The Euros have been fun so far. They got off to a rough start with Danish Star, Christian Eriksen, going into cardiac arrest in the opening match for Denmark (update: he’s all good now). There have been some wild games, a few big upsets, and plenty of action on the pitch.
For the Knockout round, there are 16 teams remaining and a plethora of good value bets out there. All eyes will be on Germany vs England in the Eastern side of the bracket, while Belgium/Portugal and Croatia/Spain will be the big ones on the Western side.
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Thus far, the powerhouses are showing up. Spain may be finally finding some offensive rhythm (or it could be that Slovakia was just that bad). Belgium appears to be very strong, while Portugal appears to have sacrificed their stellar defense from 2016 in favor of offensive potency this year.
Sweden is playing highly efficient football, scoring with low possession and shots on goal by maximizing the talent of Emil Forsberg and Aleksander Isaak up front. Germany seems to be the Jekyl and Hyde team of the tourney thus far, while England may possibly be better than their team who finished fourth at the last World Cup.
The Dutch are still the high-flying, dangerous squad they seem to be every other major tournament, but France is still the team to beat (according to the oddsmakers) .
Let’s get into some quick picks for the Round of 16, as well as some intriguing futures bets for the rest of the tournament.
England to finish Top Two +275
It’s worth noting some of the location of some of the upcoming matches may play a role in the outcomes; especially for England. For one, England plays Germany in London in the round of 16. Now, you may be saying, “England never beats Germany in Major Tournaments.”
That may be true, but They did pull off the feat about 55 years ago, so let’s not rule them out. England looks very strong defensively and Raheem Sterling is finally starting to look like the guy his club and country have hoped he could become (it only took a decade). Assuming the English make it past the volatile Germans (and that is still a big assumption), they would play their only remaining away game in Rome against either Ukraine or Sweden.
Sweden is traditionally a savvy defensive squad, but Poland exposed their back line in the final group game, and the Swedish defenders somehow lost Robert Lewandowski, twice. Expect Grealish and Sterling to find a few opportunities in what should be a relatively comfortable victory in Rome. After that, the English team would be playing each remaining game in London.
Looking ahead, they would likely play the Dutch in the Semifinal, in London. The Dutch will likely be without Luuk de Jong, which probably doesn’t mean much, given the fact Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay have been the better overall players at the front (fast and opportunistic as well). This will be the biggest hurdle for the English on their road to the final. If you believe the English can get by both the Dutch and the Germans in London, this bet looks very nice.
Netherlands to finish Top Two +350
As we noted with England, that side of the bracket is relatively easy. The Netherlands have a Round of 16 matchup against the Czech Republic, followed by a Quarterfinal matchup against either Wales or Denmark. It’s the softest road to the Semifinals for any team remaining.
Sure, anything can happen in big tournaments and we usually get some wackiness, but these odds are hard to ignore (given the road to the final two). As we stated earlier, the Dutch will be without one of their forwards.
However, it shouldn’t matter much as de Jong isn’t much for pace and doesn’t exactly mesh well with the speed currently featured in their starting eleven. The Dutch look great so far, even if their road thus far hasn’t appeared to be much of a challenge. If the Dutch can get past the English or Germans in the semifinals, this futures pick is as good as gold.
France over Switzerland (inside 90 minutes) -190
France is the tournament favorite. As such, there are few who believe Switzerland can actually knockout the French in the Round of 16. I am one of those people. Italy proved not only to be too much for the Swiss offensively, they were too much defensively as well. Though the French do not appear to be as buttoned-up defensively, the French attack will feature speed and talent at a level the Swiss have not faced in a long time. I see a 2-1 or 3-1 French victory after 90 minutes.
Italy over Austria (inside 90 minutes) -210
Italy has not allowed a goal in their last six matches and have not lost a match in an international competition since losing 1-0 to Sweden in the World Cup playoff opening leg in Stockholm back in 2017. They are defensively sound and offensively potent.
This team resembles more of the Italian team we saw win the World Cup in 2006. They have cruised through the group and now will face an Austrian team who had possibly the weakest group in a European Championship in recent memory. Between North Macedonia and Ukraine, the Austrians were only really challenged against the Netherlands (a challenge they weren’t up for).
Austria is lacking from an offensive standpoint, though their defense has been relatively decent. In the end, I expect Italy will dominate possession and put an overwhelming amount of pressure on Austria, ultimately leading to a couple goals. I like Italy safely here.
Wales over Denmark (inside 90 minutes) +440
The Danes have had a very emotional tournament. However, I think this may be the end of the line for them in this competition. Christian Eriksen is the key to unlocking the Danish offense and without him, they just don’t have near the same ceiling.
On the other side, this may be the last European Championship appearance for Gareth Bale and could be the last chance for the Welsh to make a historic run on the big stage. With their window closing, the Welsh still feature a fast and dangerous group on the counter with Bale, James and Ramsey. I’m calling for a 2-1 Welsh victory with the counter-attack keying the victory.