The delayed Euro 2020 tournament is somehow squeezed into the bloated 2021 soccer calendar (thanks COVID) and it is almost go time…
The plan, put in place long before the pandemic hit, was to use 12 host cities to mark the 60th anniversary of the first event.
The semi-finals and final will take place at London’s Wembley Stadium. The tournament is slated to run for exactly one month – from June 11 to July 11.
Whether the tournament structure sees it through this global vaccination period remains to be seen, but when picking a winner, we need to assume that crowds will at best be drastically educed. And so home advantage, often such a big factor in all sports, will be somewhat eroded.
Then again, history hasn’t been too kind to past European Championship host nations; the last one to triumph was France in 1984 and it lost the final on home turf in 2016, just as Portugal had in 2004. Hosts lost in the semi-final in 1988 (West Germany) 1992 (Sweden) 1996 (England) and 2000 (Netherlands).
Latest Euro 2020 Futures Odds
Belgium is currently favorite to win Euro 2020. Here are the odds for the leading contenders:
- Belgium +550 (widely available)
- England +600 (DraftKings)
- France +600 (DraftKings)
- Germany +800 (widely available)
- Spain +800 (widely available)
- Netherlands +850 (FanDuel)
- Italy +1200 (widely available)
- Portugal +1600 (BetAmerica)
- Croatia +3300 (widely available)
- Ukraine +6600 (widely available)
- Denmark +8000 (BetMGM, Borgata)
- Switzerland +8000 (widely available)
- Austria +10000 (FanDuel, bet365)
- Poland +10000 (FanDuel)
- Russia +10000 (FanDuel, BetAmerica)
- Sweden +10000 (widely available)
- All odds correct and updated on June 1, 2021
Predictions & Betting Picks
We’re not gonna lie – it’s a little weird to see England as one of the tournament favourites given its poor recent record and lack of home advantage due to COVID ruling out large crowds.
England has an excellent squad of players, maybe its best in a generation, but flattered to deceive against poor opposition at the 2018 World Cup and their results against good opposition haven’t gotten any better since.
Denmark and Belgium (easily) beat them in the Nations League, and while England has talented individuals including free-scoring Tottenham striker Harry Kane, the collective has yet to reveal itself. So the +600 on offer is too short. So look elsewhere for the value.
Favorite Belgium (+550) meanwhile is on a level with England but is tactically a far better team. It was unfortunate to lose to France at the semi-final stage of the World Cup and has comfortably taken care of England in the Nations League.
But it has lost some experienced names while superstar Eden Hazard seems to be in an irredeemable downturn. It have also never got it done in major tournaments. So, like England, there’s no value here.
Germany (+800) is likely still reeling from its 6-0 rout at the hands of Spain in November, and is very much a team in transition.
Coach Joachim Low has already announced that he will leave his role after the tournament, while key attacking duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have had poor seasons for English Premier League club Chelsea.
Germany has gone the distance plenty of times and will always be a threat, particularly with the depth of talent it has, but this is a team that has lost a fair amount of tournament experience. The World Cup horror show in 2018 meanwhile – where it exited an easy group at the first hurdle – is still recent enough to leave mental scars.
Spain (+850) has the same superb possession-based philosophy but the golden generation is either too old now or they are gone altogether. Good players remain, just not as good as in previous years and there’s definitely better teams at this tournament.
Portugal (+1600) is arguably a better team now than the one which won Euro 2016. The great Cristiano Ronaldo may be four years older, but the depth of talent behind him is frightening.
In offensive positions there is new Manchester United superstar Bruno Fernandes, easily one of the best playmakers in the Premier League, $130m Atletico Madrid signing Joao Felix and emerging Wolves prodigy Pedro Neto.
Add all that star quality to the defensive strength of Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo and Portugal has world-class players all over the pitch.
But so much of this team revolves around Ronaldo. At 36, is he too old to carry that weight and would the team maybe be better without him?
Italy (+1200) is still evolving under Roberto Mancini, who has called up 34 different players for his squads and though the team reached the Nations League Finals, it is still a work in progress.
The Netherlands meanwhile is welcoming a new generation of exciting players but this tournament is probably too early for them, and having lost Ronald Koeman to Barcelona and replacing him with Frank De Boer – who has failed as a coach in his last two outings – there is concern that a good team will go undercoached.
France the headline pick
And that leaves France (+600). Didier Deschamps’ reigning world champions should be the clear favorite but has by far the most testing group to navigate, in a section with Germany, Portugal and Hungary. But given the structure – 24 teams in six groups, two qualifying and four best third-placed teams also going through – it’s highly likely the three big guns will progress and so France’s odds are the most attractive.
The best team at the World Cup is still the best team in Europe, and its depth of talent is the envy of most nations. The France second string would be a contender to win this competition and most of its best players are in good form. The team is are settled, it respects and trusts coach Didier Deschamps, and in Kylian Mbappe it has the best footballer at the tournament. It is theirs to lose and Les Bleus most of our cash here as our headline prediction.
The long shot: How Swede it is
If you fancy throwing in a long shot as well, you could do way worse than wagering a few bucks on Sweden at +10000. There is plenty of precedent already for teams outperforming big odds in this tournament.
Since Denmark’s sensational upset win in 1992, we’ve had the Czech Republic in the final in 1996, rank outsiders Greece winning in 2004, as well as a somewhat unfancied Portugal in 2016.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic emerge from retirement with a view to leading his side to the final, but injury will ultimately rule him out. But that may not be too much of a problem.
Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus is the nation’s next superstar, while Alexander Isak is developing into a real talent at Real Sociedad. Sweden has a largely solid defence and though recent results in the Nations League aren’t great, the team has a favourable group with Poland, Spain and Slovakia and so should navigate to the sudden-death rounds without too much fuss.
Sweden is +10000 for a reason (losing twice to both France and Portugal of late) but it has players who can decide tight games all on their own, something that a number of the other outsiders lack. We’re happy to have a speculative small wager on them surprising a lot of people this summer.