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Odds and Ends

Nations League: Germany & Italy Collide

by Josh Ricker
Updated On: June 13, 2022, 10:20 pm ET

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The UEFA Nations League wraps up for the summer with a 12-match slate on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, we went 0-2 this Sunday in our last Nations League set. Portugal were somehow stumped by a previously helpless Switzerland side and Norway were not able to hold a clean sheet, despite completing the impressive double on their Nordic neighbors, Sweden.

Regardless, there are solid plays all around the board on Tuesday. Some matches definitely carry more weight than others, depending on the league and group standings. However, it is one of the last chances players have to strut their stuff ahead of Qatar 2022 so do not expect a full set of snoozers. You can find both of my bets on the PointsBet Sportsbook.

Germany vs Italy (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET)

Under 2.5 total goals (-115)

In all fairness, Germany vs Italy is probably the match most neutrals have their eye on. Nations League or not, this is going to be a slugfest between two European heavyweights. Die Nationalmannschaft vs Azzurri. Flick vs Mancini. Neuer vs Donnarumma. What is there not to love here? The pageantry on its own is reason enough to tune in.

With that being said, I would expect a rather tame match of footy on Tuesday. Currently, Italy are atop Group C with five points while Germany stalks just one point behind. England will probably jump up to five points on Tuesday as well, assuming they avoid losing consecutive matches to Hungary. 

As a result, I foresee Italy and Mancini playing for a draw here. Snatching a point in Germany would be massive for their Nations League Finals hopes. Additionally, they do not have to worry about the World Cup in the fall, so they can go all out in those two September fixtures. 

Italy has also been playing with a very rotated starting 11, which does not help their goal scoring tally. In fact, the side has been essentially barren of its Euro 2020 victors, including the likes of Jorginho, Veratti, Chiesa, Immobile and Insigne. 

For Germany, they have been frankly unimpressive in the Nations League. They are sort of just coasting through it, testing new lineups along the way. In the reverse fixture, they dominated 68% of the ball, but only tested Donnarumma four times. 

Betting on the under just seems like a no-brainer here. In Germany’s last five games, they have only scored six goals while having been expected to score almost nine. On top of that, in Germany and Italy’s five combined Nations League fixtures, they have only broken the over on 2.5 goals once. Considering this bet has hit in four of their five competitive matches against one another, it seems like a safe, multi-unit play. 

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Ukraine vs Ireland (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET)

Ukraine Moneyline (-130) 

Next, I have a somewhat chalky pick with the Ukraine moneyline. They play Ireland on Tuesday afternoon and for me, the destination makes all the difference. The match is being played at Stadion ŁKS in Lodz, Poland which was also host to their most recent 3-0 victory over Armenia. 

Millions of Ukrainians have had to fLee to Poland in recent months to escape the raging war in their country. While this match cannot be played in Kyiv, there will be an atmosphere like no other for the blue and yellow in Lodz.

Nonetheless, Ukraine will have to make due without Benfica striker, Roman Yaremchuk, which will be a setback. However, Andriy Yarmolenko makes for a great replacement off the bench. His 53 goal involvements for Ukraine do all the talking for him in terms of contribution.

Conversely, Seamus Coleman will miss another match for Ireland due to injury. Ukraine tried to exploit the weakened right side last week, focusing 42% of their attacks there. With the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko at left-back, I would expect a similar strategy this time around. 

Overall, this is a match where you can just see emotion lifting Ukraine through, one step closer to League A promotion. 

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Josh Ricker

Josh is an avid and often unfiltered soccer content creator for NBC Sports EDGE, Dime and his own podcast, The Maine Stand. If he is not coming up with a juicy pick, you will most likely find him ground-hopping to new soccer stadiums. Follow Josh on twitter @lfc_jdr