Georgia v Republic Of Ireland
Saturday, 17:00
Live on Sky Sports

In-play could be the way to back an Ireland win
Followers of trends will not dither too long before reaching a verdict on Saturday's World Cup qualifier between Georgia and the Republic of Ireland.
When the two countries meet, Ireland always win. That's eight victories from eight games since the nations first met in 2003.
This is the fourth time they have clashed under Martin O'Neill's watch, as Georgia were also part of Ireland's Euro 2016 group. All three of the previous games were extremely close with individual moments of brilliance from Irish stars in the second half of each game delivering the three points, even if they didn't quite deserve them on the run of play.

Aiden McGeady did the business three years ago in Tbilisi; Jon Walters unlocked the door a year later in the return game after a brilliant run from Jeff Hendrick. Last October, it was the now absent Seamus Coleman that forced Ireland across the line after Georgia had dominated long periods of the match in Dublin.
Put simply, they have a body of evidence to support the theory that they really, really owe Ireland one. But there is something in the make-up of this Georgian side that prevents them from getting the results that their performances often deserve. Local observers offer the simple reason that they are short of a quality striker. Yet Ireland are not blessed with prolific front men either, but a feature of this World Cup campaign has been their spirited ability to get results from grim positions.
That's why they are joint top of the group with four matches remaining. Georgia, by contrast, are second from bottom with three draws and three losses from six outings. After their near miss against Ireland, they did draw away to Wales to really affect the top seeds' chances of progression. But they could not follow it up at home to Moldova, with Saturday's hosts drawing both home and away against the one nation they would be expected to beat.
They can frustrate bigger and better teams, yet they frustrate their own supporters more than anybody. Two years ago, they did help Ireland out by tripping a complacent Scottish side up in Tbilisi. Ireland should not make the same mistakes as that overconfident Scottish bunch because they have struggled at this venue before and know the price of poor application. This is a banana skin they should have seen coming from miles away.
Serbia are in Dublin for a crunch encounter but this fixture holds the key to the rest of Ireland's autumn. O'Neill is without Hendrick and long term absentee Coleman along with his Everton colleague James McCarthy. But Jon Walters has made good progress across the week and he has a strong experienced core that have performed when the heat is on. Georgia are down a few bodies and if Ireland are fully tuned in, they have the capability to escape with three points. At 1.79 it's worth a punt although they are likely to hit a longer price in-running if the previous meetings are an indicator of what's to come here.

Slim winning margin seems likely
Sometimes the trends do matter. Ireland rarely do things the easy way. Two of their three wins in this group have been secured by a single goal margin and they needed a late flurry to beat Moldova 3-1. Georgia aren't the most potent force in the world so if Ireland get ahead, chances are they will just try to efficiently close out the game rather than go for the jugular. In the Georgia +1/Ireland -1 market, the Handicap Draw appeals at 2.82

Draw/Ireland could be the best big-priced option
In the Half Time/Full Time market this is the other option to the main selection if this match is a slow burn and parity is retained until the interval. Georgia have found it hard to put in consistent 90 minute performances. They actually led at home to Serbia at this ground before losing the match. O'Neill feels that his group are in good physical shape for this stage of their campaign so this could be a longer priced solution to staking a win bet at reasonable odds.

Recommended Bets 
Draw/Ireland Half-Time/Full-Time @ 4.60
Ireland win @ 1.79

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