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Italy vs. North Macedonia Predictions: Two stats-based bets for World Cup play-off match

Italy vs. North Macedonia:
Italy vs. North Macedonia:
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Italy vs. North Macedonia Odds

Italy take on North Macedonia in a winner takes all semi-final to qualify for the World Cup Finals that will be held later this year in Qatar. 

The Italians were deserved winners of the European Championship just last year, but a less than convincing qualifying campaign has left them facing a battle to even make it to FIFA’s showpiece tournament; with a potential clash with Portugal awaiting them in the final should they overcome the Macedonians.

North Macedonia bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing against Germany to win their final 2 games in the qualifying groups, and those 2 wins saw them finish 1 point ahead of Romania (who drew at home to Iceland in that period) to secure passage to this stage of qualifying.

Italy vs. North Macedonia Tips

The Italians have home advantage in this one off knockout game, so the odds are firmly stacked against the minnows here. The visitors will be boosted by the fact that Mancini’s side have a number of high profile injuries that could cost them dearly.

Chiesa, Locatelli, Bonucci and Spinazzola are all absent for the home side, and it will significantly impact the team’s ability to perform to their usual level. Chiesa has been a significant threat going forward for both club and country in recent months, and his direct dribbling will be sorely missed here.

Bonucci’s absence means Italy won’t be able to rely on their usual pairing of him and Chiellini. The veterans were central figures in Italy’s EUROS triumph and they will no doubt be pivotal should Italy reach the World Cup at the end of this year.

Italy vs. North Macedonia Match Odds
Under 40.5 Throws In The Match & Under 14.5 North Macedonia Goal Kicks
1.05/1
Odds correct as of 2022-03-24 08:35 Odds subject to change.

Italy’s last 10 matches in all competitions are averaging just under 37 throws per game and there has been fewer than 40 throws in 9 of those 10 matches. Macedonia’s last 10 matches average over 45 per game; which doesn’t bode well for our bet here, but the numbers drop significantly against what would be considered stronger opposition. In those 10 matches, Macedonia have taken on Germany and Holland and both of those games have seen significantly less throws. Their clash with Germany saw just 36 throws and the game against the Netherlands saw just 29 throws, so there is reason to believe the throws numbers could be similarly low here. Italy’s last 5 matches where they have been priced similarly to win the match have seen just under 39 throws per game.

Despite Italy being the hot favourites, I still fancy Macedonia to prevent them from raining down on their goal for the full 90 minutes here. In the previously mentioned games versus Germany and Holland, Macedonia had 11 and 10 goal kick, so the under 14.5 line here is attractive given the injury to Chiesa.

Football Tips
Under 36.5 Throws In The Match & Under 11.5 Goal Kicks For Macedonia
4/1
Odds correct as of 2022-03-24 08:40 Odds subject to change.

For the longshot I’m taking the same markets used for the main bet and decreasing the lines to reduce the price. This 4/1 shout landed in Macedonia’s recent matches with Germany and Holland and I see no reason why it can’t land as they face a similar quality of opponent in Italy.

Italy’s opponents average just over 8 goal kicks in their last 10 matches, while Macedonia average just 6.5 in theirs. Italy have forced their opponents into having more than 11 goal kicks just twice in that period, so I’m more than happy to take this as a longer odds play.

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