European Championship Betting Guide: Sunday 6/20/21
As Euro 2020 shifts to Matchday 3, the intensity and urgency is set to reach a different level.
The format changes slightly, as matches in each group will be played simultaneously to preserve each’s game integrity, so get ready for lots of multi-screen viewing and scoreboard watching over the four days.
It all kicks off with the final matches for Group A, so read on for the details on what’s at stake and who to back. Plus, be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for all the odds on Euro 2020 and more!
Italy vs. Wales
Stadio Olimpico | Rome, Italy | 12pm ET
The Pick: Italy -220 or Draw +300
The two teams in Group A’s penthouse meet in Rome Sunday afternoon armed with the knowledge that a victory for either will cement their place as group winners.
Despite being unbeaten in these Euros -- not to mention their recent success as Euro 2016 semifinalists -- Wales are still big underdogs against an Italian side that’s been one of the teams of the tournament so far.
Still, Rob Page’s charges are coming off a strong 2-0 result against Turkey that saw them put seven shots on target -- and perhaps most importantly -- featured resurgent performances from aging stars Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale.
Juventus’ Ramsey scored the game’s first goal and nearly had two more, while Real Madrid’s Bale set up both of the Welsh tallies and was nearly flawless in attack -- outside of a shocking penalty miss midway through the second half.
That star power combined by a united, hard-working supporting cast has helped turn the Dragons from longshots to a team with +115 odds to reach the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Italy have been irresistible in this tournament, winning both of their games 3-0 to seal qualification for the knockout stages with a game to spare, all while climbing up the bookmakers’ list to become third-favorites (+600) to capture the title on July 11.
Roberto Mancini’s men enter this match against Wales on a 10-game winning streak and a jaw-dropping 29-game unbeaten run -- they’ve not lost since September of 2018 -- and they’ve taken full advantage of playing all of their group games in the Italian capital.
3 - Following 3-0 wins against Turkey and Switzerland, Italy are only the second side in European Championships history to open their tournament with consecutive wins by a 3+ goal margin, after Netherlands in 2008 (3-0 vs Italy, 4-1 vs France). Tone. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/82gAaoFcsz
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 16, 2021
The Azzurri will have to be wary of the Welsh threat from set-pieces -- two of Wales’ three goals in these Euros have come off corner kicks – but then again, Italy haven’t conceded a goal of any kind during their long winning streak.
Scoring against the Italians is one thing, but no one’s been able to stop them, either, as they’ve averaged slightly more than three goals per game in their last 10.
Given all that, if this were best XI versus best XI, Italy would be the easy pick, but there is a good chance Mancini decides to rotate his squad for this match -- since they’ll win the group with draw or a win -- while Wales has less margin for error and is sure to play their strongest side.
That’s reason enough to exercise caution for this one, a message you’ll hear a lot throughout Matchday 3 across the various groups.
It’s hard to choose Wales as an outright winner, but they could certainly earn a draw against a likely experimental Italian team without much to play for.
Switzerland vs. Turkey
Baku Olympic Stadium | Baku, Azerbaijan | 12pm ET
The Pick: Turkey +380
Even though Switzerland and Turkey have combined to earn just a single point through two matchdays, both are still alive to advance to the knockout round if a win can be achieved Sunday in Baku, as the four best third-place teams will qualify.
Pre-tournament dark horses Turkey have been disappointing to say the least thus far; with zero goals, no points, and a tournament-worst minus-5 goal difference. It’s almost surprising they’re only slight underdogs in this match.
However, the odds are what they are in part because of the lackluster performances in this tournament of their next opponent. To be frank, Vladimir Petković’s Swiss have had a forgettable tourney thus far and haven’t looked at all like the 13th-best side in the world that their FIFA rank suggests they are.
The Red Crosses were wasteful against Wales in a 1-1 draw and then got played off the pitch in a 3-0 loss Italy, a far cry from their form leading into these Euros that saw them win six matches in a row.
So in a win-or-go-home match between two struggling sides who haven’t lived up to expectations, who has the edge?
Despite their issues, the Swiss are the favorites for a reason -- they’ve at least had a few positive moments in this tournament, while the Turks have looked truly awful from the opening whistle -- but Turkey does have a history of overcoming poor starts in major tournaments. Plus, they’re only three months removed from a 4-2 win over the Netherlands in World Cup qualifying.
And then there’s this: while the “home” support in Baku didn’t help Turkey much against the Welsh on Wednesday -- remember, Azerbaijan borders Turkey to the northeast -- the crowd will be almost exclusively behind them again on Sunday. And their opponents will have traveled 9,000 miles in a week, having gone from Baku to Rome and back again since June 12.
That’s not much to go on, but when given two bad choices, it’s usually wise to take the one offering more value.