Few punters and pundits are looking past Spain to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy again, but for the eagle-eyed among you, there’s money to be made even if la Roja don’t go the distance.
The reigning world and European champions go into the tournament as bwin’s 14/5 joint favourites alongside Germany and given Spain’s record in tournament football over the past four years, the chance to almost quadruple your money shouldn’t be sniffed at.
But as we know, pre-competition favourites can easily come a cropper and most of the Spanish squad will need no reminding that Barcelona and Real Madrid did the bookies a favour by bottling it in this season’s Champions League.
The Spaniards will take some stopping if they click, but in case they don’t, here are a few other tips to top up your Euro prize pot.
Spain to record nine Group C points (@ 5/2, free £25 bet wins £87.50)
Vicente del Bosque’s men are a tiny 2/25 to get out of Group C, which consists of crisis-hit Italy, an erratic Croatia and the occasionally lucky, but ultimately useless Ireland.
Each game has its own potential pitfalls and many punters will remember Spain kicking off in South Africa two years ago with a surprise reverse against unfancied Switzerland.
But at 5/2, I’m backing them to pick up maximum points and secure a seamless progression to the quarters.
The Spanish have limbered up with a reassuring swagger ahead of the event after recording three comfortable warm-up wins against Serbia, South Korea and China.
The biggest test should come first up against the Italians, but with the Azzurri in the midst of another match-fixing scandal and on the back of three friendly defeats without scoring, back the champions to hit the ground running and in the process take a big step towards qualification in top spot.
Croatia and Ireland follow but should be outclassed.
David Silva to be top Man City scorer at Euro 2012 (@ 9/4, free £25 bet wins £81.25)
With Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets likely to drop anchor and dictate from deep, much of Spain’s goalscoring threat will come from the three forwards allowed licence to roam, one of which is almost certainly going to be Man City schemer David Silva.
Not ordinarily a prolific scorer at club level, Silva has been granted a more offensive role for la Roja and has scored five goals in his last seven international appearances.
What’s more, Silva won’t necessarily need to find the back of the net that often for this bet to come in.
Mario Balotelli is neither a regular starter or scorer for Italy yet begins as 6/5 favourite in this market, with France’s Samir Nasri offering most competition at 4/1.
England midifielder James Milner comes next at 28/1, with Holland’s Nigel de Jong rounding off the choices at 40/1.
If Spain go somewhere near the distance, Silva should have enough game time to get a goal or two to pull this little pearler off.
Spain and Germany to reach Euro 2012 final (@ 6/1, free £25 bet wins £175)
Bwin can’t decide between Spain and Germany at 14/5 to win the tournament and with this cracker of a bet, you don’t have to either.
The pair are arguably equipped with the best starting XIs and squads and neither dropped a point across 18 combined games in qualifying.
Should both sides top their group, the draw keeps them apart until the final, meaning the two favourites and best teams in the competition will have to be humbled by someone else before they are required to beat each other.
Simply picking the two favourites to progress to the end point isn’t usually a surefire route success, of course.
But although it’s been a while since anything similar happened in the World Cup, it’s worth remembering Spain and Germany met in the final in 2008 with Euro 2000 favourites France and Italy also colliding for the showpiece.
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