Slovakia vs. Spain Odds, Pick, Prediction: Total Has Value in Euro 2020 Group Play (June 23)

Slovakia vs. Spain Odds, Pick, Prediction: Total Has Value in Euro 2020 Group Play (June 23) article feature image
Credit:

David Ramos/POOL/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Alvaro Morata.

  • Spain is a massive favorite over Slovakia in Group E play at Euro 2020 on Wednesday afternoon in Seville (12 p.m. ET, ESPN).
  • Both teams could potentially win the group, although Spain are yet to win through two frustrating draws to start the tournament.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down Spain vs. Slovakia below.

Slovakia vs. Spain Odds

Slovakia Odds +1500
Spain Odds -455
Draw +525
Over/Under 2.5 (-155 / +128)
Day | Time Wednesday | 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds updated Tuesday afternoon via DraftKings.

Spain enter Matchday 3 needing three points to guarantee a place in the last 16 when they face Slovakia on Wednesday afternoon.

Manager Luis Enrique’s side has settled for a pair of frustrating draws against Sweden and then Poland while playing before a home crowd in Seville.

Slovakia, meanwhile, need only a draw to secure their own surprising place in the knockout phase. Stefan Tarkovic’s squad has been among the more heavily impacted by refereeing decisions.

Slovakia opened with a win over 10-man Poland before succumbing 1-0 to Sweden in a match decided by Emil Forsberg’s 77th-minute penalty.

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Slovakia Eyes Another Upset

The Sokoli may be the 18th-highest ranked team in Euro 2020, according to the FIFA World Rankings, but they have developed a knack for being tough tournament opponents over the last decade.

Slovakia has reached the last 16 in each of its previous two major tournament appearances, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2016.

This particular side has been cagey even compared to those past groups, scoring and conceding only twice through two matches while creating very little in terms of substantive chances.

Entering Tuesday, the difference in expected goals (xG) created and those created by opponents — or expected goal difference (xGD) — of -1.13 per 90 minutes was fourth lowest in the tournament, according to StatsBomb.

Two of three teams beneath them — Turkey and North Macedonia — have already been eliminated. Hungary is on its last legs, needing a win against heavily favored Germany in Munich.

Milan Skriniar’s half volley winner over Poland is the only goal scored by a Slovakia player, their other coming off a Polish defender.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has stopped six of seven shots he’s faced during open play.

Spain Need To Convert xG Into Goals

If Turkey has been the most disappointing team of Euro 2020, Spain has been the most maddening.

With two draws and two goals, Spain is lagging its xG by 2.5 in terms of goal difference, the worst mark of any team in the tournament.

Enrique’s side even struggles to do the easy things right.

Gerardo Moreno became the fourth consecutive Spanish player to fail to convert a penalty in the game against Poland. Alvaro Morata has Spain’s only goal, and the xG numbers say he should probably have at least two.

Spain may be an example of a side actually struggling due to playing at home.

For starters, Basque and Catalan nationalism always makes the idea of home support more complicated. And the public has been a bit spoiled by the generation that won two European Championships and the World Cup between 2008 and 2012. Domestically, TV ratings for Spain’s opening draw against Sweden were the lowest since 2008.

The current Spanish side has even complained about conditions in Seville, where the pitch looks thicker and bumpier than at most others in this tournament.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Given Spain’s plodding attack this tournament and Slovakia’s lack of a need for three points, I’m almost inclined to bet on the draw here. The obvious gap in talent between the two sides is too much to overlook, though.

Instead, I’m considering these facts:

  • Spain need a victory, but their goal difference doesn’t matter.
  • Slovakia need to avoid a defeat, but they’re unlikely to abandon a conservative approach unless their deficit becomes multiple goals.
  • Total xG has not exceeded 3.0 in any of the four games these teams have played.

In terms of larger track record, it’s more about Spain’s if you expect them to control the match. In Euro 2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, their matches have only exceeded three total goals on five occasions. The highest-ranked opponent in those matches is 43-ranked Romania.

I suppose a similar blowout against Slovakia is possible, but for me it’s highly unlikely. So for me, the play here is an Asian Total of under 3.0 total goals at -136 odds on DraftKings. The payout is less than +123 odds for total goals under 2.5 goals (an implied 44.5% probability). But if the total is exactly three, your money is returned. The vast majority of potential totals above 2.5 goals land on exactly three, rather than four or more.

Pick: Under 3 total goals -136

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