Northern Ireland-Russia Betting Preview: Expect Capello's men to dominate proceedings in Belfast

The visitors have won all four of their games in Group F without conceding a single goal, and Al Hain-Cole expects this run to continue against Michael O'Neill's goal-shy side
Michael O’Neill’s search for a first win in charge of Northern Ireland continues on Friday, with a daunting home clash against in-form Russia.

Fabio Capello’s men are running away with Group F after four consecutive wins, but second place is still very much up for grabs due to the stuttering form of fellow heavyweights Portugal.

A win for the hosts could bring them to within a point of the top two depending on results earlier in the day, but they are 7/1 (8.00) outsiders with Bet365 to come out on top.

The visitors have won 10 of their last 12 qualifying matches, losing none, and are clear 8/15 (1.53) favourites to emerge victorious this evening.

The Green and White Army have drawn their last four consecutive matches, and you can get odds of 3/1 (4.00) on them claiming a hard-fought point in this game.

With four games gone, Russia are the only side yet to concede a goal in European qualifiers, as Capello has taken a well-drilled team and made them even more resolute.

The Eastern European giants also had the best defensive record en route to Euro 2012, conceding just three times in 10 qualifying matches, so will provide very stiff opponents for the goal-shy home team.

With just three goals scored in their last five games, O’Neill’s men are unlikely to have any luck in attack, and odds of 20/21 (1.95) look too good to pass up for the away team to win to nil.

The visitors’ front men have not been quite as efficient as their defensive counterparts, with striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov proving an inconsistent presence in front of goal.

Fortunately for them, the midfield can usually be counted on to chip in with more than their share of goals, and none more so than Roman Shirokov.

The Zenit St Petersburg man has hit the back of the net in each of the last three games, and is well worth a smaller stake at 5/2 (3.50) to get on the score sheet at Windsor Park.

Russia to win to nil at 20/21 (1.95) with bet365
Roman Shirokov to score anytime at 5/2 (3.50) with bet365

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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