Euro 2020: Group E Odds
|Team||Group Odds||Outright Odds|
So, this might be up for debate with my Action Network colleagues, but Group E has to be one of the two easiest quartets to handicap in the upcoming Euro 2020 soccer tournament.
Three-time champion and 2010 World Cup winner Spain headlines the foursome, with oddsmakers making it a sizable -286 favorite to win the group. I actually find value on that lofty number, due to the fact I have Spain sitting closer to -350 odds to win the group and reach the knockout round.
However, I have no desire whatsoever partaking in that kind of price. Instead, we’ll look at the other three Group E players — Sweden, Poland and Slovakia — to see if there’s better, legitimate value in this extremely top-heavy group.
That said, let’s see what we could have on deck when play commences.
Spain Should Reign Supreme Minus Veteran Ramos
All roads to the knockout stage start and end with Spain. It’s as simple as that.
As usual, La Furia Roja comes in loaded with talent and depth at all positions. Manager Luis Enrique has the unenviable task of piecing together a Starting XI that can make a deep run — and potentially even win the title — in this European showcase.
Enrique has already taken a step toward the future when he left one of the nation’s most decorated players of his Euro roster. Captain Sergio Ramos is not part of the squad, which will mark the first time the defender won’t feature with La Furia Roja since the 2004 edition of this competition.
🚨 OFICIAL | ¡¡¡NUESTRA SELECCIÓN!!!
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) May 24, 2021
Fortunately for Spain, Enrique has plenty of talented and viable replacements at his disposal, including Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City) and Marcos Llorente of Atlético Madrid.
Offensively, Spain is led by standout striker Álvaro Morata. The Juventus star is coming off a brilliant campaign in Serie A, where he racked up 20 goals and 12 assists in 44 matches across all competitions.
Expect Gerard Moreno, who led Villarreal to a Champions League berth via its win over Manchester United in the Europa League final, and Manchester City standout Ferran Torres to provide even more firepower in his vaunted attack.
Yet, perhaps the most important part of this Spanish machine is Thiago Alcântara. The Manchester City midfielder will be the engine that makes La Furia Roja go, providing field vision and impressive skills when orchestrating the offense from the middle of the pitch.
And if you fancy Alcântara for the Golden Ball, awarded to the tournament’s best player, you have to be drooling at the +7500 odds you’re getting at DraftKings to take home the honor. I’ve already played him at those long odds, plus I threw in Morata at +5000 for more coverage.
If Spain — the only nation in the group to ever reach a Euro final (see graphic below) — is to capture the championship, one of those stars is the likely winner of that award. Needless to say, both would be a fat payouts in futures wagers.
|Spain||11th||Winner: 1964 | 2008 | 2012|
|Sweden||7th||Semifinal round: 1992|
|Poland||4th||Quarterfinal round: 2016|
|Slovakia||2nd||Round of 16: 2016|
Bottom line, this is Spain’s group to lose and I honestly don’t see that happening. Sweden and Poland could give it fits, with both sides possibly able to squeak out a draw against the group favorite. However, you should fully expect La Furia Roja to roll through their foes entering the knockout round.
If my forecasting of how the five other groups play out, I expect Spain to get Czech Republic in the Round of 16 matches. A win there would set up a potential showdown with either England or Germany in the quarterfinals.
Obviously, not everyone is going to be as fortunate as France when it comes to potential paths to the crown, so Spain will have some work to do heading down the line if they’re going to win their first European championship since the 2012 edition of the tournament.
Poland Provides Plenty of Value as Live Longshot
Any nation with Robert Lewandowski on its roster has to be taken seriously in the group stage of this type of competition. It’s as simple as that.
The Bayern Munich talisman enters this tournament following a record-setting campaign with the Bundesliga champion, recording a whopping 41 Bundesliga goals to break German legend Gerd Müller’s mark that stood for close to five decades. Lewandowski missed a handful of matches due to injuries as well, so who knows what the tally would have been had he been fit.
You would have to think Lewandowski is going to enter this tournament with some hunger in his chance at redemption. He was ineffective in the 2018 edition of this competition, going scoreless through three group-stage games.
I don’t foresee Poland having issues going forward, with arguably the world’s best striker and solid midfield led by Karol Linetty and Grzegorz Krychowiak,. However, I do have concerns with its defense.
The White and Reds don’t have much to write home about in the back other than two quality goalkeepers in the squad in Łukasz Fabiański and Wojciech Szczęsny. Unfortunately, Poland can’t play its netminders at the same.
Sweden Looking to Surprise Tournament Field
Manager Janne Andersson has really turned things around for Blågult (The Blue and Yellow) since taking the reins five years ago. Andersson led Sweden to a 2018 World Cup appearance, which marked the first time it qualified for the competition since the 2006 edition of the tournament held in Germany.
Sweden, which has never won this event and was failed to get out of the group stage last time this tournament was held, had its best showing back in 1992 when it reached the semifinal round. Now, it will try to reach the knockout phase of this latest edition and play the role of spoiler.
Robin Quaison, who plays for Bundesliga side Mainz 05 in Germany, led Sweden in qualifying with five goals. However, look for 21-year-old wunderkind Alexander Isak from La Liga club Real Sociedad to be the potential breakout star. Isak scored 17 goals for his La Liga side, so the nation is hopeful that form carries over at this tournament.
Yet, perhaps the most important player for the Swedes is RB Leipzig standout Emil Forsberg. The Red Bulls’ veteran was a big part in the Bundesliga outfit’s second-place finish in the German top flight, recording seven goals. If the winger, who was Sweden’s midfielder of the year in 2016 and 2017, can maintain his club form he could be a problem to opponents on the flank
I had a tough time trying to decide between Poland and Sweden in regard to which country will follow Spain into the knockout round. And obviously, that’s largely due to Sweden’s brilliant record against Poland of late. However, with these countries so close in the betting market to advance, I just found that tiniest extra value on Poland to be just enough to put it ahead of Sweden.
And Then There’s Lonely Underdog Slovakia
It makes complete sense that the weakest team in the group had to take the hardest road to get to this competition.
The Repre wound up third in their qualifying group, which meant it had to reach tournament via the playoff round. Slovakia, which compiled a pretty flat 4-3-1 (W-L-D) record on its way to 13 points, had to take the Path B route, was up to the task. The Repre bounced the Republic of Ireland via penalty kicks in the semifinal round before earning a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland to advance.
Bottom line, head coach Štefan Tarkovič has his work cut out for him. Tarkovič, who was an assistant under former manager Pavel Hapal before being given the job this past December, is going to have to find a way to scratch out at least one win to even think about booking a place in the knockout round.
Expect captain Marek Hamšík, who plays for Swedish outfit IFK Göteborg, to lead things centrally for Slovakia. He should get some help going forward from teammates Juraj Kucka and Róbert Boženík, with each player recording three goals in the qualifying matches.
Best Bets for Group E:
- Poland To Finish Second (-106)
- Slovakia To Finish Last (-155)
- Álvaro Morata To Win Golden Boot (+2700)
- Thiago Alcântara To Win Golden Ball (+7000)
Note: Finally, if you’re interested in trying to figure who Spain or anyone else from Group E might face in the knockout round, I found this cool tournament predictor that allowed me to forecast various ways the group stage could play out. It helped me strategizing my wagers, both for futures plays and group-stage matches, so maybe it will help you as well.