Euro 2020 mid-term report: Pre-tournament picks still offering value

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Original selections: Italy 11/1, Denmark 28/1 each way

Best bet now: Denmark 18/1 e/w with Planet Sport Bet

It couldn’t have gone much better so far for our 11/1 picks Italy.

They won every group game without conceding a goal and their impressive, attacking displays have seen their price slashed almost in half ahead of a last-16 tie with Austria.

It’s hardly controversial to say they’ve been the team of the tournament thus far and they go into the knockout stages unbeaten in their last 30 matches.

Now the hard work will begin – and they are in what looks the tougher half of the draw.

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If they beat Austria, Roberto Mancini‘s side will face either Belgium or Portugal in the quarter-finals, with the odds suggesting France will be waiting in the semis, should Italy get that far.

You therefore wonder whether the value in their price has now gone, especially when you consider they must now hit the road having played all their matches so far in Rome.

Our each-way picks, Denmark, somehow scrambled through despite the near-tragedy in their opening game.

And having landed in the weaker-looking side of the draw, their claims look to have strengthened, even given the loss of their star man, Christian Eriksen.

Full-back Joakim Maehle has been one of the stars of the tournament so far, helping prove the Danes do have goals in them despite the absence of Eriksen.

Denmark's Joakim Maehle has impressed

Denmark’s Joakim Maehle has impressed

The way they played against Belgium and Russia suggested they can cause most teams problems.

They’ll fancy their chances against Wales with the winner progressing to a quarter-final with Netherlands or Czech Republic. That’s a good draw.

Priced at 28/1 pre-tournament, Denmark are now at 20/1 and for those not already on at the bigger price, that’s worthy of consideration.

The Dutch scored more goals than any other team in the group stage (eight), which is good news for our 13/2 ‘highest tournament scorers’ bet.

However, they’ve looked suspect at the back and for all their attacking verve, it’s hard to see them going all the way and 9/1 looks short enough.

Similar things can be said of Belgium at the same price – the world’s top-ranked team have had the worst of the draw. They face Portugal next and could then have to get past Italy and France just to reach the final.

Belgium face a tough route to the final

Belgium face a tough route to the final

The French remain in their pre-tournament position as favourites but the world champions won just one of their three group games. Admittedly it was a tricky group but they’ll still need to improve from here if they are to justify odds of 4/1.

On the other side of the draw – the side containing Denmark – the winner of the EnglandGermany last-16 clash will be favoured to reach the final by the layers so there’s an argument for backing one of those at 7/1 each way now.

England are yet to concede, having ground out results in the group stage. Is anyone else starting to compare them to the Greece side who became European champions in 2004?

They’ve been installed as slight favourites to beat Germany at Wembley on Tuesday. If they do, they’ll set up a quarter-final with either Sweden or Ukraine – not a bad fixture for a trip to Rome which would be the Three Lions’ only game away from Wembley.

Still, beating the Germans will be a mental hurdle to overcome as much as anything – remember this is the side which beat them in the knockout stages of both the 1970, 1990 and 2010 World Cups, plus Euro 96.

While they came within six minutes of being eliminated at the group stage, Germany did show their brighter side when dismantling Portugal 4-2.

Tap back into that form and they have the potential to come through this weaker section of the draw.

England are favourites for the Germany game but that’s in part due to the weight of money which will be placed on them.

Plenty will fancy Germany given all the cliches – ‘you kick the ball around for 90 minutes and the Germans win’ – but there’s also no doubt this isn’t a vintage German side.

I find this one tough to call and while I wouldn’t be surprised to see the winner go through to the final, I still like the look of the Danes at a much bigger price in this section.

Top scorer/Golden boot

Original selections: Lukaku 15/2, Torres 40/1 e.w., Eriksen 100/1 e.w., Wijnaldum 125/1 e.w.

Best bet now: Kai Havertz 33/1 e.w with Planet Sport Bet.

Is this done and dusted?

Cristiano Ronaldo netted five goals in the group stage – two more than any of his rivals. He may well have already done enough to win this prize.

His rivals can at least draw some hope from the fact that Ronaldo’s Portugal face Belgium in the last 16 in what looks a real blockbuster.

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There’s a real chance Portugal go no further which would clearly weaken the odds-on favourite’s chances.

Romelu Lukaku could help send Ronaldo and co home.

