The 2012 UEFA European Championship begins group play Friday, but sportbooks both in Las Vegas and offshore have been taking wagers on one of soccer’s biggest tournaments for months now.
We take a look at which teams are drawing action for the futures market:
Odds to win
Spain, the defending Euro and World Cup champion, is the favorite at most books. Futures action has been steady on them at bet365.com, where they are +275. However, Las Vegas bettors are flocking to Germany, who are now the favorite to win Euro 2012.
According to Jay Rood, sportsbook manager for the MGM Mirage, Spain was bumped from +250 to +280 while Germany moved to the top of the board, from +300 to +250.
“They’re the ones with the higher ticket count right now,” Rood told Covers. “They’re the favorite everyone wants to bet right now.”
Other teams moving up and down the outright winner board are England and Italy. The English have dropped to +1,400 and according to Aron Wattleworth of bet365.com, controversy and overhyped expectations could be scaring away bettors.
“We’re not seeing near as much patriotic action on them with all the controversy around the team, new manager, and a long list of injured senior players,” Wattleworth told Covers. “It’s no big surprise. However, this may be what England needs to do well – no big expectation as in past tourneys.”
Italy has fallen from its form in the 1990s but its formidable defense, impressive soccer pedigree and tempting odds are attracting futures bettors. The MGM moved the Italians from +1,000 to +600 to win Euro 2012.
Other teams drawing strong futures action are Portugal, which dropped from +1,800 to +1,000 in Vegas, as well as Croatia and France.
“I am surprised they are so well backed,” Wattleworth says about France. “They can’t really do any worse than the revolt that took place in South Africa though.”