The 2020 EUROs will finally get underway this week after being delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. To soccer (football) fans around the world, the EURO Cup is often looked at as coveted as the World Cup itself, especially in Europe.
For some teams, the delay has been a welcome inconvenience as their form as of late has done nothing but improve. For others, however, such as Portugal, their odds have seen a decrease due to a myriad of reasons.
One major storyline heading into this tournament is the overall advancement of European soccer as a whole. As of this week, six of the seven top spots in the FIFA World Rankings belong to European squads, as well as 10 of the top 14.
The tournament will be played over the course of the next month across 11 European cities, culminating at Wembley Stadium in London for the semi-finals and final.
Let’s take a closer look at each group and see where the edge remains as kickoff quickly approaches.
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Recent EURO Winners
Odds to Win:
After missing the World Cup in 2018, Italy has returned to elite form with something to prove heading into this tournament and is amongst the favorites to win the whole thing.
Led by Leicester stars Caglar Soyuncu and Cengiz Under, Turkey is one of this tournament’s dark horses as they have one of the best defensive fronts in the tournament, having allowed just three goals in their 10 qualifying matches.
For Switzerland, while solid, lacks any real flash and in a tournament like this full of heavy hitters, I expect a rather quick exit. As in most years, Wales will live and die by the feet of Gareth Bale, and given his climbing age and lack of talent around him, expect an early exit from this team as well.
In the end, I like Italy to additionally benefit from playing all their group matches in Rome and for them to sweep the group heading into the knockout round.
Best Bet: Italy -240
Odds to Win:
With a +37 goal differential in their qualifying matches, perhaps no team got here as easily as Belgium. Much has been made of their “Golden Generation,” who now approaches their early 30s with only a couple of big tournaments remaining.
Speaking of goal differential, Denmark just won all three of their 2022 World Cup qualifiers by a margin of 14-0, just after defeating England at Wembley back in October. An opening-round match against Finland should get them headed in the right direction.
For Russia, who will play two of three of their opening-round games in St. Petersburg, a team rebuild since the 2018 World Cup could prove challenging in a group known for their chemistry.
I don’t expect Finland to be scoring many goals in group play in what is one of the better defensive groups in the tournament. Look for under from the Finnish.
At the end of the day, while Belgium is certainly the favorite for a reason, I like this Denmark team and could see them forcing a draw when the two get together on June 17th. With that in mind, I think Denmark is the team with the most value here.
Predicted Winner: Denmark +200
Odds to Win:
North Macedonia +2600
Memphis Depay is a name you will hear early and often for the Netherlands as he leads a team that has missed out on the last two major tournaments and still lacks the talent and depth of old.
Ukraine comes into this tournament defensively-minded, and as the #24 team in the FIFA rankings, has a real shot at advancing out of this group.
In what will be their third appearance in the EUROs, Austria has a good amount of talent but still are not a real contender outside of maybe a 1-1-1 showing in group play.
North Macedonia, as you would expect, are making their first-ever EUROs appearance, fresh off an upset win over Germany in March. Expect them to be the punching bag of the group.
Though I don’t expect the Dutch to get far outside of this group, there simply isn’t enough talent on any of the other three teams to take them down early. Though they may concede a couple of goals, I like them to cruise easily.
Predicted Winner: Netherlands -240
Odds to Win:
Czech Republic +1100
Coming in as the second favorite to win the whole tournament, England has some killers on their top line and should have no problem scoring early and often here. For Croatia, their 17 points in their 10 qualifiers were among the lowest, and they’ve continued to struggle away from Croatia.
For the bottom feeders of the group Czech Republic and Scotland, both have struggled in recent World Cup qualifying, and I expect similar struggles here.
Predicted Winner: England -270
Odds to Win:
The storyline for Spain this year will likely be the absence of Sergio Ramos, which should quickly dissipate when the talent they do put on the pitch dominates from the start.
Sweden will be without legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic this year due to injury, but the nation is hoping his absence turns into a bigger group effort with a relatively young squad taking the pitch.
For Poland, an opening game match against Slovakia should give them some confidence, and their match with Sweden will likely tell the story of advancement in this one.
Don’t let Spain’s youth fool you. While they might struggle late with the relatively little experience, they should still cruise early in a very lightweight group E.
Predicted Winner: Spain -320
Odds to Win:
In clearly the most stacked group of the lot, Germany comes into Group F as the slight favorite to walk away a winner. In what will be coach Joachim Low’s final tournament, the 61-year-old will no doubt have his very balanced team ready to go.
Portugal comes into the tournament as the defending champion and will look to win back-to-back EUROs as Spain did the two prior.
For France, the favorite to win the whole tournament, a third time is hopefully the charm as they’ve reached the final in both 2016 and 2012.
As the tournament odds would imply, no team has the top to bottom talent and depth that France does. While some expect a conservative open, I like France to come out aggressive early and win Group F.
Predicted Winner: France +160
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