup, earning a 1-1 draw with Brazil in its Sportsbook game, but the Swiss are unlikely to be able to match Belgium in terms of technical quality. That is why we believe a combo bet of a Belgium win and both teams to score, at a price of +200, is well worth backing in this instance.
In addition, you can also choose to bet based simply on the size of the winning margin. Belgium is at +275 to win by a single goal, the slightly higher price of +333 to win by a two-goal margin and +550 to win by a difference of three goals.
Switzerland set to struggle
The Swiss looked lackluster last time out against England, while Belgium looked anything but in a 3-0 win over Iceland. In that game they scored either side of the break and barely allowed their opponents a sniff and, while Switzerland is a stronger side than Iceland, we expect Belgium to still enjoy the lion’s share of possession.
The Red Devils are at +110 to score in both halves and the higher price of +250 to win both halves – just as they managed against Iceland. This could well turn into a long evening’s work for their opponents.
Romelu Lukaku, who bagged a brace last time out, is the favorite to get on the scoresheet here. The Manchester United forward is at -125 to net at any time during the 90 minutes, while you can back him at +300 to score either the first or last goal of the game. He is at +333 to score two goals or more, as he did in that match against Iceland.