Croatia-Portugal Betting Preview: Why backing goals could prove profitable for punters

Igor Stimac's men suffered a setback in the race to qualify for World Cup 2014 on Friday and Willie Duncan expects them to serve up an entertaining clash with Paulo Bento's side
Croatia’s hopes of qualifying for World Cup 2014 were dealt a severe blow on Friday night when they slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Scotland and Igor Stimac’s men will be desperate to make amends for that defeat when they take on Portugal in an international friendly on Monday.

The match, which will be played in Switzerland, is sure to be an intriguing clash between two of the sides who are widely considered to be amongst the dark horses for glory in Brazil next summer.

Paulo Bento’s Portugal claimed a crucial home win over Russia on Friday to reinvigorate their hopes of making it to next summer’s showpiece event and they are chalked up as 13/10 (2.30) favourites with Bet365 to follow up by claiming victory over Croatia.

Igor Stimac’s side are available at 21/10 (3.10) with Bet365 to shrug off the disappointment of Friday’s defeat against the Scots by winning here while the draw is rated as a 9/4 (3.25) chance with the same firm.

It is worth noting that Portugal have scored in all but one of their last nine fixtures since crashing out of Euro 2012 to Spain on penalty kicks.

Croatia, too, had scored in each of their nine fixtures prior to drawing a blank against Scotland so the 23/20 (2.15) quote from Bet365 for three or more goals to be scored looks to represent decent value here.

Similarly, the 5/6 (1.83) available from the same firm for both teams to score is sure to prove a popular selection with punters given the array of attacking talent on display from both sides.

However, should both teams draw a blank on Monday night, Bet365 will refund all pre-match bets placed on the correct score, half-time/full-time and scorecast markets – an offer which is sure to prove attractive to punters.

Those seeking to squeeze extra value from this clash should consider Bet365’s correct score market and, with the Portuguese sure to be in confident mood following their morale-boosting victory over Russia, the chunky 17/2 (9.50) quote from Bet365 for Paulo Bento’s men is the value play.

Have a pre-match Correct Score, Half-Time/Full-Time or Scorecast bet on ANY match and if the game finishes 0-0 bet365 will refund all losing bets on these markets!

Over 2.5 goals at 23/20 (2.15) with Bet365
Portugal to win 2-1 at 17/2 (9.50) with bet365

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter