Euro 2020 Group C Betting Preview: Odds, Best Bets, Model Predictions for Netherlands, Austria, Ukraine & North Macedonia
Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Euro 2020: Group C Odds
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Group C of the Euro 2020 tournament is widely regarded as the weakest group in the competition. That’s rightly so, since none of the countries qualified for the World Cup in 2018. And based on their current outright odds, the quartet doesn’t have a team inside 10/1 to win the showcase.
Netherlands is the clear favorite at -278 odds, but the results produced by Austria and Ukraine during Euro qualifying were impressive, so could they potentially take down the young talented Dutchmen?
As for North Macedonia, it’s the Cinderella heartthrob of this tournament. It’s the nation’s first major international competition (it has only been a country since 1990) and just recently pulled off a historic upset against Germany as 28/1 underdogs.
Will there be chaos in the “weakest” group in the tournament or will Netherlands cruise through without much of a sweat?
The Favorite: Netherlands Leading Way in Group
It’s been some time since the glory days of Dutch football when Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben took the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final, then 2014 World Cup semifinal round. However, since then, the Netherlands has been in a downward spiral.
The Flying Dutchmen failed to qualify for both the 2016 Euros and the 2018 World Cup, so this will be their first major tournament in six years, which is quite embarrassing for a country with such rich tradition and success.
However, you could make the argument the Netherlands has the most young talent of anybody in this tournament. The Dutch have two of the best players under the age of 24 in center back Matthijs de Ligt, who plays for Juventus, and central midfielder/Barcelona standout Frankie de Jong.
Both of those players hold a transfer value over $80 million, according to TransferMarkt.
Even though the Dutch are going to be without the best defender in the world in Liverpool’s Virgil van Djik, the center of their defense is still stacked with the previously mentioned de Ligt and Inter Milan defender Stephan de Vrij, who was a key part of their Serie A title winning defense that allowed only 1.07 expected goals per match.
Netherlands finished second to Germany in its qualifying group, but its defense was incredibly impressive, allowing just 1.03 xG per match. In fact, if you take out its two matches against Germany and include the three World Cup qualifying matches from late March, the Dutch defense has allowed a total of 5.33 expected goals in nine matches.
The midfield is young, but loaded with talent. De Jong is one of the best central midfielders in the world, but the Flying Dutchmen have even more young talent in the form of 19-year-old Ryan Gravenberch, who plays for Ajax and is already being linked to the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea.
However, it’s not just youth in the midfield. The Dutch also have experienced defensive midfield Marten de Roon, who has been a key cog for Atalanta that has led the Italian side to finish inside the top four in the Serie A the past four seasons. Let’s also not forget about Georginio Wijnaldum, who was a fantastic attacking midfielder for Liverpool and just made a move to Barcelona.
The Dutch offense is led by Memphis Depay, who has been lighting up Ligue 1 defenses for Lyon. This year, the 28-year-old bagged 21 goals, dished out 12 assists and put up a 0.50 xG per 90-minute scoring rate. Netherlands also has a talented, young striker in Donyell Malen, who scored 27 goals in 45 appearances for PSV Eindhoven this season. Suffice it to say, Malen might be someone to watch in this competition.
The Flying Dutchmen been very impressive during both Euro and World Cup qualifying, averaging 2.84 xG per match, which is the third-best mark coming into the tournament behind Spain and Italy. Now, they haven’t played the stiffest of competition, but in their two matches against Germany during Euro qualifying, the Dutch created a total over 4.60 xG in the games.
All in all, the Dutch should be able to cruise through this group, with first place being a priority. If they win Group C, the Dutch would play a third-place team from Groups D, E, or F in the Round of 16 and then the second-place finisher from Group A or B, which would likely be Denmark, Turkey or Switzerland.
So, I think there is some value on the Dutch to win the Euros at +1400, since they wouldn’t have to face another group winner until the semifinals.
Sleeper Watch: Longshot Austria Alive at 90-1 Odds
The Austrians will be a team to watch in this group, because they come in a little under the radar. They were in one of the easiest qualifying groups, finishing second to Poland, but had the best underlying metrics, averaging 2.57 xG per match, while only allowing 0.92 xG per outing.
