Belgium – $1.75 at Sportsbet
Draw – $3.75 at Bet365.com
Republic of Ireland – $5.50 at William Hill
Belgium have a few issues to resolve as they look to bounce back into contention for the 2016 European Championships.
Marc Wilmots’ men went down 2-0 to an upbeat Italy side in their Group E opener, but they only had themselves to blame.
Divock Origi was the chief culprit in a wasteful second half, spurning two glorious opportunities to head the Belgians back into the game.
But at least the Liverpool striker had chances to burn, unlike the man he replaced at half time.
Romelu Lukaku was hardly sighted at the head of the Belgian attack, although he wasn’t helped by some of Wilmots’ selections.
The decision to play Marouane Fellaini as a second striker drew widespread criticism, not least from within his own squad.
Yannick Carrasco’s chances of a starting berth don’t look good after he commented on a Facebook post slamming the Belgium coach’s lineup.
The Atletico Madrid winger’s message was a simple one: “Suis d’accord” (I agree).
There are also reports circulating of a bust-up between Wilmots and his first-choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois.
Can the Red Devils sort out their dressing room dramas in time for this weekend’s crunch clash with the Republic of Ireland?
Martin O’Neill’s men were among the most impressive performers of matchday one, battering Sweden from go-to-woe while keeping Zlatan Ibrahimovic firmly under wraps.
Were it not for an in-form crossbar and a late own goal by Ciaran Clark, the Irish could be heading to Bordeaux as leaders of the toughest group in the tournament.
Almost half the ROI squad plays in the second tier of English club football, but their gaffer reckons they have what it takes to trouble what he dubbed “the most talented set of individual players at the tournament”.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, O’Neill said: “Belgium have a very talented squad, they will be disappointed with the first game.
“I am sure they’d have planned to get something from that and Belgium not qualifying for the last 16 is not something they will have contemplated.
“But if we take our performance against Sweden into the Belgium game, we can cause them problems.”
Robbie Brady – one of Ireland’s best in their opening draw – said the players were well aware of the task before them.
“We know they’re a top-class team and they’ll be coming in prepared,” the Norwich midfielder told the press.
“They’re obviously going to be coming to win as well as we are.
“I’m not sure what they will be feeling, to be fair, but we’ll just be doing our part to get ready for them and hopefully it’s a good game.”
Eden Hazard Euro 2016 betting specials
Many observers felt Belgium’s star playmaker was marginalised by Wilmots’ formation against Italy.
Both he and Kevin de Bruyne were left to patrol the flanks while the strong but technically awkward Fellaini clogged the crucial space between midfield and attack.
Will the Belgian boss bow to public pressure and play Hazard in a more central role this weekend?
Wilmots’ opposite number seems to think he should, calling the 24-year-old “one of the best players playing in the world right now”.
With the form he brought in from the back end of an otherwise forgettable Premier League campaign, Hazard should be right at the heart of Belgian’s best work going forward.
Hazard to score anytime – $3.20 (William Hill)
Hazard to score anytime and Belgium to win – $4 (Sportsbet)
Hazard to score Belgium’s first – $5 (Sportsbet)
Hazard to score the first goal – $7 (Sportsbet)
Hazard first goal and Belgium to win – $9 (William Hill)
Hazard to score two or more goals – $15 (Sportsbet)
Hazard first goal and Belgium to win 2-1 – $71 (Bet365)
Hazard to score a hat-trick – $101 (William Hill)