After all the hype around the Great Britain football team, Adam Bate is expecting a difficult night for Stuart Pearce's side at Old TraffordAfter Team GB’s women kicked off their Olympics campaign with a win on Wednesday, the men will attempt to follow suit when they take on Senegal at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Given that Uruguay are the group favourites and the United Arab Emirates could be the Group C whipping boys it may well prove crucial that Stuart Pearce’s men win this one if they hope to qualify. Team GB are 4/6 (1.67) favourites with Bet365 to do just that.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has already given the side a helping hand by blocking Senegal striker Papiss Cisse’s involvement in the Olympics, while Magpies team-mate Demba Ba was overlooked.
Even so, Senegal have some names to be wary of including Everton’s Magaye Gueye and West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame.
In other words, it’s a competent team that is capable of causing an upset in Manchester.
Senegal can be backed at 9/2 (5.5) with Bet365. The draw is available at 13/5 (3.6).
In the goalscorer markets, Daniel Sturridge is the favourite to net first at 15/4 (4.75) despite his recent health scare.
Craig Bellamy, who had the best opportunity in Team GB’s warm-up defeat to Brazil on Friday, can be backed to bag the opener at 5/1 (6.0) with Bet365.
The romantic choice would be captain Ryan Giggs to get Team GB up and running on his home patch with the opening goal – he is 11/1 (12.0) to manage that.
But the smart money is on Osasuna striker Ibrahima Balde (pictured, left) getting the first goal.
He represents Senegal’s best chance and has pedigree after netting seven goals for Osasuna in La Liga last season.
He’s a 10/1 (11.0) pick with Bet365 to break the deadlock in this one and that looks good value.
If you’re after a more patriotic bet, Team GB can be backed to lead at half-time at 5/4 (2.25) and - unlike at some of the other Olympic football venues - they will have a huge crowd behind them.
But the more pragmatic bet would be to consider what is at stake for Team GB in this game. Expect a cautious approach akin to that shown by Roy Hodgson’s England earlier in the summer at Euro 2012.
Great Britain must not lose this game and for that reason the 0-0 scoreline at half-time comes into play.
It can be backed at 13/8 (2.63) with Bet365.
|0-0 at HT at 13/8 (2.63) with Bet365
||Balde to score first at 10/1 (11.0) with Bet365
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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