There is plenty to look at in AFC qualifying if punters want to chance their hand, though the value may not be in head-to-head betting
|By PAUL GOUGH
Australia are double-figure odds at Luxbet to repeat their 3-0 friendly win over Lebanon last week when they take on similarly credentialed Jordan in their AFC 2014 World Cup qualifier in Amman on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time].
While the Socceroos are short in head-to-head betting at $1.55 at Luxbet, compared to $5.75 for the home side with the draw at $3.55, Holger Osieck's team are great value in correct-score betting.
Australia headed into Thursday's friendly clash against Lebanon in Beirut on the back of four games without a win, including draws in their opening matches in the final stage of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup against Japan and Oman.
But the Socceroos put aside their dreadful performance in a 3-1 loss against Scotland in their previous international to thump Lebanon 3-0, with as talisman Tim Cahill and the much-improved Matt McKay marking their returns to the national side with a goal.
Veteran Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson also got in on the action, scoring his first goal for the national side in six years.
Lebanon are bottom of Group A in AFC qualifying, while Jordan are bottom of Group B.
Japan have set the early pace with seven points from three games, with Australia, Iraq and Oman all on two points [although Oman have played three matches compared to just two for the Socceroos and Iraq] and Jordan already trailing with just one point from two games.
As a result, nothing less than three points is acceptable for the Socceroos in Jordan if they hope to keep their bid for a third-successive World Cup finals appearance on track, given only the top two in each group are guaranteed to qualify.
|Australia to lead at half- and full-time v Jordan at $2.30
||Australia to win 3-0 v Lebanon at $10 at Luxbet|
Meanwhile, in Group B's other game on Tuesday, group leaders Japan are even shorter odds than the Socceroos at home to beat 2007 Asian Cup winners Iraq .
Another win for Japan here and Asia's No.1 ranked team will give them one foot on the plane to Brazil, with the Samurai Blue the dominant $1.18 favourites in head-to-head betting at Luxbet to beat Iraq at $13.50 and the draw at $6.
But while Japan and Australia are ultimately expected to qualify out of Group B, the other group is much harder to predict.
South Korea - ranked third in Asia behind Japan and Australia - top of the group with six points from two matches, ahead of Iran and Qatar on four points [although the latter have played a game more], with Uzbekistan and Lebanon both on one point.
Iran are the $1.43 favourites at Luxbet to win away against Lebanon in their match on Tuesday, with Lebanon unwanted in betting at $7 after their poor effort in that friendly against the Socceroos.
South Korea are the $1.99 favourites to maintain their perfect record in Group A away to Uzbekistan, with the home side the best of the underdogs in the four matches at $3.50, while the draw has appeal at $3.20 at Luxbet.
*Note prices subject to change