Even though there is a gaping chasm between these two teams in terms of quality these days, but there are few more appetising fixtures in international football than a meeting between Scotland and England.
Even though we are only halfway through the qualifying campaign for World Cup 2018, things are already starting to become increasingly important for those with interest in reaching the finals in Russia next year.
For England, victory will maintain their four-point cushion at the summit of Group F as a bare minimum, and with home games still to come with Slovakia and Slovenia that would be most welcome.
As for Scotland, they are six points behind the English but just two shy of Slovakia in second; which could yield a play-off spot. So for the Scots, there is still plenty to play for.
And then of course there’s the not inconsequential matter of old rivalries, with England vs Scotland as a contest dating back more than a century. So points and pride are there to be won – that should be a heady mix for punters and spectators come Saturday at Hampden Park.
Given the ferocity of the rivalry between the two, it is surprising just how easily England won the first game between these two at Wembley back in November. The 3-0 scoreline did not flatter Gareth Southgate’s men, and in fact could have been a whole heap more embarrassing for the Scots.
But in front of an impassioned Hampden crowd you would expect a better showing from the Tartan Army, who are in decent nick on home soil (W5 D3 L2). The 1-0 win over Slovenia in their last qualifier will have gone some way to restoring national pride too.
The point is that, man for man, England are the better side, and if all things are equal will beat Scotland on Saturday. Okay, so it might not be by an overwhelming 3-0 scoreline, but we would expect the Three Lions to enjoy plenty of possession and eventually break down the Scots’ dogged rearguard.
Given that Scotland haven’t beaten England on home soil since 1985, you’d have to argue that odds of 7/10 on an English victory are rather generous; that’s where our money is going anyway.
The main problem from a Scottish perspective is that they simply don’t score enough goals. In five qualifiers thus far they have notched seven – but five of those came in one game versus Malta!
That is probably the upshot of having a pragmatic manager such as Gordon Strachan, who will always put defence at the heart of their philosophy. England, meanwhile, are yet to concede in their five qualification outings.
And so punters are handed a few intriguing options. England to win to nil will certainly be of interest to some at 6/4, and Under 2.5 Goals at 3/5 has the feel of a banker about it.
Having ended the domestic season with 12 goals in nine games, Harry Kane will be desperate to continue that good form in England colours. There is absolutely no reason why he can’t find the net in this game, and so quotes of 5/4 on the Spurs man to score anytime and 7/2 to be first goalscorer are huge prices.
So that’s a stack of ideas for punters ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash, and with all the evidence presented we have a couple more to sign off with: Dutch the 1-0 and 2-0 scorelines to England at 9/2 and 11/2 respectively.