Can Portugal get off to a strong start in the Nations League? @TimelineCR7 (Twitter)
- International soccer is finally coming back into the fold as the UEFA Nations League kicks off its first round of matches, will a full slate of games on Saturday.
- Defending Nations League Winners Portugal will host Croatia in Porto in a match that will be the highlight of the weekend.
- Additionally, some key Nations League matches include Denmark against Belgium and Sweden squaring off against the French.
The UEFA Nations League will be back in full swing on Saturday with nine thrilling matches on the card. Portugal looks to start off a strong title defense but are given the task of facing World Cup Runners-Up Croatia in their first group stage match. These two sides are full of some of the best playmakers in the world, including Bruno Fernandes and Ivan Rakitic just to name a couple. Do not forget Cristiano Ronaldo either who will be chasing his 100th senior side goal for Portugal.
Furthermore, third-place Nations League finishers, England, will play Iceland during Jack Grealish’s first call up to play for the Three Lions. Denmark hosts star-studded Belgium in Copenhagen and France looks to continue their dominance with a win over Sweden. Overall, there is a great set of matches for Saturday that will be sure to keep fans around the world entertained.
UEFA Nations League Matchday 1 Odds Sept 5
|Team||Spread||Moneyline Odds at DraftKings||Total|
|Gibraltar||-1 (-175)||-275||O 2.5 (+123)|
|San Marino||+1 (+130)||+850||U 2.5 (-159)|
|North Macedonia||-1 (+130)||-143||O 2.5 (+133)|
|Armenia||+1 (-175)||+410||U 2.5 (-175)|
|Iceland||+1.5 (+102)||+1200||O 3.5 (+215)|
|England||-1.5 (-122)||-400||U 3.5 (-275)|
|Azerbaijan||-0.5 (+115)||+120||O 2.5 (+140)|
|Luxembourg||+0.5 (-155)||+280||U 2.5 (-186)|
|Cyprus||+0.5 (-175)||+235||O 2.5 (+155)|
|Montenegro||-0.5 (+128)||+135||U 2.5 (-210)|
|Estonia||+0.5 (-120)||+325||O 2.5 (+143)|
|Georgia||-0.5 (-112)||-106||U 2.5 (-186)|
|Denmark||+0.5 (+104)||+330||O 2.5 (-125)|
|Belgium||-0.5 (-125)||-125||U 2.5 (+105)|
|Sweden||+0.5 (+110)||+430||O 2.5 (+116)|
|France||-0.5 (-134)||-134||U 2.5 (-139)|
|Portugal||-0.5 (-109)||-108||O 2.5 (+118)|
|Croatia||+0.5 (-110)||+310||U 2.5 (-141)|
All odds taken Sept. 3
Nations League Pick 1: Sweden vs France
One intriguing Nations League match on Saturday will be Sweden hosting the defending World Cup winners, France. This is particularly interesting because unfortunately multiple France players have tested positive for Covid-19, including: Paul Pogba, Tanguy Ndombele and back-up goalie Steve Mandanda. This will slightly change Didier Deschamps lineup on the weekend, but the bottom line is that France just has too much class all around the pitch.
🚨 | Steve Mandanda withdraws from French national team, tests positive for COVID-19. https://t.co/B0Sf7RPU4s
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) September 3, 2020
From Mbappe, to Griezmann, to Martial, they are all world class talents. Even if France starts Olivier Giroud up top, they will get goals, and his form at Chelsea proves it. Furthermore, Marcus Berg has been known to have a nose for goal on the Swedish side, which is why this Nations League game in particular will surely go over 2.5 total goals.
Pick: Over 2.5 Goals (+116)
Nations League Pick 2: Iceland vs England
Secondly, England are experiencing a golden age of young talent coming through their ranks. Jadon Sancho, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marcus Rashford mixed with experienced talent like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling makes a perfect combination. To prove it, England won their last three international games by a combined score of 17-0, absolutely sublime.
On the other hand, Iceland have barely squeezed past El Salvador, Canada and Moldova. The Iceland National Team proved themselves worthy in the last World Cup, but I think in this Nations League match, they get battered. England is just too powerful offensively and will put in a handful of goals on Saturday evening.
Pick: Over 3.5 Goals (+215)
Nations League Pick 3: Portugal vs Croatia
Finally, the highlight of Saturday’s Nations League contests, Portugal against Croatia. Despite reaching the World Cup Final just two years ago, Croatia have hiccuped in their most recent fixtures. Since September, they have drawn twice to Azerbaijan and Wales, who frankly do not have a spot on the European soccer hierarchy.
Meanwhile, Fernando Santos has instilled a winning culture into his Portugal team. After winning the Euros in 2016, and the inaugural Nations League, there is no limit for this squad. Even if Ronaldo sits out of this one due to a foot infection, a midfield of Ruben Neves, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernanes is extremely hard to beat. With that being said, the moneyline does not sway too far in Portugal’s way which makes it a valuable choice.
Pick: Portugal Moneyline (-108)
Josh Ricker is a freelance sports journalist, currently attending the University of Southern Maine (Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and Marketing). He has recently interned with the AA Portland Sea Dogs, and his work has been featured on Fansided, as well as now here on SBD.