European Championship Betting Guide: Sunday 6/27/21
Day 2 of Euro 2020’s knockout stages sees three of the favorites put their title hopes on the line in a pair of matches not to be missed.
Read on for the backstories on Sunday’s Round-of-16 clashes, and be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for all the odds on Euro 2020.
Netherlands vs. Czech Republic
Puskás Aréna | Budapest, Hungary | 12pm ET
The Pick: Netherlands -150
At first glance, Sunday’s opener in the Hungarian capital feels like an easy one to call.
While perennial contenders the Netherlands breezed through Group C by a combined score of 8-2 over Ukraine, Austria, and North Macedonia, the Czech Republic finished third behind England and Croatia in Group D and are FIFA’s lowest-ranked team remaining in the tournament, sitting at No. 40 in the world.
10 - The Netherlands have found the net at least twice in each of their last 10 games, the longest such run ever for the Dutch national team (previous record was 9, set in 1934-1935). Oranges. #NED #MKDNED #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/XIAVs3pySz
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 21, 2021
The Czechs have some quality in their side -- specifically West Ham midfielder Tomáš Souček and Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick, the latter having scored all three of his side’s goals at this tournament -- but their team stats through three games at Euro 2020 are fairly pedestrian, as they’ve allowed more shots than they’ve taken while ceding possession (46.4%).
In terms of results, they were merely average in a qualifying campaign that saw them lose to Kosovo and Bulgaria, and they’ve also struggled against superior opposition, as well. In the last 12 months, Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side has played six matches against teams that have reached the knockout stage at these Euros -- and they failed to win any of them, going 0-4-2 and scoring just twice.
Meanwhile, despite their +900 status to win the tournament, the Dutch have played like a world-class outfit this month; they’re the highest-scoring team in the competition, have posted two clean sheets and have notched the most ball recoveries of any squad thus far.
Despite the success, there are still some questions about Frank de Boer’s credentials to lead this squad, but they’ve lost just twice since the former Ajax manager took over in September of 2020 and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 matches.
The Oranje have the look of a side that could go far in this tournament -- and they’re starting to believe they could, as well – so it’s a safe assumption the style and substance the Dutch displayed in Amsterdam will carry over to Budapest in the Round of 16.
Belgium vs. Portugal
La Cartuja Stadium | Seville, Spain | 3pm ET
The Pick: Draw +210
While some might point to England-Germany as the premier clash of the Round of 16, it’s hard to overlook this titanic matchup in Seville between the reigning European champions and the top-ranked team in the world.
BELGIUM VS. PORTUGAL
Who's ready?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/6UMuBQmOEj
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
Belgium have been close to glory in the last three major tournaments, with quarterfinal appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Euros followed by a third-place finish in Russia in 2018, their best showing at a showpiece event since earning runner-up status at Euro ’80.
Ironically, the Red Devils’ penchant of being groomsmen at these big occasions used to be the trademark of the Portuguese, who had reached the semifinals of the Euros four times before finally breaking through five years ago in France with their first major trophy.
It’s an intriguing clash on a number of levels, and as you’d expect when No. 1 plays No. 5 at a neutral site, the oddsmakers don’t really see a favorite.
In terms of how these teams have fared at Euro 2020, Belgium have had the more consistent tournament thus far with three wins out of three over Russia, Denmark, and Finland, but while Portugal have labored a bit with a 1-1-1 record against Hungary, Germany, and France, it’s an understatement to say they’ve had the more difficult group to navigate.
However, while the Fernando Santos’ men launched their run to the title in 2016 from a similar position -- they also finished third in their group that year before running the table the rest of the way -- there are also reasons for concern this time around. The biggest problem areas lie in defense, as no team remaining has allowed more goals (6) than the usual stingy Selçao have, and it’s also hard to ignore that three of their seven goals scored have come from the penalty spot.
Meanwhile, for all the apprehension about the aging backline at Roberto Martinez’s disposal, Belgium have conceded just once so far, and each of their seven goals have come from open play, including three from star striker Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan.
63 goals in 96 games for Belgium.
Romelu Lukaku is special pic.twitter.com/ZhzaJNyiC3
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 21, 2021
With that said, the Belgians have struggled against Portugal in recent years -- they’ve not beaten the Iberians since 1989 -- and given the way Santos’ men have mastered knockout football lately as well as the close proximity of Seville to the Portuguese border, it’s hard to dismiss the holders’ chances in this contest.
In a match that appears too close to call, 90 minutes might not be enough to settle this encounter in Andalusia, and that makes the draw the most logical pick.