Friday, June 21, 2024

Football Tips: Leao on target in this 18/1 Portugal v Ireland Bet Builder

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Both Teams to Score, No
Halftime Draw
Rafael Leao to Score

Portugal v Ireland
Friendly international match at the Estadio Municipal de Aveiro, Aveiro
TV: RTE 2, Premier Sports, Tuesday, 7:45pm

Life is all about learning from your mistakes.

Given the topic of this piece, you might be thinking that this is an endorsement for John O’Shea to take over the Ireland gig.

No, no, not at all. My learnings come solely from my own punting from Ireland and Hungary last week, and how I’ve probably overlooked just how little anyone cares about these pre-tournament games.

If you’re shipping twice to Ireland in Dublin, either your mind is elsewhere or you’d want to consider a transfer to the national lacrosse team. But that was Hungary, and this is Portugal. That was Dublin and this is Aveiro.

Both Teams to Score, No

I think that sometimes, mid-campaign, a national side being experimental can really provide an underdog with a huge opportunity.

They look lax, their training sessions haven’t been consistent personnel-wise and the bigger picture, which really takes multiple windows to roll-out, can take a back seat to players trying to keep their place.

But in a time where this exhibition is solely for players to show that they can fit into an XI for a major tournament, there’s less focus on an individual, and more on their role within a must-win game will look like.

A side that keep that much of the ball won’t be handing Ireland chances to break, primarily because they’re far more reliant on individual brilliance than they are on overloads.

Can you envisage the Portuguese full-back flying forward just because he can provide a decoy for Bruno Fernandes to shoot from an angle, merely four days before the Euros begins?

I don’t think Jake O’Brien’s rise to superstardom is enough to keep these at bay. Particularly as he’s second fiddle to Shane Duffy. But it could be enough to keep it tight in the first-half before the hosts turn it up a notch.

As for Ireland getting one themselves, it’s hard to see them getting enough of the ball to cause any issues.

Read MoreEuro 2024 Wallchart | Euro 2024 Sweepstake Kit | Portugal’s Euro 2024 Squad Preview| Euro 2024 Group B Preview

Halftime Draw

I actually think the majority of the passive, dull periods of play will take place in the first half when the key players are going through the motions and just getting back into match fitness after the domestic leagues have ended.

So for the likes of Big Bruno, Ronaldo, and Bernardo Silva, it’ll be a procession in stepovers and sideways passes. Huge win for Irish analysts who’ll cite lack of line-breaking passes.

Portugal will go on to win it, little doubt regarding that, but honours being even at the interval has some decent value.

Rafael Leao to Score Anytime

It’s a tough transition going from playing a motionless Ronaldo and a low-intensity environment to the quick feet of Rafael Leao. It’s an even tougher break for the AC Milan player himself, having to compete for a spot in the front three of Portugal that features someone as talented as Joao Felix as an outsider.

He will undoubtedly be trying to carve a role for himself as a change-of-pace winger to come on and impact the game after an hour.

And my God, Ireland are the dream scenario for someone with his skillset.

Both Teams to Score, No
Halftime Draw
Rafael Leao to Score

All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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