As the group stages neared a close, there were some bets in the Euro odds that figured to be a lock to come in from the moment the first match took to the pitch.
Scotland to go out in the group stage? Lock it in. A Scottish goalkeeper surrendering an absolutely horrific goal? Safe as houses. England failing to live up to expectations? We’ve seen that scenario play out many times before.
That being said, there are also a number of wagers on tap in the UEFA Euro tournament that remain worthy of investigation. Who will top the goal-scoring race? What about the player of the tournament? Which player will pass out the most assists? Which two nations are mostly likely to clash in the final?
There are prop wagers on all of these outcomes and if you can break it down and come up with a winning player or combination, it will prove to be quite rewarding.
Two former Manchester United players are among four deadlocked atop the scoring charts with three goals apiece. This duo would be Belgium’s Romelo Lukaku and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Lukaku (+225) and Ronaldo (+275), the ageless wonder and the passer-offer of Coca-Cola, are given the shortest odds in this betting market. But why not look elsewhere for better value?
Italy isn’t just winning matches, the Italians are punishing the back of the net. They’ve scored seven goals in three matches. Both Ciro Immobile and Manuel Locatello sit on two goals. Locatelli is an interesting case study. Across all competitions for his club team Sassuolo in Serie A he scored four times in 34 matches. In six matches for Italy this year, he’s netted three goals. He can be had for +8000.
Immobile, by contrast, is a goal-poaching machine. He scored 25 times this season for Lazio. In six matches for his country, he’s found the next five times. At +900, he might be a bargain.
Italy, with a 30-match unbeaten streak, are again looking like the Azzurri of old, just as those Dutch Masters of the Netherlands are once more shining on the big stage. Memphis DePay has two goals and is available at +1000. Even though he’s scored three times, ex-Liverpool man Georginio Wijnaldum is at +1400. Considering he’s scored 15 goals in his last 25 matches for the national side, he might be worth a look.
If you were to go by the UEFA scoring system for determining the best players in the tournament, Locatelli is the current leader. The Italian midfielder has compiled 3,834 points. Ronaldo follows him in second with 3,279 points. As far as the best player in the tournament odds, you’ll get +5000 were you to make a play on Locatelli. Ronaldo comes in at a betting line of +1400.
Interestingly, none of the top three in the odds in this betting market - Belgium’s Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City (+700), his Belgian teammate Lukaku (+900) and France’s Kylan Mbappe (+800) - rate a spot among the UEFA Euro top 20 rankings.
As well, there are three England players who rate among the top 20 in the betting odds to be player of the tournament. Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling are all at +4000. However, not one England player graded out among the top 20 in the UEFA rankings system.
Another prop wager that provides intrigue is an exact final play. Name the two sides that will end up playing in the final and it can pay out handsomely.
Curiously, the favourite to be the last match is a repeat of the tournament’s first match. A France-Germany final is the top betting choice at odds of +1200. England is in the next three finals on the odds board - vs Italy (+1400), France (+1600) and Belgium (+1600). At the opposite end of the spectrum, an England-Poland final is among the longest shots on the board. It’s grouped with seven other potential final matchups at a betting line of +25000.
By the way, if you’re into following trends, though it was a struggle to score, England went through the group stage without conceding a goal. That last time an England side kept clean sheets through an entire group stage of a major tournament was during the 1966 World Cup.