Group A leaders Sweden travel to Bulgaria on Thursday evening in the hope of strengthening their position at the top of the standings. Despite not having the star names such as Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimović as in the past, Sweden have proven themselves to be a match for anyone in Europe, with Bulgaria set to provide another stern test this week.
World Cup 2018 Qualifying – Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia – Thursday 31st August – 19:45 UK Time
Best Odd of: 4 at Betfred
Best Odd of: 12/5 at Betfred
Best Odd of: 3/4 at Ladbrokes
Match Preview: Bulgaria vs Sweden
Bulgaria currently sit in fourth place in Group A, four points behind Sweden, meaning that they are in desperate need of three points if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the finals in Russia next year. Having won three of their opening six matches, along with three defeats, Bulgaria will have to be on top form to overcome a Sweden side in fine form over recent months.
Bulgaria Team News & Form
Manager Petar Hubchev, who took over as head coach of Bulgaria just last year, will be looking for his players to fire on all cylinders against Sweden on Thursday evening. Despite losing 2-1 to Belarus last time around, Bulgaria have previously defeated Holland and Luxembourg, demonstrating their potential as a team. Bulgaria’s best players are currently based in Russia, with the likes of Ivelin Popov, Georgi Milanov and Petar Zanev likely to line-up against Sweden later on this week. Popov is the leading scorer in the Bulgarian squad, with just ten goals throughout the entire rest of the players available.
Sweden Team News & Form
Head coach Janne Andersson has led his side to the top of the Group A standings, with the likes of Marcus Berg, Emil Forsberg and Victor Lindelof among Sweden’s most consistent performers over recent times. Sweden have a whole host of experience to call upon, with the likes of Sebastian Larsson, Mikael Lustig and Captain Andreas Granqvist having over 150 caps between them. A 2-1 win over France last time around demonstrated that they are contenders to win the group, with another three points on Thursday only strengthening their position. Sweden’s only defeat in qualifying so far came at the Stade de France back in November.
Head to Head
Sweden have a fantastic record against Bulgaria, with the Scandinavian side having won the last seven meetings between the two teams. You have to go all the way back to 1967 to find a win for Bulgaria, with Petar Hubchev’s side having failed to even score a goal against Sweden since 1993. Taking this into account, another win for Sweden may well be on the cards if they can find their best form.
Betting Odds and Predictions
Taking such information into account, backing Sweden to claim three points on Thursday is worth taking advantage of, with Ladbrokes offering odds of 5/6 for this market. However, for those looking to bet on Bulgaria to come out on top in front of their home turf, odds of 10/3 from William Hill are certainly worth considering.
Meanwhile, goals are almost guaranteed if you can look at previous meetings between the duo, meaning that betting on their being over 2.5 goals could potentially be lucrative. Ladbrokes offer odds of 27/20 for punters looking for this market.
Top Betting Tip
Our top betting tip for the match is to back Bulgaria or Sweden in the double chance market at Ladbrokes. Given the fact that Bulgaria are yet to register a single draw during qualifying, odds of 3/10 are worth taking advantage of.