Can Wales Complete the Euro Dark Horse Story?

We are quickly approaching the finale of Euro 2016 and with the semifinals happening this week, there are only four teams left to bet on in futures markets.

Germany and France have each opened at +175 as favorites on Sportsbook to win the tournament as their semifinal game on Thursday will most likely produce the Euro champion. Portugal has been pegged at +330 and Wales has been given the longest odds at +800.

The Germans looked good but not great against Italy and managed to squeak a win out of one of the sloppiest penalty showdowns in recent memory. If it wasn’t for two saves from Manuel Neuer and the disaster “running man” attempt from Zaza, Germany may have been packing their bags.

France is coming off a 5-2 win as they easily moved past an overachieving Icelandic squad. They could, however, be overconfident heading into their match with Germany and will have to ramp up their level of competition. French netminder Hugo Lloris was not brilliant in his quarterfinal match. He allowed two goals on just five Iceland shots.

France and Germany last matched up in a major tournament in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 World Cup and the Germans came away with a 1-0 win en route to their World Cup Championship.

It is incredible to me that Portugal has made it this far. They have not won one match in regular time this tournament. They tied their three group play matches, won in extra time against Croatia and snuck by Poland in penalties. +330 is not nearly enough value to bet on a team that could easily lose to the upstart Welsh.

Wales, the darlings of the 2016 Euros, the dark horses against Belgium and now the +800 underdog to take down the tournament. That’s the best odds they’ve ever had and they have to be feeling like they could take on the world after their stunning 3-1 win over the Belgians.

The Welsh were my dark horse team coming into the tournament and will match up well with a Portuguese team that runs just as much as they do. This could be one of the best games of the tournament as we see two Real Madrid stars (Ronaldo, Bale) go head to head – you better not blink during this one.

Who Will Win Euro 2016?
  • Germany +175
  • France +175
  • Portugal +330
  • Wales +800
Odds as of July 4 Sportsbook

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After the round of 16, odds have been updated for the Euros and there has been some significant movement.

Germany has overtaken the top spot as favorites to win after an impressive 3-0 dispatching of Slovakia. Although their move from +450 to +275 isn’t outrageous, it is significant to note they passed the hosts France, who have also increased their odds (+300) to win after drawing Iceland in the quarterfinals.

The surging Belgian team (+400) is right behind Les Bleus as they have one of the easier paths to the final and have been dominant in their last two matches.

It took the number one world-ranked Belgium a game or two to warm up but since their 2-0 loss to Italy, they have been on an absolute roll. The Belgians have one of, if not the most, talented teams in the tournament – as shown by their roster, which is the most expensive of all teams at Euro 2016.

The chemistry the Belgians demonstrated in their last game was absolute magic and it produced possibly the best half of football we’ve seen at these Euros. Although they only scored one in the first half of their round of 16 match against Hungary, they produced dozens of chances and narrowly missed scoring four or five.

This is a dangerous squad that could advance to the finals fairly easily if the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku keep up their level of world-class play.

The English, par for the course at international competitions, drove the struggle bus right off a cliff in their 2-1 loss to Iceland and will now be moving on from the Roy Hodgson era.

Iceland has been given +3300 odds to take down the tournament after their massive upset over England and should not be counted out in their quarterfinal match vs France. The French went down early in their last game and managed to squeak out a 2-1 win – and besides, there’s nothing like a good underdog story, just ask Leicester fans.

Cristiano and his Portuguese squad are still sticking around after begrudgingly winning their round of 16 game that didn’t see its first shot on net until the 117th minute. Portugal, who has been riding shotgun on the England struggle bus, has historically struggled in the late stages of international tournaments and will have their hands full with a talented Polish team in their quarterfinal match.

The quarterfinals offer some absolute stunner matchups including Italy vs Germany and my personal favorite Wales vs Belgium. Let’s sit back and enjoy some knockout football the way it was meant to be played – without England.

Who Will Win Euro 2016?
  • Germany +275
  • France +300
  • Belgium +400
  • Italy +500
  • Portugal +650
  • Poland +1800
  • Wales +2500
  • Iceland +3300
Odds as of June 28 Sportsbook

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The Euro 2016 group stage is now complete and we have all of our matchups set for the highly anticipated Round of 16 and with so many quality teams remaining, there is still a ton of value on the board.

The usual suspects have safely advanced as France, Germany, Spain and England are all through, but one team in particular has shot up the odds board thanks to playing some of the best, most eye-catching football in the tournament thus far.

Croatia entered Euro 2016 at +2500 to win outright but after topping the “Group of Death” (a group that featured Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic) with seven points including a 2-1 win over Spain, they now own the fifth-best odds to win at +900.

Croatia has been a force in the tournament and should actually have nine points. They dominated the game against the Czech Republic but conceded two late goals after fans threw flares onto the pitch causing a delay. When play resumed, Croatia looked flat and lacked inspiration and the Czechs pounced to escape with a draw.