Now, the last time they were on the field they got routed in a 4-0 loss against Denmark in a World Cup qualifier, but the Danes only out created them by a 1.61-0.84 margin in expected goals.
There is some really nice talent on the Austria roster, led by former Bayern Munich and new Real Madrid left back David Alaba.
The real strength of the Austrians, though, is in their midfield and they have three really talented central midfielders in Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer, who both play for RB Leipzig, and Wolfsburg standout Xaver Schlager. These three should be able to dominate against both Ukraine and North Macedonia, which I think gives Austria a fantastic opportunity to finish second in this group behind the Netherlands.
The Austrians are led up front by 23-year-old Sasa Kalajdzic, who scored 16 goals in 33 appearances for Bundesliga side Vfb Stuttgart this season and carried a 0.47 xG per 90 minute scoring rate, which was the best on the team. He also scored three of Austria’s five goals in their World Cup qualifying matches back in late March.
So, if you’re looking for a team that’s solid in defense, the midfield, on the attack and has an easy path out of its group, Austria to finish top two in this quartet has a lot of value.
The Overrated: Ukraine Simply Not As Good As Record Shows
Ukraine is unbeaten in both Euro and World Cup qualifying, but its one of the most unimpressive stellar runs when you look at its underlying metrics. The Ukrainians only won the expected-goals battle in five of their 11 qualifying matches, and actually only had a +0.9 xGD despite winning qualifying Group B.
When you look at Ukraine’s roster, you probably aren’t going to recognize a lot of names at first glance. That’s because most of their players are with either Dynamo Kiev or Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian Premier League.
Now, playing for Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk isn’t a bad thing, as both clubs qualified for the Champions League last season. However, not playing in one of the top five European leagues does give them a little bit of a knock, because they aren’t playing the best competition on a week in, week out basis.
In fact, the Ukrainian Premier League is the 12th-most difficult league to play in based on UEFA coefficients over the past five years.
However, if Ukraine makes it out of the group stage, which is likely if it can beat North Macedonia and draw with Austria, there’s one long shot from this Ukrainian team that I love. His name is Ruslan Malinovskyi. He’s an attacking midfielder for Atalanta in Serie A, who I’m betting him to lead the tournament in assists.
Malinovskyi actually led the Italian top flight with 12 assists for one of the most prolific attacks in European soccer and had the second-highest expected-assist rate in Italy at 0.49 per 90 minutes. He’s the main cog that runs the Ukrainian attack and will be involved in a lot of its goals.
If Ukraine is able to play four or five matches in this tournament and blow out North Macedonia, he could put up some pretty big assists numbers. Here’s the best part: he’s 125/1 on DraftKings to lead the tournament in assists, so I absolutely loves his value.
North Macedonia Enters Group’s Cinderella
It’s hard not to feel romantic about North Macedonia. For one, this is its first major tournament in the country’s history and two, it’s only been a country since 1990. The nation finished third in its qualifying group behind Poland and Austria, then needed to beat Kosovo and Georgia in the qualifying playoffs to reach the tournament.
However, while it’s a fantastic story, North Macedonia is one of the three worst teams in the competition. It has a couple of guys on its roster you might recognize like 37 year-old Genoa striker Goran Pandev, who has the most goals and appearances for North Macedonia.
Also in the mix are Eljif Elmas, who is an attacking midfielder for Napoli; Ezgjan Alioski, a left back for Leeds United; and, Enis Bardhi, a winger for La Liga side Levante. Outside of them, though, it’s pretty bleak.
During the Euro qualifying stage, North Macedonia didn’t put up much of a fight against Poland and Austria. In its four matches against those teams, it lost all four by a combined score of 9-2 and was out-created on expected goals by a 10.77-2.49 margin.
So, even though the last time it was on the pitch it pulled off that historic upset over Germany, I don’t see how North Macedonia makes it out of the group.
Best Bets for Group C:
- Netherlands to win the Euros (+1400)
- Austria to finish top 2 in Group C (-106)
- Ruslan Malinovskyi to have the most assists in the Euros (+12500)
Group C Projected Match Odds
Read more about BJ Cunningham’s EURO 2020 Projections here.