Montenegro (+900) at Russia (-300), Draw (+333)
Austria have already claimed top spot in Group G during Euro 2016 qualification, meaning there is just one more automatic entry up for grabs from the grouping. Russia can claim second-place and a berth in the main draw with a win or a draw against Montenegro on Monday at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow (12:00 PM Eastern).
Russia earned their third straight win on Friday with a 2-1 away victory over Moldova. They are now sitting on 17 points, two ahead of third-place Sweden (but eight back of Austria). A single point from Monday’s game would guarantee Russia at least a tie for second place, and they own the tiebreaker with Sweden thanks to a 1-0-1 head-to-head record.
Though Russia have struggled away from home at times during qualification, they have been excellent on home soil, and will be facing a Montenegrin side that has mustered just ten goals through nine games.
Montenegro has never been in a European competition as an independent nation and, sitting on 11 points, have already been eliminated from Euro 2016. Two losses in the last three games – including a home loss to group leaders Austria last time out – sealed their fate.
Due to the relative youth of Montenegro as a country, these two teams have met just once before. That match, back in March, was marred with controversy; with the score still nil-nil, the referees declared the match abandoned after 67 minutes when Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck by an item thrown from the crowd. As per UEFA rules, the host Montenegrins forfeited the match (3-0).
Given that this game is taking place in the motherland, look for Russia to punch their ticket to France in style with a fourth straight W.
Pick: Russia (-300).
(Photo credit: By Новикова Юлия (http://soccer.ru/gallery/52931) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)