England v Belgium (Thursday 28th June, 7pm kick off) - World cup betting preview

This could have been a much more hotly-anticipated clash had it been earlier in the group stage, but with the shaping of the draw appearing to favour finishing second in Group F, it looks likely that we may be in for a bit of a damp squib in Kaliningrad.

Belgium are slight favourites at 13/8 with Coral, and with widespread changes expected from both sides, I’d be much more inclined to go for the draw at 11/5.

Neither side particularly wants to win the group, which would see them in the same half of the Last 16 draw as the likes of Germany and Brazil. With the result of who tops the group potentially going down to who has the fewest yellow cards, we could be in for a game that sees plenty of cautions. If you think either side will go one further and be brandished a red card you can get huge odds of 25/1 with Unibet for a sending off in the game.

Both sides have strikers in superb form going into this one. Harry Kane leads the race for the Golden Boot with five goals from England’s opening two games, while Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku sits just one goal behind for the Belgians. With the potential of weakened sides – and therefore weakened defences – on the pitch, these two could be in for a bit more goalmouth action. Romelu Lukaku is 17/2 with Ladbrokes to score twice, while Kane is slightly shorter at 6/1.

The double result of a draw at half-time and full-time stands out at 18/5 with William Hill. Neither sides wants a defeat under their belt as they prepare for the knockout phase, and I can’t see either team going full throttle in pursuit of victory. Back both sides to take it easy and conserve energy for the all-important knock out round.

The draw has to be the way to go, and I think a small spread bet is going to my way of passing the time in what is essentially a dead rubber that nobody wants to go and win. £10 each on the 0-0 at 8/1 and 1-1 at 5/1 (Coral) has a great chance of seeing some decent returns.

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