Chris Coleman's side face a tricky trip to Austria on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports 1.
Austria v Wales - Thursday 19:45, Sky Sports 1
Both Wales and Austria kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaigns with victories, over Moldova and Georgia respectively. As the main rivals for top spot in Group D this looks set to be a cagey affair since neither will want to lose ground at this early stage, especially with only the group winners qualifying for Russia 2018 automatically.
Austria were considered dark horses before Euro 2016 and still have the same core group of players that performed brilliantly in qualification, winning nine of 10 unbeaten games. However, they were insipid in France and their defensive record leaves much to be desired, failing to keep a clean sheet in eight of their last nine matches. With 10 goals in his last 13 starts for Wales, Gareth Bale must be salivating at the prospect of facing the Austrian backline, and can be backed at 2.7 to score anytime.
The absence of Aaron Ramsey went unnoticed in Wales’ comprehensive 4-0 victory over Moldova. However, the Dragons (now 11th in FIFA’s world rankings) should be expected to defeat minnows at home after their Euro 2016 exploits. The semi-final loss to eventual winners Portugal is perhaps a better gauge of Wales without Ramsey, where his suspension left the side bereft of creativity and reliant on long-range strikes from Bale. Austria will attempt to isolate the Welsh superstar but respective form suggests backing Wales draw no bet at 2.38 is still the value play.