Preview and odds for Thursday’s World Cup play-off
Wales are just two games away from ending 64 years of World Cup misery as they prepare to host Austria in the semi-final of pathway A and we have looked through the odds to pick out some Wales v Austria betting tips.
Robert Page’s side have made the knockout stages of the last two European Championships, but a World Cup adventure has been a long time in the waiting and the Dragons will be desperate to secure their place in Qatar.
It is unknown how long Wales or Austria may have to wait to play the final of pathway A due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, but both sides will know victory will see them at least in the draw for the finals when it takes place in Doha on April 1.
The hosts are 17/10, but it is the Austrians that shade favouritism at 33/20, with a draw in 90 minutes 19/10. Wales to progress to the pathway A final is 10/11, while Austria can be backed at 20/23 for the chance to meet Scotland or Ukraine.
Thursday night’s match at the Cardiff City Stadium kicks off at 7.45pm and is live on Sky Sports.
Bale to help fire Dragons to finals
Wales last made the World Cup in Sweden in 1958 and since then there have been 64 years of heartbreak and pain. The Dragons might not get a better chance to correct the record though, especially with this game being played on home soil. Only Denmark have beaten the Welsh in Cardiff since November 2018.
Wales finished their Group E campaign unbeaten in three and edged out the Czech Republic for a play-off spot. Having drawn 0-0 with Estonia, they made light work of a must-win contest with Belarus, winning 5-1, before holding table-toppers Belgium to a 1-1 draw on the final night of the group stage.
Gareth Bale missed Real Madrid’s ‘El Classico’ defeat to Barcelona at the weekend, but is expected to be fit to skipper the side and the Welsh talisman is 6/5 to have four or more shots and have one or more shots from outside the box. The 32-year-old is also 4/1 to break the deadlock in Wales v Austria betting tips.
Aaron Ramsey grabbed his first goal since joining Rangers at the weekend and he could also figure for the hosts. The former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder is 7/2 to find the scoresheet at any time, with Wales 21/10 to score two or more in the match.
Beware the goal-hungry Austrians
Austria look to make the World Cup for the first time since 1998 and it is foolish to underestimate their claims having fired home four in their last two games in qualifying.
They also took Italy to extra-time in the last 16 of Euro 2020, arguably having the better of the tussle for long periods, and their golden generation of David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic are running out of time to showcase their talent at football’s flagship event.
It is 28/1 for Austria to continue their goal-thirsty run and score over 3.5 goals in Wales v Austria betting tips, although their away form leaves plenty to be desired of late, with wins over lowly Moldova and Faroe Islands their only recent victories on the road.
If they are to succeed in Cardiff, Arnautovic could be the man to do the business. The former Stoke and West Ham forward has scored nine in his last 14 World Cup qualification matches and is 2/1 to add to his tally at any time in this match.
The two sides last met in Cardiff during qualification for the last World Cup and it was Wales that shaded matters 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal from Ben Woodburn. A repeat of that scoreline is 6/1 in Wales v Austria betting tips.
Wales have won the last two head-to-head fixtures played on home soil, so this fixture being played in Cardiff favours the Dragons.
Only two of all seven head-to-head fixtures played saw three or more goals so a low-scoring affair could be on the cards. We go 8/15 for under 2.5, while a victory for the hosts can be added to that selection to make 19/5 in Wales v Austria betting tips.
Looking at the trends and some #YourCall options, Wales to win or draw, Austria under 0.5 goals in the first half and under 3.5 total match goals makes some appeal at evens as the last of our Wales v Austria betting tips.
View the latest World Cup qualifying odds
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication