Euro 2020 Group D Betting Preview: Odds, Best Bets, Model Predictions for England, Croatia, Czech Republic & Scotland
Laurence Griffiths – The FA/The FA via Getty Images. Pictured: England standout Bukayo Saka, right, celebrates his goal with teammates Jack Grealish, Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane.
Euro 2020: Group D Odds
|Team||Group Odds||Outright Odds|
Group D will be housed in the United Kingdom, with Wembley Stadium and Hampden Park in Glasgow serving as the home stadiums.
The two iconic British venues will be host to four intriguing teams that will look to attack, with one of them entering the tournament as the team with the second lowest odds to win it all.
Oddmakers clearly think this is England’s group to lose. Manager Gareth Southgate’s men are at -215 odds to win the group and +550 to win the tournament.
On paper, the Three Lions have some fantastic promise. Harry Kane is one of world soccer’s best goalscorers, with plenty of playmakers around him. Mason Mount is the only sure thing to feature behind him as the link between midfield and attack.
Out wide, the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling all have legitimate cases to be in the England starting lineup. Good luck to Southgate picking two of them for England’s opening match.
Southgate’s preferred formation appears to be a 4-2-3-1 going forward and more of a 4-4-2 when the opposition has the ball. In two friendlies leading up to Euro 2020, Grealish played as a No. 10 behind the striker in the middle of the field. The Aston Villa playmaker thrived wide to the left this season for his club, but Southgate’s preference might be to get as many of his attackers on the field as possible, which makes that the ideal formation.
It does seem like that would be Mount’s spot in the team normally, though, given how the Chelsea man has been deployed by Southgate since last September.
Don’t be surprised if 17-year-old Jude Bellingham is a standout performer for England in the midfield as well. He showed this season with Borussia Dortmund that confidence is not an issue on the ball, becoming a fixture in the starting lineup by the end of the season.
This is the most talented England team in a long time, more than the 2018 squad because of the young attacking options that have broken through. I’m not looking to bet them to win the group or tournament, though.
I’m not backing England to win the group simply because they have been very unconvincing against quality opposition over the past year, and there are two matchups against teams that will look to play with them step for step (Croatia and Czech Republic) and one against a Scotland team that will be up for the game and stay solid defensively.
The main reason to avoid England is a lack of familiarity on the pitch among the squad. No doubt these players are all very familiar with each other, but they haven’t actually played much together. Kane has tended to fade in big games throughout his career, and Sancho hasn’t hit the same heights for England as he has for Dortmund.
The most reliable player in England’s attack is Rashford, who scored a penalty in an unconvincing 1-0 win over Romania on Sunday. It wouldn’t shock me if he and Foden started on the wings against Croatia in the opening match.
This squad is talented, no question. But I’ll likely be looking to back them come the 2022 World Cup. This summer is just too early.
Don’t Forget About Us: Croatia Enters as Live Underdog
While England is entering its prime, this is quite possibly the last hurray for Croatia, which sits at +300 odds to win the group.
In September 2020, Ivan Rakitić surprisingly retired from international duty. The Croatians rode a midfield trio of Rakitic, captain Luka Modrić and Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic to the World Cup final in 2018, so Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic will likely slide into Rakitić’s place.
Modric is 35 and still playing at a crazy high level. Winger Ivan Perisic is 32. Center backs Domagoj Vida (32) and Dejan Lovren (31) return after stellar performances in the last World Cup.
There is youth in this team, but the old guard remains strong. I won’t bet against all of these players getting to next year’s World Cup, even if it’ll be six months later.
The Croatians will control every game because of their midfield, even possibly against England. Modrić and Brozovic are coming off fantastic seasons at club level, with Brozovic anchoring a Serie A-winning midfield. They’ll remain composed against England’s young talent and focused against the likes of the Czech Republic and Scotland.
Sleeper Watch: Czech Republic (+400 to reach quarterfinals)
Oddly, you don’t want to win Group D.
The winner of Group D gets the runner-up from Group F, which features France, Germany and Portugal. The Group D runner-up gets the runner-up from Group E (Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia). Third from Group D would play either the Group B winner (likely Belgium) or first place from Group C, where the Netherlands are favored.
Bottom line, no team is going to tank in group play. This isn’t the NBA.
That means if everything goes as expected, England will win the group. Scotland (I’ll get to them in a bit) will likely be the odd team out, which leaves the aforementioned Croatians and Czech Republic.
The Czechs come in having put up very impressive expected goals stats in the qualifying rounds, during which they beat England on home soil.
Familiar names include midfielder Tomáš Souček, who will be a menace if he’s as effective in the air for his country as he is for West Ham United, and striker Patrick Schick, whose all-around game suits a Czech team that doesn’t have much experience on a stage like this.
Two third-place teams notched three points in group play and advanced to the knockout round back in 2016, while a solid goal difference is also crucial. I think the Czechs will take the game to the Scots and collect three points there, even though the game is in Glasgow, and a point from either game against Croatia or England isn’t out of the question.
Regardless of where the Czechs finish, as long as it’s not atop the group, +400 odds to win a knockout-round game against what likely won’t be a powerhouse nation is great value.
The Longshot: Scotland
Ever heard of a team with two left backs as its two best players? If not, meet the Scotland national team.
Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson and Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney give manager Steve Clarke really only one choice of formation given their quality. Scotland has to play a 3-5-2, with Tierney as the left center back and Robertson bursting up and down the left wing as a fullback.
The Scottish midfielder is powered by Aston Villa’s John McGinn, who is the active leader in most goals for the national team. That’s a problem.
Going forward for Scotland, goalscoring is the biggest concern. Celtic’s James Forrest and Ryan Christie are coming off subpar goalscoring seasons, while Ryan Fraser failed to impress at Newcastle. Sheffield United’s Oli McBurnie is also out for the tournament due to injury.
Scotland’s best hope will likely be Southampton striker Che Adams, who recently opted to represent the nation when it became clear his England prospects were going nowhere.
The Leicester-born forward is athletic and has a solid amount of pace, although finishing isn’t his strong suit. He had nine Premier League goals this season compared to 12.12 expected goals, per Understat, which indicates he could be more lethal in front of goal.
Best Bets for Group D
The first pick is Croatia to win the group at +300. This number is way too high, because books are clearly all about England.
I think the Three Lions are a tournament or two away from really thriving, because they mostly haven’t played much together. Meanwhile, the Croatians know each other inside and out.
These sides face off in the group’s first game of the tournament at Wembley Stadium. I trust the Croatians’ experience and familiarity with the English team to come in handy to at least get a point. From there, bettors would feel great to have a +300 ticket in their pockets.
- Croatia to win Group D (+300)
- Czech Republic to reach quarterfinals (+400)