UEFA EURO 2016: Outright Betting Preview
Football Form Labs Verdict
The record of top-six ranked teams points heavily to the three favourites of Spain, Germany and France. Provided Spain tops their group then the draw should give them a wonderful chance of reaching the final and potentially claiming a third consecutive title.
France, meanwhile, have the easiest route of all in terms of getting to the semi-finals. They were Euro Under-19 Champions in 2010 and World Under-20 Champions in 2013 and have a squad that looks to be coming to the boil at the perfect time. Les Bleus have won their last three major tournaments on home soil (Confederations Cup 2003, World Cup 1998, Euro 1984) and they have a great chance to enjoy another success here.
Defending World Champions have an excellent recent record at European Championships, as three of the last four have reached the final. However, Germany look set to have a far tougher quarter-final than either Spain or France and then a semi-final clash between themselves and the host is a big negative for both their chances.
Furthermore, with that semi-final taking part just three days before the final, and 24 hours after the first semi, whoever advances will have to battle some extra fatigue. In fact if Spain and France were to meet in the final having won their groups then from the quarters onwards Spain would have to play three matches in 11 days while France would have to do so in just eight.
This highlights how much tougher the bottom half of the draw is and so the better value is in the top half. Of course, we’ve mentioned earlier that Spain have a far from clear path through their group. And therefore it’s worth a saver on Croatia. Ante Cacic only took over less than a year ago but he’s made an excellent start to his time in charge, winning four of his opening five matches, and he’s been blessed with a squad that is full of quality.
Surprisingly, the other most obvious bet in the top half of the draw is England. A perfect qualifying record has raised hopes of a first title in 50 years. A relatively easy group followed by a third-placed side and then a likely quarter-final with Portugal or Italy – neither of whom are particularly strong right now – is as much as any team could ask for.
Portugal’s problem is the same as it’s been for the past 10 years – they are overly reliant on Ronaldo in attack and it’s why they’ve scored just 21 times in 20 games since the start of the 2014 World Cup. Italy’s problems are also in attack, with Daniele De Rossi being the only player in their squad with more than four international goals and neither do the newer players in the squad look like they have the quality to dominate at this level.
Given those teams will face a tough Last 16 clash we’re perfectly happy to side with England at a shorter price, although if Italy upset Belgium in their group opener we would certainly add a Belgian team to our book given the quality they possess.
With Eden Hazard returning to form (and certainly not tired after his exertions this season) and the exceptional Kevin De Bruyne they have the X-Factor to go with quality in all positions and are a major reason to avoid Germany, given that is their more probable quarter-final.
With 17 wins in their last 23 matches, prior to the pre-tournament friendlies, they are very real contenders even if they win their group and go into the tough bottom-half of the draw – though that would almost certainly be the toughest route to the final of all teams.
Overall, Spain look the best and most reliable bet right now, with England and Croatia worth smaller punts and Belgium one to keep a close watch on.
One further point to note is that 17/38 Euro Championship knock-out games since 1992 have finished level after 90 minutes and so if there are any offers available relating to money back on your outright selection if they are knocked out on penalties they are definitely worth considering.