The UEFA European Championship kicks off Friday, June 11, but several major questions surround Euro 2020 betting. High Press Soccer contributor Alex Blowers joined TheLines podcast to discuss Euro 2020 and answered three big questions ahead of the tournament.
Is France the deserving favorite?
Blowers certainly thinks so.
“The favorite, France, they clearly have the best squad going into the tournament.”
He explains that the pandemic has adjusted squad numbers – from 23 to 26 men– and that France comes into Euro 2020 with the most depth.
“I think, going through the competition, they will be able to definitely dominate and get to the final,” said Blowers.
The landscape of the Euro 2020 favorites is muddy, per oddsmakers. At the top of the boards sits France and England, nearly identical in odds, followed by Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and Spain – all before getting to +1000 odds. For most bettors and UEFA fans, this tournament is a toss-up.
Blowers is backing Les Bleus. “If you’re going to bet on anyone, I’d bet France.”
Was the all-England Champions League Final a sign of Euro 2020 success?
Just a couple weeks ago, Chelsea captured the Champions League title over Manchester City 1-0, marking just the third final ever between two English clubs (2007-08 Machester United defeated Chelsea, 2018-19 Liverpool defeated Tottenham).
England doesn’t have a championship pedigree in the UEFA European Championship, making it only as far as the semifinals in the tournament’s 15 installments.
“[England’s] got a lot of positivity going into this tournament,” Blowers says. However, they’re battling injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Maguire. England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, made the decision to go with Ben White at centre back, defying expectations that Jesse Lingard or James Ward Prowse would fill that vacancy.”
Blowers said the decision raises big concerns about Harry Maguire’s fitness going into Euro 2020.
Injury concerns also surround Jordan Henderson, who returned to play against Romania in a warm-up on June 6. He only played 45 minutes and missed a penalty kick in his return to action. Per Southgate, Henderson and Maguire were too important to pass up for the national squad despite their potential unavailability.
“With doubts over Maguire and Henderson, I don’t think England is a good bet at +550,” said Blowers.
Which longshot is potentially mispriced?
If we’re playing the numbers game, it’s Austria. They sit between 100-1 and 140-1 in some places, but have implied probabilities by a handful of statistical models and soccer projections much shorter than that.
Blowers sees some potential value with Austria’s talent and draw.
“I do like Austria a lot … their squad is stacked with Bundesliga talent.”
Their landing spot is favorable, too, as they have a good chance to avoid the ‘Group of Death’, in the first knockout round if they advance from group play.
He had praise for David Alaba, Marcel Sabitzer, and youngster Sasa Kalajdzic. Alaba is a versatile veteran who can move around from right back to centre back and centre midfield. Sabitzer is a set piece specialist that Blowers describes as “technically gifted” and Kalajdzic is one of the game’s rising stars. Kalajdzic stands 6′ 7″ but is a technician in his own.
Blowers sees good value in the Austrian National Team and refers to them as a potential “surprise package”, possibly in the same mold of Iceland from Euro 2016.