I have been looking through the qualifying matches and the friendlies from the last few years, and all that I have decided is that they mean absolutely nothing. Most of the big teams swept through their qualifying groups against teams of vastly inferior caliber, giving us no real help on how they will do in the finals. The only team to slip up was Portugal, who only managed to come 2nd behind Denmark, who are in their group at the finals, along with Germany and Holland. That group is undoubtedly the group of death, yet bar a German or Dutch slip up, I can't really see Portugal progressing. In my opinion, the team to watch in that group is Denmark, as I feel they have the potential to nick a point off one of the big 2, as well as potentially beating Portugal. Because of this I will be laying Denmark to finish bottom at 1.7. In addition to this I had a £10 free bet from Betdaq for the Euros, so I put it on Germany to win the tournament at 4.3. Ordinarily I would trade this is if they started strongly, but with it being free bet I think I will leave it for the duration of the tournament, or at least until they trade odds-on.
Over in England's group I have already placed a £20 bet on France 1st England 2nd at odds of 5. I did this a couple of weeks ago and I am now slightly regretting it, as I am beginning to doubt England's ability to even make it out of the group. I think I will leave the bet on, though trading opportunities will be a bit tough with the two teams playing each other in the first match. England are a confusing side and our thinking is not helped by the overly-optimistic or overly-pessimistic media, so I think I will attempt to stay out of the betting when England are concerned, and I will just watch and... enjoy? Should England lose to France the odds of them progressing will presumably get more attractive however, and I may choose to spend a penny or two on that angle, though I will be careful not to get sucked into the patriotic hole of doom. A couple of bookies have offers on group winners accumulators, and Sporting Bet's appears to be the best. 50% winnings enhancement if it is successful, and if it loses by one you will get a free bet refund. This is quite tasty and I will be backing France, Spain, Germany and Russia at 21/1 (plus a 50% enhancement). Nothing exciting there, all four are favourites, but at those odds it is worth £10, and I will probably chose to lay it if things are going to plan. Definitely more of a punt than a trade though.
Over to the goalscorer markets and these are always extremely tough, mainly for the reason that no one knows who is going to start for each team. Gomez and Van Persie lead the betting and this is naturally based on their club form and the fact that they both play for strong teams. If Germany are able to progress out of their group, they will face the 2nd placed team from Group A, so a pretty easy route to the semi-finals and an opportunity for Gomez to bag a few along the way. 1.66 on Germany to reach the semis looks attractive incidentally, but I think I will leave that one. Even so however, I don't think I will be betting on Gomez or anyone else in that market as it's too tough to call, so instead I will look at the markets for top goalscorer within each club. I have been looking for a way to oppose Ronaldo scoring many throughout the tournament, but his top goalscorer price is too high to lay and the under 1.5 goals option price is okay, but not too appealing. My thinking is that I don't think that Portugal will get out of their group, and all of their group games will be very tough as they are. Ronaldo struggles in the Portugal shirt, and will attempt to drag his team through to the quarters, but for all his talent, he tends to struggle when things are left solely to him. For these reasons I think backing Benzema to be top Madrid scorer is a good bet at 2.5. As a sidenote, Ladbrokes have offered 1.83 for Ronaldo to score a freekick during the tournament is a contender for the worst bet of the tournament. Don't get me wrong, I love Ronaldo and everything he does, but his free kick conversion rate is incredibly low. He will score 4 or 5 worldies a season, but miss about 40 or 50, no bet for me.
In addition to this I fancy Van Der Vaart to be Tottenham top goalscorer at 4.0. The other contenders are Defoe, no scorer, Modric, Kranjcar and Parker. It remains to be seen if the Dutch will start with one up top as usual, or go with both Van Persie and Huntelaar, but if it is the former, I expect Van Der Vaart to be a starter. Parker, Kranjcar and Modric are not prolific goalscorers and, whilst Defoe has a goal or two in him, I can't see him getting in the team ahead of Welbeck or Carroll. If he fails to beat these two, then it is unlikely that he will have any chance when Rooney enters the fold again. Based on this therefore, I think that just one goal could be enough for VDV and as I predict the Dutch to make the Semis at least, this bet stands a good chance.
I do believe that that is all for now. Ladbrokes have an offer on the Top Goalscorer market - bet £20+ on someone, and every goal they score you will receive a £5 free bet. I will take this by betting on either Van Persie or Gomez (yet to be decided, any thoughts?) and laying them on Betfair for a small loss. One goal and free bet should put me in profit so this could potentially be a tasty offer. I will more than likely be betting more throughout the tournament but these are all of my pre-tournament bets. I'm going to be keeping my stakes low though, as like I said, it is a bit of a minefield and I don't want to blow a load on it. Please let me know your thoughts and what you personally are going for this tournament. I hope you enjoy it immensely and make a few quid along the way. And, although I am one of the pessimists, they play the most boring football, they always disappoint and the treatment of Rio has been a disgrace, come on ENGLAND! Good luck everyone.
- Laying Denmark to finish bottom of Group B @ 1.70
- Group D straight forecast: France/England @ 5.0
- To win groups: France, Germany, Spain, Russia @ 21/1 (plus add-ons)
- Benzema to be top Real Madrid scorer @ 2.5
- Van Der Vaart to be top Tottenham scorer @ 4.0
- Germany to win outright @ 4.3