France a Small Favorite to Win Euro 2016 Over Germany, Spain, Belgium
With the Euro 2016 Round of 16 set to get underway in France on Saturday it’s not too surprising to see the host country as the favorite to win the soccer tournament.
France is listed as +400 chalk (bet $100 to win $400) at online sportsbook Bovada against a solid field of competitors also including top contenders Germany (+450), Spain (+550) and Belgium (+550). Spain is the two-time defending champion, winning the tourney in 2008 and 2012 and also blanking France 2-0 in the 2012 quarterfinals.
The tournament field expanded to 24 teams this year from 16 previously, with France winning Group A after earning seven points for two wins and a draw. The French beat Romania 2-1 and Albania 2-0 before settling for a 0-0 tie against Switzerland (+4000), which finished second in Group A and also qualified for the Round of 16.
France will play Ireland (+10000) on Sunday in Lyon and will take on the winner between England (+900) and Iceland (+15000) in the quarterfinals in Saint-Denis on July 3.
Germany would not face France until the semifinals on July 7 in Marseille if both advance that far. Like the French, the Germans won Group C with two wins and a draw, defeating the Ukraine 2-0 and Northern Ireland 1-0 while tying Poland 0-0. Of that group of opponents, only the Ukraine did not qualify for the Round of 16, with Poland sitting at +2500 to win the tourney and Northern Ireland the longest shot on the board at +20000.
The Poles also earned seven points in Group C but had a smaller goal difference to finish second. Germany will play Slovakia on Sunday in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.
Spain did not win Group D, finishing second behind Croatia (+900) with six points. The Croatians upset the Spaniards 2-1 in the group finale on Tuesday to end up with seven points. Croatia also knocked off Turkey 1-0 and had a disappointing 2-2 tie with the Czech Republic, which did not even earn a victory in group play.
In the Round of 16, Spain has a tough match with Group E winner Italy (+1600) while Croatia is paired up with a Portugal team that is +1000 after finishing group play with three draws.
Belgium finished second behind Italy in Group E despite having the same number of points (six) and the same goal difference (+2). The Belgians gave up one more goal though, falling 2-0 to the Italians in the group opener before posting a pair of shutouts over Ireland (3-0) and Sweden (1-0), which ended up last in the group without a win.
Of the top four favorites, Belgium appears to have the easiest road to the Final on July 10 in Saint-Denis. The Belgians first meet Hungary (+10000) in the Round of 16 before likely playing Wales (+2500) in the quarterfinals and Croatia or Portugal in the semis.
The lower part of the bracket includes France, Germany and Spain, with the last two likely squaring off in an intriguing quarterfinal matchup in Bordeaux on July 2.