This June, 24 teams will compete at Euro 2020, the latest edition of the European Championship. As a tournament that is traditionally only held once every four (or in this instance, five) years, making predictions for the Euros comes with specific considerations that don’t apply to other aspects of soccer betting. Read on for a helpful list of things you should remember for Euros betting.
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What Euro 2020 markets does Pinnacle have?
Pinnacle is offering dozens of markets for Euro 2020 available both before and during the tournament, including but not restricted to:
- Match markets: Bet on every match of the tournament, including Money Line, Goals, Totals, Handicap, First Half, Corners, Cards, Minute and Goalscorer markets, as well as Team to Advance, Method of Winning and Extra-time and Penalty shoot-out markets for knockout matches.
- Group markets: Bet on who will win and qualify from all six groups, including Over/Under points for every team.
- Futures markets: Bet on the outright winner and top scorer of the tournament and more.
Euros betting: The importance of the draw
When making predictions for who you think will win the tournament, your decision should be based on more than simply whether the team’s squad is strong enough to do so. The group stage draw is capable of having a massive impact on proceedings and dictating precisely how easy or difficult a specific country’s chances of reaching the final are.
Mapping out a team's potential route to the final can assist with identifying value in their odds.
This was firmly illustrated by France and Croatia’s respective routes to the 2018 World Cup final. Croatia, who were broadly labelled surprise finalists after being initially valued at 31.000 to lift the trophy, encountered pre-final knockout opponents of Denmark, Russia, and England – the 15th-best, worst, and 11th-best teams in the tournament respectively according to the FIFA World Rankings at its start.
Conversely, France were greeted with Argentina, Uruguay, and Belgium – the equivalent fourth and fifth-best teams sandwiching a side who had eliminated Portugal (the third-best) in the Round of 16. Under the circumstances, it could be argued that it was in fact less surprising that Croatia had progressed to the final than France.
The Euro 2020 group stage draw has produced various permutations for several of the outright favourites. Most notably, France, Germany, and Portugal have been drawn together in Group F, meaning one could easily miss out on the Round of 16. Furthermore, the Group F runners-up will play the Group D winners, which is expected to be England – this means that at least two of the eight outright favourites could be eliminated before the tournament has even reached the quarter-finals.
On a related point, you should also keep an eye on scheduling. The Euro 2020 knockout draw means that some teams will have 15 days between their Round of 16 match and the final, whereas others will only have 12. In particular, those playing in the Round of 16 on June 29 will have no more than three days between each knockout match if they were to reach the final.
While the winners of the Euros will play only seven matches, this underlines that any assessment of a team’s ability should factor in their overall strength in depth as opposed to just their likely starting eleven.
Overall, if you’re considering a team’s chances of lifting the trophy, mapping out their potential route to the final could easily assist with identifying value in their odds.
Euros betting: How meaningful is recent form?
The extent to which recent form has a bearing on major international tournaments has been consistently debated, but there are recent examples to suggest it is worth paying attention to. During the build-up to the 2018 World Cup, Germany were installed as the favourites with many bookmakers and were also a popular choice for bettors.
A team's recent form can offer a hint that they have been overvalued by the betting market.
On the surface, this wasn’t surprising - Germany were the defending champions, second in the FIFA World Rankings, and had frequently reached the latter stages of recent international tournaments. However, they also entered the World Cup in relatively poor form, and had only beat Saudi Arabia in a friendly match in their previous six fixtures.
That didn’t represent ideal preparation for taking on a group comprised of Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, which was rated among the most difficult by the Elo World Ratings. In the event, their lacklustre results carried over into the tournament and they exited the group stage by finishing bottom of Group F.
Suitably, a team that find themselves in a similar situation ahead of Euro 2020 is England, the outright favourites to win the tournament with Pinnacle as of the end of April. Gareth Southgate’s team were imperious during qualifying and netted an unmatched 4.63 goals per game, but followed this with an underwhelming Nations League campaign during which they won just three of their six games while failing to score on three occasions.
Whether a team’s recent form is a blip or actively foreshadowing how they will perform at a future tournament needs to be settled by your own judgement, but it can prove a decent method for assessing which sides have potentially been overvalued by the betting market.
Euros betting: Trust your own judgement
Given the sense of occasion and hype that comes with tournaments such as the Euros, it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement exhibited by the betting market that results in rushed or ill-founded predictions.
Don't be afraid to defy the opinions and/or assessments of the broader betting market.
For instance, a paper by Pinnacle’s own Dominic Cortis highlighted that the odds for Brazil to win the 2014 World Cup gave them an 18% likelihood at the conclusion of the group stage, but that had risen to 25% by the kick-off of their Round of 16 match against Chile.
While Brazil had finished top of Group A unbeaten, they had offered little to warrant such a shortening of their odds. Indeed, throughout the group stage they were uncharacteristically reliant on set pieces and occasionally looked defensively shaky amidst concerns that they were struggling with the expectation of winning the tournament on home soil.
Suitably, they then proceeded to unconvincingly navigate through the knockout stages before their infamous 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany, confirming that the aforementioned shift in their odds was unwarranted.
On that occasion, it seems that bettors were a victim of anchoring bias by putting too much emphasis on pre-tournament narratives. It is therefore important to remember that if you find yourself in a situation where your assessment of a team’s performances during a tournament appears to defy that of the betting market, there is no reason not to rely on your convictions to inform your predictions.
Euros betting: What stats and methods can you use?
While it is important to remember that the Euros is an isolated tournament that takes place every four years, there are still commonly used metrics that can help advise your predictions.
Remember to establish which stats and metrics you personally consider useful to help inform your Euros predictions.
For instance, the expected goals (xG) stats for Euro 2020 qualifying throws up some interesting observations. Of the 55 teams that played, Spain recorded the highest xG per match of 2.96, while England (who as mentioned, scored the most goals per game), actually only came 15th on this front with 1.84. Of the 24 teams that qualified, Slovakia posted by far the highest expected goals conceded (xGA) of 1.73, meaning that the Goals markets for their and Spain’s Group E match are automatically worth looking into.
However, Euro 2020 does come with the specific caveat that the qualifying campaign took place much longer ago than would be the case for a normal tournament, so the results and stats for the 2020 Nations League matches may also be informative. The obvious takeaway is that the four Group A winners Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain have recently been the most adept at overcoming opponents of a similar standard, with the latter notably again leading the xG charts in the process.
For those seeking a more intrinsic level of analysis, for tournaments such as the Euros it is also possible to build betting models such as Monte Carlo simulations to establish exact probabilities and likelihoods based on the metrics you personally consider the most important.
This reinforces the point that perhaps the easiest way to establish a clear and consistent method for betting on the Euros is to decide what components and metrics you think are actively capable of deciding the tournament, and then base your decisions on what is (or isn’t) likely to happen from there.
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