Having slipped to a surprise 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Scotland in their last match, Igor Stimac’s men are available at 19/10 (2.90) with BetVictor to return to winning ways in Belgrade.
With nine points separating them from second place and just three games left to play, the hosts’ main objective from this clash is regional bragging rights and they are slight 17/10 (2.70) favourites to avenge March’s 2-0 defeat in Zagreb with victory at the Stadion Crvena Zvezda.
The White Eagles have not drawn a qualifying match since the opening game away to Scotland, but you can get odds of 85/40 (3.13) on them sharing the spoils with their nearby rivals in this one.
The sides have met just once in Belgrade since the end of the Balkan war when, in 1999, Serbia - still playing under the moniker of Yugoslavia - were frustrated in a goalless draw.
Just as on that occasion, away fans have been banned from travelling to Friday’s encounter and the intimidating atmosphere is sure to make life difficult for the visitors, who will be desperate not to lose in order to keep their hopes of clinching top spot alive for Belgium’s upcoming visit to Zagreb.
A former defender, Stimac is unlikely to leave anything to chance in this game and will undoubtedly set his stall out defensively and hope for his superior attacking options to make the difference in a tight encounter.
Having conceded just four goals in seven Group A matches, the visitors will be confident of containing an attack with a mere three goals to their name in their last five qualifiers, coached by fellow former defender Sinisa Mihajlovic.
A bet on no more than one team to score would have paid out in nine of this pair’s 14 qualifiers so far and must surely be safe in a fiercely-contested regional derby, at generous 3/4 (1.75) odds.
|'No' on both teams to score for a 2pt stake at 3/4 (1.75) with BetVictor
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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.