Italy vs. England Euro 2020 Final Betting Preview: Why the Italians Have Value (Sunday, July 11)

Italy vs. England Euro 2020 Final Betting Preview: Why the Italians Have Value (Sunday, July 11) article feature image

CARL RECINE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Federico Chiesa.

Italy vs. England Odds

Italy Odds+200
England Odds+160
Over/Under2.5 (+165 / -210)
Day | TimeSunday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN | fuboTV
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet.

To say England had a cozy ride to the Euro 2020 final would be an understatement.

Here are England’s opponents so far: Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine and Denmark. All are respectable sides, but the only true power among them is Germany, who are in the midst of a transition period and were not a popular pre-tournament pick.

Now consider that England have only had to play one game away from home — as well as a piece of extremely kind officiating in the semifinal and some unconvincing performances — and you’d be slightly surprised that Gareth Southgate’s team is favored over Italy.

Unlike England, the Italians have been the most impressive team of the tournament. Their style has changed for the better under manager Roberto Mancini, as they’ve become an attacking juggernaut with a defense capable of holding its own against any team.

Here’s why the Italians are the best value to win Euro 2020:

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In Attack

This is not some golden generation for Italian attacking players like it is for England, but you sure can’t tell from the results on the field.

While striker Ciro Immobile has gone silent since starting the tournament well, everyone around him is thriving.

Federico Chiesa has scored a pair of fantastic goals in the knockout stages, while Lorenzo Insigne is a consistent source of chance-creation out left. Nicolo Barella is excelling in midfield and scored in spectacular fashion against Belgium, while Domenico Berardi is among the best impact subs in the tournament.

Italy will also have the edge on the ball in midfield in this game. Kalvin Phillips is a strong passer but has been given a different role with England than he’s used to with Leeds United. Meanwhile, Declan Rice’s main strengths shine on defense. I expect Jorginho and Marco Verratti to control this game in midfield.

Left back Leonardo Spinazzola was a big loss for Italy, though. He was a key part of their attack down the left wing, allowing Insigne to cut inside and take up better goalscoring positions. Emerson was fine against Spain, but it's clear that side of the pitch is different without Spinazzola.

Spinazzola's presence was missed against Spain, but the Italians more than held their own against a dynamic attack. Italy registered just 0.63 expected goals against Spain, making it the first time in the tournament they have notched anything below 1.73, which they did against Belgium.

In Defense

Before Raheem Sterling’s blatant dive against Denmark was rewarded, England looked stagnant in attack. Harry Kane has been nowhere near his best form this tournament, and England is getting little outside of Sterling in front of goal.

This is a concern against an Italian backline that features two center backs who have pretty much seen it all, as well as possibly the best goalkeeper in the world between the pipes.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will no doubt be confident against Kane on Sunday:

"It's the history of the Tottenham. They always miss something to arrive at the end."

Giorgio Chiellini just lives for getting under his opponents' skin 🎣

We think Harry Kane might remember this one on Sunday night…

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) July 9, 2021

The Italian pair were caught on their heels for Spain’s goal in the semifinals but have otherwise been great in the knockout stage. They conceded one against Austria after Italy scored twice in extra time, as well as Alvaro Morata’s fantastic goal.

I don't expect many goals in this game. Harry Maguire and John Stones have been equally fantastic — albeit against vastly inferior opposition compared to Belgium and Spain. It's also rare for a cup final to be a back-and-forth affair full of goals.

According to the xG Philosophy, England and Italy have conceded the least xG per 90 minutes of any team in this tournament. There might be plenty of attacking talent on display, but it's these teams' defenses that are their biggest strengths.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

In a matchup that is this close to a toss-up, even though it's pretty much a home game for England, I'll take the team that is battle-tested on a big stage defensively, as well as one that has had to grind, and thrived doing so, in attack.

England are an impressive team, but they have been extremely fortunate to avoid any major powers in their journeys to the 2018 World Cup semifinal and this stage at Euro 2020. I don't see the midfield being able to keep control of the game, and an in-form Italian attack is also a difficult prospect to control defensively.

Another simple stat: Italy have lost just twice in 38 games under Mancini. Before their draw against Spain in the semifinals, they had won 20 straight matches since the start of Euro 2020 qualifying. Granted, not all of those games were against teams as good as Belgium, Spain or England, but there’s something to be said about establishing a positive, winning culture.

You can get Italy at +100 at PointsBet, and I think that's where the betting value lies at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Pick: Italy To Lift The Cup +100

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