Euro 2016 Round Of 16 Game Predictions
Euro 2016 Knockout Stage Betting Lines Analysis
By Paul Seaton
Croatia (+165) vs. Portugal (+200)
Both sides arrive in the knockout round from vastly different positions, Croatia storming to the top of Group D while Portugal could only stumble into third place in Group F.
Neither side will be disappointed to have avoided teams like Germany, France, Italy, Spain and England by landing in their half of the draw, however, and will already be imagining a route through to the final if they can negotiate what will be a tricky game.
Starting off with a narrow 1-0 victory against Turkey thanks to a stunning Luka Modric volley, the Croats then hit their only sticky period of qualification. Up 2-0 against the Czech Republic, Croatia let in two late goals. They missed dearly Modric's influence in the center of the field as he went off injured.
In their third and final game, Croatia sealed qualification with a stunning 2-1 victory over Spain. Having trailed to an early Alvaro Morata strike, Croatia equalized just before half-time. Despite conceding a penalty to Spain in the second half, Croatia scored a stunning winner to top the table when Ivan Perisic lashed home the winner with just a few minutes to go:
Portugal have not found qualification for the knockouts easily and could become the only team in football history to win a major tournament without winning a game outright. Having tied their opening game with Iceland, they drew a blank in a frustrating second game against the other disappointing team in Group F, Austria.
In the final game of the group, Portugal came from behind three times to grab a priceless 3-3 tie with the group's surprise package - Hungary. Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice and thoroughly deserved the plaudits, despite missing a penalty and countless chances in the previous games.
He's now a decent bet to be top goalscorer in the tournament at +450.
As for the game itself, we rate Croatia's chances of beating Portugal highly and will invest at +165.
Hugely impressive against Spain despite not having Luka Modric, they have a goal threat all over the pitch and in Perisic a striker in imperious form.
Having been a massive 150/1 in Europe to top score in the tournament, he is now only +1400, but we prefer the odds of +1100 that Croatia win Euro 2016 outright.
They're a great bet at this stage and may prove to be the dark horses who gallop away with the trophy.
Switzerland (+220) vs. Poland (+160)
Switzerland have rather limped through Group A, beating Albania but drawing with France and Romania to progress unbeaten without sparkling.
Relying on the attacking instincts of Shaqiri, Switzerland will go into the match as underdogs, but only marginally. Poland at +160 would be our bet, purely because of their reliable defense. They conceded very few goals, and have yet to be breached in the tournament so far, gaining a point from a stalemate against Germany where they actually had the best chance to win the game through the luckless Milik Jakub.
Blaszczykowski scored a wonderful winner against Ukraine in the final game to give Poland seven points and he would be our pick to score in another 1-0 win. That bet is +2800 but if you prefer a lower risk bet on Blaszczykowski, he's +750 to open the scoring.
Wales (Evens) vs. Northern Ireland (+360)
After topping a group featuring England, Russia and Slovakia, Wales go into the knockout stages in very good form, with Gareth Bale at the top of the scoring charts with three goals.
Having won their opening game 2-1 against Slovakia, thanks in no small part to a stunning Gareth Bale free-kick, Wales then faced England in what looked like a pivotal middle game. Having led through another free-kick from Bale, Wales were pegged back by Jamie Vardy before a late Daniel Sturridge winner gave England all three points.
Wales were visibly set back, but rallied tremendously in the final group game, dismissing Russia 3-0 thanks to goals from Bale (again), Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor. With England failing to beat Slovakia, Wales were group winners and will face Northern Ireland in the knockout round.
Northern Ireland had just one victory in the group stage, beating Ukraine 2-0 thanks to a wonderful team performance. Their other two performances were decent, but they lost 1-0 to both Poland and Germany. Check out the valiant defensive display 'Norn Iron' out on in their battle against the World Champions:
Northern Ireland defended brilliantly against both Germany and Poland, but may have to do even better against a determined Wales side who can visualize a deep run at this tournament.
Bale looks a great bet to score (he's +450 to be top scorer in Euro 2016) and if Bale scores and Wales win, you'll be pleased if you invested at +210. That is a vastly different price to their outright 90-minute win (Evens) and Bale has scored in every game so far.
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