After a year-long postponement because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UEFA Euro tournament is here. The championships will begin on Friday, June 11 and will run through Sunday, July 11 as the best European clubs in soccer compete and bettors get to enjoy one of the world’s premier soccer competitions.
Five years ago in 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal were able to take home their first title. It marked their second appearance in a Euro Final, and they were first to win the tournament after its expansion to 24 teams.
Once again, the Euro stage is set for a 24-team tournament. Six groups of four will face off with 16 teams, the top two in each group and four “Wild Card” third-place finishers, will then advance to a knockout stage.
Per usual, the tournament is wide open with several countries representing serious contenders to take home the trophy.
But which teams should you bet on at Euro 2021? And are there any underdogs or prop bets worth considering? Here’s a full betting rundown of the odds, best bets and expert picks to win the tournament ahead of the start of the championship.
Euro 2021 odds
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
France (+475), the defending World Cup Champions from 2018, will open the Euro 2021 tournament as the favorites to win, per odds from DraftKings Sportsbook. Despite playing in the proverbial “Group of Death”, Group F, Les Bleus are an experienced squad with a great combination of solid veteran players and explosive, young scoring talent. So it’s little surprise to see them favored for the title.
After that, the usual suspects make up the rest of the teams with sub 10-1 odds. England (+600), Belgium (+750), Italy (+800), Portugal (+800), Germany (+900) and Spain (+900) represent the top contenders for the title with the odds rising considerably after that.
Three teams have odds of 500-1, the worst of the tournament. They are Finland, Hungary and North Macedonia
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Euro 2021 expert picks
Best picks to win Euro 2021
France (+475). Picking the favorite isn’t always fun, but there are a lot reasons to be confident in this French side. Les Bleus emerged as the winner of the 2018 World Cup and under Didier Deschamps have been terrific. They have a good mix of young talent and strong veterans.
France has an embarrassment of riches at the attacking positions including Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema, who returns to the team following a five-year absence after resolving a feud with Deschamps. In addition, they have Ballon d’Or candidate N’Golo Kanté manning the midfield alongside superstar Paul Pogba. And Hugo Lloris is a veteran goalie who continues to play at a high level.
There’s little to dislike about this French side. The only negative is that they’re in the Group of Death, so that could negatively impact them if they run into trouble against Portugal or Germany. But of all the squads, they have the best chance to win and can be trusted at just under 5-1 odds.
Belgium (+750). To date, Belgium’s “Golden Generation” has yet to win a big tournament. They lost in the Quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup to Argentina before finishing third in the 2018 World Cup. And in the Euros, they made only the Quarterfinals in 2016 before losing to Wales in a massive upset.
Why should we expect anything different this time, especially with Kevin De Bruyne dealing with a fractured orbital bone? Simply put, this group could be desperate to win something before they go out.
De Bruyne (29), captain Eden Hazard (30), Dries Mertens (34), Toby Alderweireld (32), Jan Vertonghen (34), Axel Witsel (32), Thomas Vermaelen (35) and Nacer Chadli (31) are all entering the final stages of their careers. Some could continue to play after the Euros with an eye on next year’s World Cup. But for some, this could be the end of the line.
Belgium has talent, including Inter Milan star striker Romelu Lukaku, so they should be able to compete, and the core group will want to win for one another. Their opposition in Group B (Finland, Russia and Denmark) isn’t too bad. Sure, Russia and Denmark will have home-field advantage, but the Red Devils can overcome that. And if they do, that could put them on the path to victory.
Italy (+800). Italy is one of the other most appealing favorites. There is a myriad of reasons to like them. Above all else, they have played well lately. They are undefeated in 27 matches and have won four consecutive matches by a combined score of 12-0. Manager Roberto Mancini has his squad operating at top-notch efficiency.
Additionally, Italy will get to play three matches at home because of the unique way that Euro 2021 is structured with 11 different cities hosting group stage games. That could give them a big-time upper hand early in the tournament, especially considering that the toughest competition they’ll be facing in their group will come from Switzerland.
The only potential issue with Italy could be with their goalkeeper. Gianluigi Donnarumma is just 22 years old and this is his first major tournament. That said, he been under the microscope lately with an impending transfer to PSG and he’s likely eager to show he’s deserving of a big contract and consideration among the world’s best netminders.
There’s a lot to like about Italy at 8-1 odds, so they’re the third-best of the contenders to trust.
Best underdog pick to win Euro 2021
Austria (+10000). Look, I know what you’re thinking — Austria isn’t likely to win Euro 2021. It’s going to be very hard for them to compete with the other top teams, and that’s why they’re listed at 100-1 odds.
That said, of all the potential underdog picks, Austria is the most intriguing. First off, they’re in a wide-open group, as Group C figures to be a three-horse race between the Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria. The Netherlands ranks highest of the bunch worldwide at 16th overall, but they have had their share of struggles under Frank de Boer, who has posted just a 5-4-2 record as their manager.
In addition to their weaker group, Austria actually has 21 players from Europe’s “Big 5” leagues, the most of any team in the tournament. They may not have the same star power as some other clubs, but they do at least have players with high-level experience. That includes forward Sasa Kalajdzic, who plays for Bundesliga side Stuttgart.
If you’re looking for a long shot in the mold of Iceland or Wales at the last Euros, Austria is probably the best bet of the bunch this year. And if you’re not looking to bet them as a winner, you could still go with some other bets, like Austria finishing in the top-four (+1100) or Austria reaching the quarterfinal (+300). Those would qualify as smart bets with significant upside.
Winner & Top Goal Scorer
Portugal & Cristiano Ronaldo (+3500). Portugal is another team in the running to take home the European Championship, but betting them at straight +800 odds seems merely decent when you can get this built-in parlay for +3500.
Simply put, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Portugal repeats as the Euro winners without Ronaldo (photo below) leading the team in goals. That happened in 2016 when Ronaldo scored three, but he didn’t win the Golden Boot that year. Antoine Griezmann had six to beat him.
Still though, if Portugal win, Ronaldo will be in the running for the Golden Boot, at the very least. He is also six goals away from beating Ali Daei’s world record of 109 goals in international play. That will be on the 36-year-old legend’s mind, so he will be looking to score early and often in this tournament. That makes him as good a bet as any to win the Golden Boot, and pairing it with Portugal winning the tournament is a nice value proposition at 35-1 odds.
Better Finishing Position
Portugal (+110) over Spain. Staying on the Portugal train here, it seems odd that Spain is favored over the Portuguese for better finishing position. Yes, Portugal is in the Group of Death while Spain gets three home matches and is likely the best team in their group, but Spain is dealing with some problems of its own.
After Sergio Busquets tested positive for COVID-19, the national team has been dealing with some COVID-related issues that have kept them off the training field. It’s unclear when their players will return to action and whether they’ll be able to practice before their opening game with Sweden. So, if Spain struggles out of the gate, La Furia Roja could have more trouble than expected even if they make it to the knockout round.
That should give the Portuguese a good chance to finish ahead of the Spaniards, even if they have to deal with advancing from the Group of Death.
Group to Feature Winner
Group F (+150). At +150, Group F is the favorite to win Euro 2021, and it’s easy to see why. That is the Group of Death and features three top contenders for the tournament — France, Portugal and Germany. All three have a legitimate chance to win and should, at a bare minimum, make it to the Round of 16.
This bet is some nice insurance if you like one of France, Portugal or Germany but are afraid these nations could falter because of the difficulty of the group. It’s not as lucrative as betting any of the three contenders in the group individually, but getting a chance at three of the top-seven teams in the tournament at 3-2 odds is rock-solid.