There's no doubt about it, England are an international football side in disarray. A lacklustre European Championships forced one manager out of the door, but that only created more problems for the Football Association.
Indeed, with Roy Hodgson's replacement, Sam Allardyce, rendering himself unemployable thanks to a drunken chat about money, the senior side is now being managed by Gareth Southgate, a former national player and the current U-21 coach.
For all intents and purposes, the lead up to the latest round of World Cup qualifiers has been far from ideal. However, as is often the case with England, adversity brings out a certain resolve, so maybe a little instability will be enough to shock the players into inspired performances.
First up for Southgate's side on 8 October will be Malta. They are footballing minnows by most people's standards, but given the current unrest in the England camp this will be a challenge the Maltese players will relish.
35-year-old Michael Mifsud will certainly be the only name familiar to some (hardcore) football fans, but manager Pietro Ghedin has helped Malta perform better now than they ever have. Unfortunately, "better" only equates to six wins in 36 games and, to make matters worse, only one of those wins was in a World Cup qualifier.
That sort of form has left NetBet's oddsmakers with no choice but to set their betting line at 74/1 for a Malta victory. On the other side of the coin, a £1,000 bet on England will return you the princely sum of £1.
Essentially, if you're not betting on an upset this weekend, Coral's correct score markets should be your main destination. Indeed, if we all accept that England are going to win on 8 October (even Malta's fans would probably accept it), then the question becomes: by how many goals?
Reports suggest that Southgate could be swapping Joe Hart for Southampton's Fraser Forster. While this would certainly be a gamble on Southgate's part, the conditions and timing appear to be right for this one. Also catching Southgate's eye on the training pitch has been Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
While his current form isn't anything to write home about, he will want to impress the interim manager if he's given a shot, which could make this an inspired move by Mr Southgate. If that's the case, then leaking goals won't be an issue. If the likes of Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney can score it should be a field day for the Three Lions.
11/2 on a 3-0 victory is one of the more enticing scoreline bets at Coral, while a more optimistic 6-1 is good for odds of 28/1. If predicting the scoreline isn't your thing, Ladbrokes is offering some interesting specials. Picking up on Southgate's decision to make some surprise call ups, you can currently get solid prices on international virgins and rising stars to score:
After dispatching with Malta, England will face an altogether tougher test on 11 October against Slovenia. Never easy to beat, Slovenia won't want to miss out on a golden opportunity to beat an England side on the back foot.
Currently ranked 67th by FIFA, Slovenia's finest are coming off a 2-2 draw away to Lithuania. With home advantage this time around, it could be a tough night in Ljubljana for England. Assuming Slovenia stays true to form, goals probably won't be in abundance.
Going back to November 2015, Slovenia has played six games and scored four goals. On a more positive note, conceding goals hasn't been too much of an issue for the defensively-minded side. Six goals against would suggest that England's visit will likely end in a one goal margin either way.
For those sticking with England, 2/3 at NetBet Sports is the latest outright betting line, while £10 on Slovenia will get earn you a £40 profit (4/1). With the rest of the recommended bookmakers yet to catch up and set their betting lines for England vs Slovenia, this is your best place for early odds.
Once the markets open up fully, you should be looking for any offers with 1-0, 2-1 or 2-2 attached to them. Even better, if you can find odds around the 5/1, 11/2 mark for any of those scorelines you should be willing to take them given what the stats have shown.
England's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers should have been smooth sailing. A casual jaunt against Malta before a taxing trek against Slovenia looked to be the state of play a few weeks ago.
But given Big Sam's untimely exit, things are a little more uncertain as kick off approaches. For more football betting tips, check out this handy strategy guide. For all the latest England football odds, visit NetBet Sports today!
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