England are 6/4 favourites to win what’s likely to be the toughest assignment of their 2024 European Championships qualifying group against Italy in Naples on Thursday evening.
However, the Three Lions haven’t beaten their hosts in a competitive fixture since 1978 – a run of nine matches – and there are better wagers to be had than backing them to snap that streak here, including on a 21-year-old forward currently playing a starring role in Arsenal’s EPL title tilt.
Italy vs England betting tips
Check out all the latest Italy vs England odds at Betzone
Saga of low-scoring encounters makes stalemate a big runner
Italy’s 1-0 Nations League win over England last November ended a run of four consecutive draws between the sides, with the last three of those stalemates coming in 2018, 2021 and 2022.
That suggests we have two very well-matched sides on our hands and this will surely be the case, but it shouldn’t distract from the fact that the Azzurri can run anyone close on home soil – no matter how good or bad they are.
Eight of their last nine home internationals were decided by a single goal margin (if they were decided at all) with wins over 2-1 wins over Belgium and Hungary, 1-1 draws with Bulgaria, Switzerland and Germany and a 0-1 loss to North Macedonia falling within that period.
Gareth Southgate’s men cut loose at the World Cup, hitting six past a discombobulated Iran and three past Wales and Senegal, yet it would be no surprise if they lack such a cutting edge here.
The Three Lions netted just one goal across their three Nations League away games last season and may settle for an approach of limited adventure given a point would be an excellent result.
A goal apiece the correct score favourite for good reason
Three of Italy’s last five face-offs with England have finished 1-1, as have two of England’s last three away internationals. That scoreline looks well worth backing again.
Robert Mancini’s men have conceded exactly once in six of their last nine home games and that could easily be the ceiling of the visitors’ scoring possibilities in the injury absence of Marcus Rashford, their most in-form goalscorer.
Mancini isn’t exactly overwhelmed with prolific international marksmen to call upon either. The top scorer in his current squad is veteran centre-half Leonardo Bonucci with eight Italy strikes to his name.
Brilliant Bukayo best value to make the breakthrough
Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka has arguably been their MVP so far this season and the 21-year-old has been both scoring and assisting goals with impressive consistency.
Over Saka’s last 10 games for his club he’s scored five times. That’s as many as Hary Kane has managed over the same period yet Kane is 17/10 to notch anytime whereas the former is 7/2.
The young Gunner also out-bagged the England captain at the World Cup by a margin of three strikes to two and he looks far better value than the Spurs man, so often oddly lethargic in an England shirt, in Naples.