Scotland vs Israel: Take Clarke's men to get off to a great start

Scotland are back at Hampden for this Nations League match against Israel and Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse expects an entertaining 90 minutes...

Scotland vs Israel
Friday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports

Football returns to Hampden

Football makes a welcome return to Hampden Park in Glasgow on Friday night when Scotland open their UEFA Nations League campaign with a home tie against Israel. The play will go ahead without fans in attendance, but the TV cameras will keep supporters up to speed.

The Scots are betting favourites on the Betfair Sportsbook to start with an important win, but members of the Tartan Army know nothing can be taken for granted when following Steve Clarke's side. Will they live up to expectations and get the win? You can place your bets on the outcome at Betfair with traders offering a long list of exciting markets.

Dykes chooses Scotland

Scotland enjoyed success in the last UEFA Nations League competition and have a chance to reach next summer's European Championships as a result. The dark blues are just two games away from sneaking into the Euros through the back door and that will ensure Clarke's men take this tournament seriously from the start. Winning their Nations League group again would increase their chances of reaching the World Cup in Qatar 2022.

With the Scottish Premiership season now six games old many of the players in the home dressing room will benefit from match sharpness and fitness which should improve their chances of banking a home win on Friday. They hosts received some good news in the build-up to this match as former Livingston striker and new Queens Park Rangers signing Lyndon Dykes opted for Scotland over Australia. The 24-year-old now wants to go on to become an international great for the nation of his parents. Dykes has enjoyed fantastic form and is expected to be a major player for both club and country this year.

Visitors encouraged by the stats

Israel understand they are up against it when travelling to Glasgow and taking on an ambitious opponent who are determined to battle their way back to major competitions. The away team will take encouragement from previous meetings with Scotland, however, and they beat them on Nations League duty two years ago. Charlie Mulgrew opened the scoring for Scotland that day, but Jon Souttar was sent off which gave Israel a way back in. Goals from Don Peretz and a Kieran Tierney OG turned things in their favour.

Despite that home win over Scotland, the Blue and Whites lost 3-2 in the return leg at Hampden just a month later when three goals from James Forrest was enough to better replies from Beram Kayal and Eran Zahavi. With eight scored in the last two games involving these teams armchair fans will hope this renewal follows that trend and serves up an entertaining encounter. Israel have lost their last two against Poland and North Macedonia.

Traders have Scots as favourites

Scotland have won each of their last three games under Clarke as the former Kilmarnock boss starts to get his message across and mould the team. The boss will be encouraged by the decision of Dykes and that will give him options in attack. Betfair traders expect to see a home win and offer Scotland at 4/5 in the match betting market.

Israel put up a fight in their only other visit to the national stadium in Glasgow and they are capable of making life uncomfortable for their hosts again. A draw wouldn't be the worst result for Israel and those happy to sit on the fence can back the level finish at 12/5. There's 18/5 if you'd prefer to take a chance on the away side.

Fitness gives hosts an edge

Taking our lead from the stats and we note both teams have scored in each of the previous two games involving Scotland and Israel. More of the same appeals at 11/10 on the Betfair Sportsbook with no in the same market an 8/11 option. Over 2.5 goals would've been a winning bet in each of those games with the same bet here available at 13/10.

The fact many of the Scotland team have a few league games in their legs should give them the edge over a decent Israeli team and that will make all the difference the longer this match goes on. There's 7/2 on Scotland to win and both teams score which looks worth an interest bet.

Scotland have the insurance of a Euro 2020 play-off after finishing top of their Nations League group above Israel and Albania in 2018

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