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Euro 2016: Group B Preview and Odds

Harry Kane England Gareth Bale Wales Artem Dzyuba Russia Marek Hamsik Slovakia

This summer’s Euro tournament is going to be a big one for England. The days of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and John Terry are now gone and manager Roy Hodgson will usher in a new era of English football in France.

Now, it’s all about youth as Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, John Stones and even Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford have been given the torch to lead the Three Lions to the promised land of international glory.

This will be the first test for England’s youth movement and the group is a tough one. In the way will be three nations that are fully capable of scoring some upsets in France and spoiling the excitement surrounding the squad.

We take a look at the odds to win Group B at Euro 2016 with odds coming from online shop Bovada.

England (-140)

As mentioned, there is legitimate excitement surrounding this group. England dominated qualifying, winning all 10 matches, scoring 31 goals and allowing just three. Granted, that group featured minnows like Lithuania, Estonia and San Marino but also included Switzerland and Slovenia, who are nothing to scoff at.

England has never won a European Championship and has not won a major trophy since its World Cup triumph in 1966 and a win in France would lionize this side potentially more so than the legendary ’66 team.

The starting XI could very well feature a quintet of Tottenham Hotspur stars with fullbacks Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, midfield wrecking ball Eric Dier, budding superstar Dele Alli and goal-scoring machine Harry Kane all likely to be top choice in their respective roles by Hodgson. But the squad is chock full of talent as Jamie Vardy, Gary Cahill, Jordan Henderson and, of course, Wayne Rooney all look to play a role in France.

Group B is not going to be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination and it is going to be a great test for the English. The price is very fair (for now) and with the tournament starting in less than a week, it might be wise to jump on it now before books get inundated with action from British punters backing their boys.

Russia (+325)

A lot of the names on this Russian side will be familiar and many footy fans will know that this is a side that will certainly give England a run for its money to win the group.

The side is certainly far from young and is brimming with experience. Furthermore, these guys may be more familiar with one another than any other participant in France considering all but one (Roman Neustädter, Schalke) plays in the Russian Premier League and over half of the side plays for two clubs: CSKA and Zenit. That has to account for something, doesn’t it?

Russia was very good in qualifying, finishing second behind an excellent Austrian team with 20 points.

After reaching the semifinal in Euro 2008, Russia had a very disappointing tournament in 2012 having not escaped the group stage when it really should have considering the Czech Republic and Greece advanced from the group.

A disciplined Russian side is a dangerous one and with veteran names like Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Kokorin, Georgi Schennikov, keeper Igor Akinfeev et al in the squad list, this looks to be a very disciplined side.

Wales (+600)

It’s a banner summer for the Welsh as they will be making their first trip to a European championship and will look to make a positive first impression escaping a tough group.

The side boasts some superstar names but is not entering the tournament in the best form as it has won just once in its last seven matches, including a 3-0 drubbing from Sweden on Sunday. Still, when your XI features star names like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, you cannot be taken lightly.

Wales advanced after finishing as the runner-up in qualifying in a group which Belgium won by just two points.

Wales didn’t punch its ticket with Bale and Ramsey lighting up the scoreboard either. No, Wales got this far with strong defending and overall disciplined football. They scored just 11 goals in 10 qualifying matches but gave up just four. And miraculously, Andorra and Cyprus accounted for half that sum, so expect the Welsh to play tidy football from the sticks on out.

I don’t expect Wales to win this group, but an upset here or there and Bale terrorizing opponents down the left could get the side out of Group B and into the next phase.

Slovakia (+900)

If you’re reading this, you know names like Liverpool’s Martin Škrtel and Napoli’s Marek Hamšik, but this side is not a who’s who of the footballing world. Not many ply their trade in Europe’s “big five” leagues (England, Germany, Italy, Spain, France) and none dominate the headlines in European football’s transfer season. But Slovakia qualified just five points back of Spain in Group C and finished ahead of the more experienced Ukrainians.

What’s more, Slovakia beat Spain 2-1 in Žilina so this side can certainly score an upset or two themselves, following a specific trend with teams further down the odds board in Group B.

Like the Welsh, however, this is Slovakia’s first European championship experience and they have been in just one World Cup (2010). Slovenskí sokoli did advance from the group in that lone World Cup appearance, though, so maybe, just maybe, this is a big tournament side and we could be in store for something simliar this summer.

Andrew’s Group B Projections

Odds as of June 5 at Bovada