Russia begin their final preparations for this summer’s World Cup with a friendly against Slovakia in St Petersburg on Monday.
Fabio Capello’s men are undefeated on home soil in 18 matches and are heavy 4/9 (1.44) favourites with Paddy Power to come out on top at the Petrovski Stadium.
However, the visitors recorded a 1-0 victory on their previous trip to Russia in Euro 2012 qualification and are available at 6/1 (7.00) to come out on top yet again, or 3/1 (4.00) to grind out a draw.
The Russians will head to their first World Cup since 2002 as favourites alongside Belgium to progress from a group that also features Algeria and South Korea.
This confidence is born out of a strong qualification campaign that saw them finish ahead of Portugal to top their group, scoring 20 goals and conceding just five.
However, ever the perfectionist, Capello will have been mildly concerned by a slight decline in defensive standards over the last six games, a period which saw them keep just one clean sheet, against Luxembourg.
This uncharacteristic frailty has seemingly persisted since qualification was secured, with Serbia and North Korea both finding the net in friendlies on Russian soil.
Having failed to score just twice in their last 12, an attack featuring the talents of Marel Hamsik, Miroslav Stoch and Robert Vittek are more than capable of exposing any cracks in the opposition defence, although just four clean sheets in 15 suggests their own backline may not stand up to scrutiny.
With an open game seemingly on the cards, odds of 11/10 (2.10) are well worth backing on both teams finding the net in a match dominated by the attacks.
That bet would have paid out in five of Russia’s previous seven matches, as well as five of their last six on home soil.
|Both teams to score for a 1pt stake at 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power
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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.