Everything comes out of the dominant midfield for this side. Luka Modric, who missed the game versus Spain due to injury, has been one of the top players in the tournament and has been a force from his deep-lying playmaker role. The Real Madrid architect is passing the ball with pinpoint precision and accuracy and is distancing himself from the rest of the field as Europe's best midfielder.

Modric is afforded time and space on the ball because of the timely tackling of his defensive partner Milan Badelj. The Firoentina man is the perfect player to be paired alongside Modric as he is capable of winning a tackle and springing the more offensive-minded players forward, igniting Croatia’s lethal attacks.

Speaking of lethal, Ivan Perisic has led the offense with a pair of goals and also has an assist as he was integral in Croatia defeating the Spanish and winning the group.

Naturally, things get progressively more difficult and Croatia has a tough test in the next round. Awaiting the Croatians is Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, who escaped the group stage thanks to the expanded format that allows the four best third-place teams passage to the next round.

Despite not playing their best football, Portugal will always be a threat, purely because of the brilliant Ronaldo.

The Round of 16 presents a slew of mouth-watering matchups, but Croatia-Portugal could be the easiest on the eyes.

Who Will Win Euro 2016?
  • France +400
  • Germany +450
  • Spain +550
  • Belgium +550
  • Croatia +900
  • England +900
  • Portugal +1000
  • Italy +1600
  • Poland +2500
  • Wales +2500
  • Switzerland +4000
  • Hungary +10000
  • Republic of Ireland +10000
  • Iceland +15000
  • Slovakia +15000
  • Northern Ireland +20000
Odds as of June 23 Sportsbook

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One team that will once again be under the spotlight at this summer’s Euro tournament will be England.

The English always go into tournaments with high hopes but always seem to underachieve. They were knocked out of Euro 2012 and 2004 in the quarterfinals and didn’t even qualify for Euro 2008. In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, they didn’t escape the group stage.

But there is a changing of the guard within the side and some new faces will be on the pitch in France this summer and this England team, currently +800 at online shop Sportsbook, could provide bettors with some excellent value.

Some great, young English talent is emerging such as Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Harry Kane of Tottenham, Ross Barkley and John Stones of Everton and the elder statesman of the group, Jamie Vardy of Leicester.

Manager Roy Hodgson has complete faith in the youth that England is producing as reflected by his squad selection. Included in that group was Manchester United's 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, a surprise selection but a player who turned heads and injected some life into an otherwise dreary campaign at Old Trafford.

Tottenham’s Alli in particular has been a revelation this season and looks like he could be a fixture on the England side for years to come. The 20-year-old was a regular for third-place Tottenham and recorded 10 goals (including this stunner) and nine assists.

Kane is another Spurs sensation and one who The Three Lions look like they could lean on in France. The Tottenham hitman led the league with 25 goals as the North London club was one of the few surprising stories in England.

England is in Group B this summer and will battle Russia, Slovakia and Wales in the group stage. Don't get me wrong, this will be a tough group with some scrappy matches but B is a group England should certainly advance out of.

Who Will Win Euro 2016?
  • France +300
  • Germany +450
  • Spain +500
  • England +800
  • Belgium +900
  • Italy +1600
  • Portugal +1600
  • Croatia +2500
  • Austria +4000
  • Poland +4500
  • Switzerland +6600
  • Wales +8000
  • Russia +8000
  • Turkey +8000
  • Ukraine +8000
  • Iceland +10000
  • Czech Republic +10000
  • Sweden +10000
  • Slovakia +10000
  • Republic of Ireland +15000
  • Romania +20000
  • Hungary +25000
  • Northern Ireland +25000
  • Albania +25000
Odds as of June 8 at Sportsbook

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We are still about six months away from the ball rolling in the first game of Euro 2016, but it’s never too early to take a look at the futures board in international soccer.

This summer, the best that European football has to offer descends on France to battle it out for continental honors and it’s the Germans that come in as the slight favorite at online shop Sportsbook. Germany is presently priced at +300 while the host nation France comes in just behind at +350.

Spain, the defending Euro champions, come in at +500 while Belgium, who seemed to be everyone’s “sexy” pick back at the 2014 World Cup, come in at +1100.

Those looking for a little bit of value on the Euro 2016 futures board can certainly find it in Italy. The 2012 runners-up topped Group H in qualifying, finishing with 24 points – four points clear of the always-tough Croatians.

As mentioned previously, we are still some months away from the tournament, but speculating about which superstar players will be on display in France and which nation will usurp Spain as the kings of Europe is part of the fun.

Who Will Win Euro 2016?
  • Germany +300
  • France +350
  • Spain +500
  • Belgium +1100
  • England +1100
  • Portugal +1600
  • Italy +1600
  • Croatia +2800
  • Austria +3300
  • Wales +5000
  • Poland +6600
  • Russia +6600
  • Switzerland +6600
  • Czech Republic +8000
  • Iceland +8000
  • Turkey +8000
  • Sweden +10000
  • Ukraine +10000
  • Slovakia +15000
  • Ireland +15000
  • Romania +25000
  • Hungary +35000
  • Northern Ireland +50000
  • Albania +50000
Odds as of January 13 at Sportsbook
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