With the European domestic seasons now largely done and dusted, attention is focused on the forthcoming Euro 2016 finals in France. It looks a difficult tournament to call, with there being no real standout international team on the continent at present. As a result, there should be plenty to keep punters interested across a wide range of betting markets.
There will be an enormous variety of Euro 2016 free bet options available, with all 51 matches being extensively covered by the bookmakers. In terms of the outright market, host nation France (best price of 7/2 with Paddy Power) and World Cup 2014 winners Germany (4/1 with Coral) are vying for favouritism going into the tournament, with two-times defending European champions Spain (6/1 with Betway) next in the betting.
For those believing that Euro 2016 will bring an end to ‘50 years of hurt’, England are deemed to be fourth favourites (10/1 with Betway) with most bookmakers, with Belgium (11/1 with Bet365) rated just below Roy Hodgson’s boys.
If looking for a nice priced outside bet, then Croatia could be worthy of consideration at 33/1 (BetVictor and a few others) as an each-way interest. The quality in the Croatian midfield is the equal of any in France, although they have been drawn in the toughest looking group alongside Spain, Czech Republic and Turkey. Come through that and their price could plummet.
In addition to the outright market there is group betting, which provides a few interesting opportunities. For example, Romania look a fairly limited squad, yet they can be backed at 11/5 with Paddy Power to finish bottom of Group A. With their opening game being against the French, they could be playing catch-up from the start. Albania is considered the weakest team in Group A, but they are well-organised and have secured a few notable scalps in recent years.
You can also back teams to reach certain stages of the competition. When it comes to consistently getting to the latter stages of major competitions, nobody compares to Germany and they appeal at even money with Skybet to at least make it to the semi-finals.
Portugal also look a reasonable shout at 11/10 to at least reach the quarter-finals with Sportingbet. Italy can also be backed at 11/10 with a few bookies (including Totesport) to feature in the last eight. This might not be a vintage Italian squad, but they look defensively solid and should never be underestimated.
In terms of individual games, the aforementioned opener between France and Romania could be worth a closer look. Romania might not pose a great goal-threat themselves, but they were a difficult team to breakdown in the qualifiers, conceding just two goals in 10 matches.
A French win with Under 2.5 goals in the game at 13/8 with Boylesports looks interesting. France to win the game to nil is widely available at 8/11 and looks a decent shout too.