Malta take on the visitors Italy in the round 2 match of UEFA Euro 2024 qualification. The match will be played on Saturday, March 26th at Ta'Qali National Stadium (Ta' Qali).
Malta naturally belongs to the lower-class national teams, but not everything is as terrible and sad for Malta as it is for some other dwarf teams. In the current qualification, the Maltese team started off strong, managing to score against the Macedonians in an away game, and only losing to a strong opponent with a score of 1:2. Now they have a match against the Italians. At first glance, everything here may seem easy and straightforward, and Malta should be beaten with a score like 0:5. However, the previous two meetings between these teams ended with the same score of 1:0 in favor of the Italian team, and there were no crushing defeats. It should also be noted that the Italians are not currently spoiling their fans with big victories. So, in this match, not everything is so obvious, and it is far from certain that it will end in a big victory for the visitors. Therefore, the plus handicap on Malta looks like a promising option for betting.
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The Italians like to mess around in qualifying cycles. They have already missed two World Cups in a row because of their carelessness in qualifying matches. And now, Italy's qualifying for EURO 2023 is starting with problems again. In the first round, they lost to the English. Of course, there is nothing catastrophic about this, but it is a bad start. Now they have a match against modest Malta. Yes, of course, with a 99% probability, the visitors will win here. But will this victory be confident and large, as the bookmakers suggest? Looking through the history of Italian matches over the past few years, they rarely won by a difference of three or more goals. Italians are more pragmatic, and they prefer to win by a couple of goals and no more. Therefore, it is quite possible that in this situation, the visitors will only manage to win with a difference of three goals at most.
Naturally, bookmakers set a tiny coefficient for the victory of the Italians in this match, so the question arises: what should one bet on - the visitors' negative handicap or the hosts' positive handicap? I would choose the option with the positive handicap, because the Italians currently raise some doubts, and there is not much confidence that they will completely crush their opponents in this match. My bet is: Handicap (+3) on the Maltese national team.
Prediction for the match: Malta to win with +3.0 handicap.