The Premier League takes a back seat as the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers take center stage in Europe.

Nine matches are set for action on Thursday, with the teams in Groups A, B and H on deck.

GROUP A: Bulgaria v Sweden, France v Netherlands, Luxembourg v Belarus

It’s tough at the top of Group A, with four points separating four of the six sides in the group. It’s first vs fourth and second vs third this weekend in a pair of matches should make for fascinating viewing.

We’ve picked France (11/20, PaddyPower) to make home advantage count against the Netherlands, while Sweden (47/50, MarathonBet) have enough to take all three points away in Bulgaria.

The bottom two also face off, with Belarus (4/6, widely available) favourites to beat winless Luxembourg.


GROUP B: Hungary v Latvia, Portugal v Faroe Islands, Switzerland v Andorra

If the matchups in Group A are tricky, Group B’s lineup looks much more clean cut.

Table-toppers Switzerland (1/33, Ladbrokes, Coral) are being chased hard by Portugal (1/33, Matchbook), while Hungary (7/20, MarathonBet) are leading the race for the final qualification spot from the group.

All three are nailed-on to get the win tonight, with a parlay the only route to serious profit without going down the unreliable route of goal or scorer bets.


GROUP H: Belgium v Gibraltar, Cyprus v Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece v Estonia

Unbeaten after six games with an average of four scored per game and just two conceded in total, Belgium are the dominant force in Group H and unbackable favourites to put Gibraltar to the sword at home.

BoyleSports are offing 23/20 on Belgium to score more than 7.5 goals, and I have a feeling that international football’s Red Devils could even challenge double figures in this game. If you fancy Belgium to hit 10 or more, back Over 9.5 Goals (7/2, BlackType).

Cyprus and Bosnia-Herzegovina may only be separated by one place in the Group H table, but Bosnia-Herzegovina are far the stronger outfit, particularly in front of goal. Back them to take the away win at 8/15 (Betfred).

[Photo Credit: Poudou99/aka Kootshisme (Own work), WikiMedia Commons]


Follow Simon Head on Twitter @simonhead.


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