Delayed for one year due to the Covid pandemic, the European Football Championships are finally here. Which country will you be backing to win?
England, Wales and Scotland represent the home nations and England manager Gareth Southgate believes he already knows at least ten of the eleven players who will begin the campaign next Sunday when England host Croatia, a game for which England are the best price 5/6 favourites to win.
John Murray of BBC 5 Live asked Southgate if he knew his starting 11: “There’s probably one decision left to make in my head. But we’ve got another week to get through. Every time over the last three months I’ve pieced the squad or team together, that’s changed painfully and rapidly with injuries. Let’s hope we can get through to next Sunday without losing any more players.”
Scotland go into the tournament on the back of a five game unbeaten run. Two substitutes impressed when coming on for Scotland during their 1-0 friendly victory against Luxembourg. 19 year old Billy Gilmour, a late entrant to the squad, came on for the second half and, to quote Pat Nevin: “He completely controlled the game. Scotland looked better when he was on the pitch. If you watch him playing for Chelsea, along the likes of N’Golo Kante, he doesn’t look out of place. He might be young but he’s good enough.”
Wales drew 0-0 with Albania in their friendly match last Friday having previously lost 3-0 to France, who many punters fancy will win the Euros. Wales stand in manager Robert Page will be hoping Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey can turn back time and be as influential as they were at the 2016 tournament.
The bookies are hoping for a bumper Euros with betting on football never being more popular with punters than it is these days.
As of Monday June 7th, the bookies have France as the 5/1 favourites, England are best price 11/2 with Betway, Belgium 15/2, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy are all priced at or around 9/1. You can get 11/1 with one online bookie for the in form Italians to win the tournament.
My Scottish football tipster Robert Ryan is a wise, forward planning punter and as long ago as April 2020 he used a ‘free bet’ to back Italy to win the tournament at odds of 16/1. That looks to be a sound investment right now. Italy won all ten of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. They are unbeaten from their last 27 consecutive matches. It’s led to manager Roberto Mancini having his contract extended until 2026.
Paddy Power have a special offer when it comes to betting on the top goalscorer at the tournament. Anyone placing a £10 bet on a player of their choice will receive a £1 free bet for every shot that player has on target during the campaign. Inevitably, because of that offer, the top goalscorer odds on offer with Paddy Power are shorter than with some other bookies. They have Harry Kane as 9/2 favourite to net the most goals whereas you can get 6/1 and 7/1 elsewhere.
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku is popular with punters in that market. Robert Ryan has backed him to be top goalscorer at odds of 7/1 (Paddy Power offer 6/1) and Robert has also backed him to simply score the most goals for his country at odds of 4/5. As long as the striker who has done so well for Inter Milan since his move from Manchester United remains fit, that looks a sound bet to my eyes. Lukaku says he wants to stay in Italy but Inter may be tempted to sell him should the likes of Chelsea offer big money. Belgium manager Roberto Martinez says Eden Hazard will be fit to play following his injury hit season at Real Madrid.