The winner may take it all in Euro 2012 but that doesn’t mean you have to limit your betting to just picking the overall champion, there’s plenty of European Championship propositions bets to earn you some cash too.
There’s already been plenty written about the likely winners of Euro 2012, the bookies’ favourites (and mine for that matter) to lift the trophy are Spain at 11/4 and Germany at 3/1. Backing favourites may be seen as the “smart” move, but is unlikely to make you rich. Even backing the third favourites (Holland at 13/2) won’t win you enough to retire on, while backing teams around the 10/1 mark like England and France are dangerous bets and betting on the 100/1 longshots of the Republic of Ireland and Greece will do nothing but make the bookies rich. To win big on the Euros you have to gamble with your soccer picks a lot smarter than Greece and look beyond the obvious.
The Golden boot
The competition to be the tournament’s top goalscorer sees the usual suspects lining up for the players’ trophy. Strikers from the stronger nations (specifically Spain and Germany) are certainly worth a punt to finish with the Golden Boot, irrespective of which nation lifts the cup. Germany's Mario Gomez, who scored 41 goals for Bayern Munich last season, as well as six in six for Germany in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, is currently the 7/1 favourite, while the Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie (the Premier League Golden Boot winner) is second best at 10/1.
The most likely final, according to the bookies, is Spain vs. Germany (at 7/1) so it makes sense that players in those teams will compete in more games and have more chances to score. If Gomez’s 7/1 doesn’t tickle you, back Spain’s Fernando Llorente or Germany’s Miroslav Klose to win the Euro 2012 Golden Boot, both at a very tempting 14/1. If you want some real money from the golden boot bet audaciously, but don’t go any higher than betting odds of 25/1, and that’s what “Super” Mario Baoltelli is offered up at.
Wayne Rooney might be 40/1 to win the Golden Boot but he is still 5/1 joint favourite to finish Euro 2012 as England's top goalscorer, the same odds as Liverpool's Andy Carroll, while Carroll’s teammate, and newly armbanded captain Steven Gerrard is at a tempting 8/1. Rooney doesn’t turn my head (and he certainly doesn’t do anything for Mrs Richardson) and with him missing the first two games through suspension, it’s a sheer jingo bet (a bet based on national pride alone) to back him to go home as the tournament’s top scorer.
The Reign of Spain
Spain are hot favourites to win Euro 2012 after winning Euro 2008 and then the World Cup 2010; and will be immensely tough to beat as they try to make it three major tournaments in a row. However a really safe bet and a swift return is Spain finishing top of Group C at 8/13.
If you want a wilder bet, look at France. Le French, they ‘ave performed tres merde at their last two major tournaments and although they should perform better under new management, they can't be fully relied upon. Whatever way you reckon they’ll go you should know that there’s not much between those two imposters; triumph and disaster, France are 6/4 to win Group D and are 7/4 to fail to qualify.
Speaking of Group D odds, it’s always worth having a bet on England as the strains of “football’s coming home” ring in ears with unnerving regularity and enthusiasm. England are 13/8 to top Group D, 9/4 to finish second (where some of my wife’s shoe fund is going), 3/1 to finish third and a frightening 5/1 to bow out bottom of the group. Woy’s boys are also 13/10 to record 5 or more group goals, 10/3 for 4 group goals and 11/8 on 3 goals or less, if you think you know how England will fare in their first tournament under Mr Hodgson, I’d recommend combing two of those bets (and I’m sticking a bit of loose change on five or more goals and a second place finish)
Sadly England haven't progressed beyond the quarter-final stage of a major tournament since they reached the semi-finals of Euro '96 (scoring seven goals in the group stage) and now they are 4/1 to go out in the semis, and 8/1 to finish as runners up.
With a bigger point to prove are the Republic of Ireland, who will make their first appearance at a European Championship since 1988, although they certainly don't have an easy group (Group C) facing Italy, Spain and Croatia. If you fancy an entertaining bet go for Ireland to win Group C at 14/1 or even a 10/3 bet for them to qualify from the group. Be warned though, Ireland are 4/1 to be the tournament’s lowest scoring team.
Speaking of goals
If you want to bet on which team will score the most (or just use that as a guide to who will perform best in Eruo 2012) you should know that Germany are favourites at 4/1, followed by Spain at 9/4 and then Holland at 6/1. At the other end of the odds, Ireland and Denmark are the longest shots (at 200 and 250 to 1 respectively).
Whatever happens there’s plenty going on in Poland and the Ukraine (and with the sportsbooks) this June.