Our 15/2 pre-tournament tip has managed three goals so far, looking sharp in every game, but he will almost certainly need his team to progress to the last eight if he’s to catch Ronaldo.

He’s now second favourite at a slightly shorter 6/1.

Our long shot selection, Gini Wijnaldum, has more than justified our faith in backing him at 125/1.

As suggested in our initial preview, he’s managed to make the most of a weak group to score three times.

Playing much further forward than he ever did in his Liverpool days, Wijnaldum has been a regular in the penalty area and he could easily have scored more than his current tally.

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With the Czech Republic next and either Wales or Denmark in the last eight if they progress, Wijnaldum – and his team-mate Memphis Depay (two goals so far) – look to have a decent chance of getting plenty more game-time to add to their goal totals.

At around 20/1 with firms still offering each-way betting, either Dutchman could be backed but the concern – as it was from the start – is that the pair share the goals and both end up falling short.

Centre forward Ciro Immobile has had a large percentage of Italy’s shots in the two games he’s played, impressing in both, but Italy’s draw is much tougher which is somewhat off-putting.

As talked about above, the other side of the draw – the one containing England and Germany – looks considerably weaker and maybe that provides a nod to where the current value could lie.

The winner of the England-Germany last-16 tie will be well placed so it’s worth considering Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz in the current market.

England's Raheem Sterling has scored both his side's goals

England’s Raheem Sterling has scored both his side’s goals

Both have two goals so far so are only one outside the places as things stand.

Havertz is at 66/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair, who offer a third of the odds for a place in the top two, or 50s with Sky Bet, who will give you three places.

That looks tempting about a player who delivered on the big stage when netting the winner in last month’s Champions League final.

Meanwhile, Sterling is 40/1 with betway (a quarter of the odds, three places).

He’s England’s only goalscorer so far and seems to have earned the trust of boss Gareth Southgate.

With Harry Kane out of sorts, the Manchester City forward will be expected to contribute.

The problem is England have looked far from free-scoring and while they do have a good chance to progress deep into the tournament, their most likely way of doing so looks to be relying on their tight defence and grinding out results.

So, of the pair, Havertz looks the call.

Other markets

Player of the tournament

Paul Pogba has enjoyed an excellent tournament

Paul Pogba has enjoyed an excellent tournament

Kevin de Bruyne finds himself the 8/1 favourite despite only starting one group game. That’s largely due to the high number of goal involvements.

With Belgium now facing a tough route to the final, he’s short enough.

The one who looks a big price now is France’s Paul Pogba at 16/1.

The Manchester United man has made an excellent impression in the midfield of a team favourites to win the competition.

Unlike Belgium (and Italy, England and Netherlands for that matter), many of France’s players have the experience of going all the way at a major tournament and that could be a huge factor in the latter stages of this event.

For those looking for an interest now, Pogba looks to offer value.

Tournament top scorers

It’s hard not to be happy with our position here having tipped up the Netherlands pre-tournament at 13/2.

They top-scored with eight in the group stage and have a decent-looking path to the semi-finals (Czech Republic next, then Wales/Denmark in the quarter-finals). It’s no wonder they are now 11/4 favourites.

Italy, Portugal and Belgium are all one back but two of those will be out before the semis.

Germany and Spain come next with six goals each.

The Germans have potential now at 7/1 – if they can overcome England in the last 16.

They tore into Portugal to show what they are capable of. They look the bet now if you are going to have one.

But if you are on Netherlands already, sit tight and hopefully you’ll have a 13/2 winner on your hands soon.


Milan Skriniar delivered for us at 33/1

Milan Skriniar delivered for us at 33/1

To finish off this preview, it would be remiss not to mention the 33/1 winner we’ve already landed – Milan Skriniar finished as Slovakia‘s top scorer, as recommended back at the start of the month.

Ezgjan Alioski was the joint winner of the equivalent North Macedonia market at 9/1 – a two-way dead heat still meant a decent payout.

A few of our other specials tips are also still going strong, including Memphis Depay for most tournament assists at 25/1.

He has two so far, putting him just one behind joint leaders Steven Zuber, of Switzerland, and Denmark’s Pierre-Emile Hjobjerg.

READ MORE: Seven worst own goals scored in the European Championships: Johnson, Szczesny, Dubravka…

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