Serbia v Scotland Euro 2020/21 qualifier preview and best bets

Serbia v Scotland

It’s going to be a tense night in Belgrade for both teams.

Scotland are one game away from ending their long wait for some success. Not since France ’98 have the Tartan Army had a team to cheer at a major tournament. Worse still, four years ago they had to watch Wales and Northern Ireland end their own barren spells as four of the five British Isles nations went to the last European Championship.

But it will be a nervous evening for Serbia as well, not just because they too are playing for the prize of a place at next summer’s delayed Euro 2020, but because of the historical significance that qualification would achieve.

After the break up of the old Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro reached the 2006 World Cup. Following that country’s dissolution, Serbia have twice qualified for football’s greatest tournament on its own.

But never have played at a European Championship.

Read Graham Ruthven’s piece in full

If we learned one thing from the last round of qualifying then it’s these ties are likely to be very tight. In 90 minutes, seven of the eight fixtures had under 3.5 goals, five had under 2.5 and three had under 1.5 – two of which were 0-0 draws.

After a goalless 120 minutes that saw just one of 29 shots hit the target, Scotland beat Israel in a shootout.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was Serbia’s hero as he came off the bench to score what looked to be a late winner. Norway grabbed a last-gasp equaliser, but Milinkovic-Savic hit a second in extra time to seal a 2-1 win.

While there was plenty more goalmouth action in Oslo than Glasgow, I’m still happy to stake a fair slice on under 2.5 goals at 8/13 with Unibet and back both teams to be unwilling to give an inch. It’s priced at 4/7 generally, and I think that’s pretty fair.

It might not present huge value, but I’m happy with the reliability.

Looking for value elsewhere, Scotland are huge outsiders. Serbia are a good team, but they are far from a top-tier side and have won just once in their last five competitive home games – that was a narrow 3-2 win over Luxembourg.

To win in 90 minutes, Scotland are as high as 5/1 with multiple bookmakers, a quite staggering price for a team so improved under Steve Clarke. If that was to happen, I struggle to see it being anything other than 1-0, so I’m taking the huge 11/1 for them to win by that scoreline.

Given it really does feel like a tie that could end up in extra time, I’m happy to hedge and take the 5/2 for them to qualify too.

Ryan Christie scores from the spot for Scotland

In a game of few goals, the first goalscorer market is one I like. Before getting to the Hollywood prices of 66/1 for Andy Robertson and Liam Cooper, both of which I considered especially as the latter hit the bar against Israel, a more realistic name stuck out.

Ryan Christie is priced at 12/1 each-way with bet365 – no other bookie has him in double figures.

Clarke has consistently relied on the Celtic winger since taking charge, and with Christie back fit after missing the…

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