I’m getting very excited for the start of Euro 2012 and I’ve been researching like mad trying to figure out how I think the group stage will go. There are some very interesting group dynamics that will be on display at Euro 2012, with Group B (the group of death) being my favorite to watch. Anyways let’s get down to it, looking at the odds for each team winning their group and who I think are the best bets considering the odds. All of the odds seen below are taken from 5Dimes.eu, our top rated sportsbook for betting on Euro 2012. I looked at a variety of sites and 5Dimes has the best odds for every team when betting on the Group Winners.
Czech Republic +395
This is without a doubt the weakest group in the tournament. Russia is the favorite heading in because they have an experienced team that has done well in their International matches of late. In their 3 friendlies heading into Euro 2012 Russia tied Uruguay (a very strong team) and Lithuania, before defeating Italy 3-0 in their final tune-up match. The Russian team has not lost a match since February of 2011. Poland being the second favorite in the group has a lot to do with their home field advantage throughout the tournament. Poland has also played quite well of late having gone undefeated in their last 6 friendlies, winning 5 of these games, but their lack of having played a meaningful match since World Cup qualifying may be a detriment. The Czech’s are always dangerous, but they seem to have been overlooked in this group having not played overly well of late. They do have the experience to be a factor however, but they may not have the talent of past Czech Republic teams. And then there is Greece. Simply put Greece isn’t that good. They have played against easy opposition of late and still haven’t been able to score many goals. If they are to do well this tournament they will have to play like they did in Euro 2004.
Play: Russia +157
The group of death. Germany and Holland are two of the three big favorites to win this tournament, along with Spain, and they have drawn the same group and will also have to deal with a Portuguese team that should never be overlooked. Germany had been basically unstoppable after the World Cup up until their tune-up matches for this tournament where they lost to both France and Switzerland before beating Israel. Not a lot should be taken from those matches however as Germany still has the class to put those losses behind them and a team full of Bayern Munich players who are eager to put their Champions League loss behind them. Another player looking to put that loss behind him is Arjen Robben, who the Dutch will look to for creating offensive opportunities this tournament. The Dutch are another team that didn’t look perfect in their tune-up games, but they did keep a clean sheet in their last 2 and showed they still know how to score goals. Portugal has gone through a lot of changes of late in their national team and I don’t think they are quite ready to compete with the likes of Germany or Holland. Denmark is another team that will be outclassed in this group, but they are a much better worst team than any other group has, which further shows how this is the group of death. Watch for Denmark to snag a few points in this group, but not enough to qualify. At these odds I like the Dutch winning this group. If you look at their track record in major tournaments they almost always succeed in the group stage (9 points in both 2008 Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup).
Play: Holland +197
Republic of Ireland+1875
This group I won’t even get into much because Spain is so much better than any other team. Italy is the closest on paper, but they have had a lot of difficulty of late losing their last 3 friendlies without recording a goal. Spain will not be the team they finally score against and I wouldn’t even be surprised if Spain doesn’t allow a goal through the group stage against these opponents. Even at -180 I like Spain in this group.
Play: Spain -180
Here is an interesting group. These teams are all very equal, similar to Group A, but I would say that any of these teams would actually be the favorite in that group. France has turned their national program around and look very good coming into this tournament, however they are still looking for a core group of players to step up and lead the team. England is another team that always has high expectations and this year the look like they may be able to match them, at least in the group stage. The team has improved their defensive game and it will take some special offensive plays to find the back of the English net. Ukraine has home field advantage, but they haven’t looked great of late. That being said they have a solid team with a lot of flair up front and if they can use their home fans they could be a force in this group. Then Sweden is the underdogs in this group, but they could just as easily win this group as anyone else in my opinion. Sweden has the ability to find the back of the net and they looked very good in their tune-up matches. In this group I really feel that anything could happen and for this reason I like Sweden as the underdogs.
Play: Sweden +590
Check out the official UEFA Euro 2012 website to keep up with the tournament.
Written by: Niko de Jonge