Finland vs. Russia Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: Can Finns Pull Off Another Euro 2020 Upset?
Martin Meissner – Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Finland soccer fans cheer on their country.
- Russia is a big favorite over Finland in Euro 2020 group play (9 a.m. ET, ESPN), with the Russians needing a win to advance to the knockout stage.
- The Finns are heavy underdogs despite opening the tournament with a victory over Denmark; Russia got trounced by Belgium in its opener.
- Michael Leboff details his Finland vs. Russia pick and preview below.
Finland vs. Russia Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+143 / -175)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 9 a.m. ET|
|Odds updated Tuesday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Saturday’s match between Finland and Denmark was supposed to be a cause for celebration for the Finns. Playing in their first-ever major international tournament, the Eagle-Owls and their fans descended on Copenhagen, Denmark, reveling in the opportunity to be a part of the biggest sporting party in Europe.
Of course, things turned out quite differently, as the world watched on in horror as Denmark’s Christian Eriksen fought for his life on the field after collapsing during the first half of the match.
Eriksen would eventually be stretchered off the field (and thankfully, he seems to be on his way to recovery), and while almost everyone assumed the match would be postponed to be completed on another day, UEFA put a brutal choice in front of the Danes.
Reportedly, Europe’s soccer governing body gave Denmark three option: continue the game later in the afternoon, the next day or take a 3-0 forfeit. Understandably, the players opted for the first option and played out an emotionally-draining 50 or so minutes.
The final result was a 1-0 win for Finland, who came into the match with odds north of +1000 at some sportsbooks, but it’s impossible to draw much of anything from that match to use for the Finns going forward, other than they deserve a ton of credit for the way they handled the entire situation.
Finland will now gladly turn its attention to Wednesday’s match with Russia. The Eagle-Owls are once again big underdogs — they sit at +510 at the time of writing — but should be brimming with confidence as they take on an opponent that looked out of sorts in a 3-0 loss to group-favorites Belgium.
Both Teams Can Score; Neither Can Defend
One thing that we suspected before the tournament was that the Finns, for all their flaws, would be able to score. Teemu Pukki gives the Eagle-Owls a reliable finisher and the players behind the Norwich City talisman are capable of creating scoring chances.
Finland averaged 1.87 expected goals per match during Euro qualifying and put up an impressive 1.57 expected goals in their second match against Italy. Those numbers might not shine through against the top teams in this tournament, but Russia is definitely not part of that group.
Taking on Belgium in their tournament-opener was a tough draw for the Russians, but they didn’t meet that task with any gusto, losing 3-0 to a team that really wasn’t the best version of itself. The Belgians were the better side by far, winning the xG battle 1.61 to 0.23, but their performance seemed more routine than dominant, which is not good news for Russia.
What was particularly worrisome was that the Russians were absolutely calamitous in their own half. The defense and the goalkeeping was a mess, directly leading to two of Belgium’s three goals. The back of Russia’s lineup sheet was always going to be its weakness and seeing that come to life Saturday was truly a sight to behold.
That said, Finland’s defense isn’t anything to write home about, either. The Finns was very lucky that Denmark didn’t find the back of the net in their opener as the Danes created 1.87 xG (including a penalty). That performance came on the heels of two World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Ukraine that saw the Eagle-Owls surrender a total 4.04 xG overall.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This is not as much a bet on Finland as it is a fade against Russia. A one-game sample is never enough to draw conclusions from, but Russia’s abject performance against Belgium was more evidence that the Russians could be closer to the bottom of this field than they are to the middle of the pack.
Additionally, I think the game-script for this match sets up for chaos. Russia needs to win this game — and likely score a few goals — to give themselves a legitimate chance at advancing to the Round of 16, so I expect it to be on the front foot, which should leave it vulnerable on the counter.
That should open up a viable path to an upset for the Finns, who at +510 are expected to win this match just 17.24% of the time. That number seems to overrate the Russians, who I can see having some trouble keeping Finland off the scoresheet.
That’s enough for me to take a shot on a big number. I like the Finland moneyline all the way down to +375 and would not be opposed to backing the Eagle-Owls in derivative markets, as well.
I also think this game sets up well for a bet on the total going over the number. Both teams possess offensive firepower and neither defense seems likely to keep things tidy. Russia’s defense projects to be mistake-prone, while Finland struggle to protect the house and could have some serious issues trying to shut down creative forces Aleksei Miranchuk and Aleksandr Golovin.
Those two will be looking for target-man Artem Dzyuba, who figures to be a lot to handle inside the box.
As my colleague BJ Cunningham pointed out in his preview of Finland vs. Denmark, Finland is a distinct “Over Team” as its Euro and World Cup qualifying matches featured an average of 3.34 expected goals.
This game features two bad defenses and sets up to be wide open, so the total over 2.5 goals at +143 odds via DraftKings is definitely calling my name as well.
Picks: Finland +510 | Total Over 2.5 Goals (+143)