Italy v Albania Betting: Back another gritty Azzurri display

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The hosts have a formidable record in qualifying for this tournament but our tipster does not expect a goal-laden game in Palermo on Friday night

Italy's quest to qualify for World Cup 2018 continues with a home tie against Albania.

Friday's hosts boast a remarkable record in qualification for this tournament. Indeed, Italy have been beaten in just one of their last 55 World Cup qualification matches - against Slovenia in 2004 - while the Azzurri have never lost a World Cup qualification fixture on home turf.

It is, therefore, little wonder that Italy are huge favourites to make home advantage count in this tie; Giampiero Ventura's side are as short as 1/4 (1.25) with Betfair Sportsbook to win the match, while the odds compilers offer a chunky 9/1 (10.0) that Albania claim a famous victory.

4/1 (5.0) is available that the match remains level at the end of 90 minutes - a selection that would have seen punters profit from both of Italy's two most recent home games.

Marco Verratti Italy

The Azzurri have made a typically assured start to this campaign, having garnered 10 points from their first four fixtures but, with only the group winners guaranteed a place in the World Cup in Russia next year, there is no room for error, with Spain going head-to-head with the Italians for supremacy in Group G.

Albania had a taste of life at a major tournament when they took their place at last summer's European Championships in France, but back-to-back home defeats against Spain and Israel respectively have put a significant dent in Albanian ambitions of reaching Russia.

Giovanni De Biasi's side failed to find the net in both of those defeats and converting their chances has often proved problematic for Friday's visitors; in fact, Albania have scored just five goals in their last eight outings.

GFX Italy Albania betting

With that in mind, there could be value in backing Italy to keep a clean sheet at 4/9 (1.44), while there is  8/13 (1.62) that the Azzurri pick up all three points from this fixture without conceding a goal - a selection that would have landed in three of Italy's last four victories on home soil.

Italy have scored more than two goals in three of their Group G fixtures so far during this qualification campaign and the odds compilers offer 6/4 (2.50) that the trend continues here and 19/20 (1.95) that there are more than two goals scored in the match.

Albania, though, will hope to keep things tight in a bid to frustrate Friday's hosts and the goals may not flow freely for Ventura's side in Palermo.

There have been fewer than three goals scored in 10 of Italy's last 13 games on home turf - a sequence of results that includes a 1-0 friendly win against Albania back in November 2014.

The 5/6 (1.83) quote offered up by Betfair Sportsbook for another tight tussle, therefore, could be a solid selection for punters ahead of Friday's fixture.

Under 2.5 goals at 5/6 (1.83) for a 2pt stake with Betfair Sportsbook

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