It’s been an interesting week, that’s for sure. In the wake of new revelations regarding the Calcioscommesse scandal, the Italian national team’s Euro 2012 campaign has been thrown into jeopardy following Domenico Criscito’s departure, while further allegations regarding Gianluigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci may well compromise Italy’s bid altogether.
The betting markets haven’t reacted well to the Azzurri’s troubles, increasing the price on an eventual Italian win, which is now at 14/1 rather than 12/1.
That said, bwin customers – not to mention Azzurri fans – now have a unique chance to carve out a few niche bets of their own and make a tidy profit on the Nazionale’s woes. Here are three bets whose chances of coming off have just increased exponentially and whose prices are worth a flutter, to say the least.
Italy to lose to Croatia in Group C @ 13/5
The Azzurri have never beaten Croatia since the Balkan nation achieved its independence back in the early ’90s. A controversial defeat to the Croatians in 2002 only compounded what is now a five-game winless streak for the Italians, who also lost in a crucial Euro 96 qualifying game in Palermo.
With Slaven Bilic’s side rediscovering its touch following its 3-0 mauling of Guus Hiddink’s Turkey in Istanbul last autumn, Prandelli’s injury-ridden defence will have trouble coping with Croatia’s star-studded attacking line-up, which boasts the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Everton striker Nikica Jelavic, who isn’t even an automatic starter!
Italy also kick off against Spain – a massive disadvantage as the Azzurri will face a side known for making an example of their first opponents in the group stages. If they lose to Vicente Del Bosque’s men, they could be easy pickings come matchday two.
Italy to come third in Group C after Spain and Croatia @ 15/4
Bwin is the only betting company out there which is offering you the chance to rank all 16 Euro 2012 finalists in their respective groups. With Spain likely to impose their stylish football and Croatia at good odds to beat Italy, this 15/4 on Spain topping the group and Croatia pipping Italy to the last eight seems quite inviting. Ireland have, for their part, failed to impress in their pre-tournament friendlies and are likely to come fourth.
Italy to be knocked out on penalties @ 8/1
There is still good news out there for Azzurri fans – Mario Balotelli netted a hat-trick yesterday in a practice match and the team may very well gel as it did back in 2006, when the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal incentivised the players to stick together and go for broke.
That said, the Azzurri may well end up losing at the very exercise which won them the World Cup in Germany – penalties. Just as detested a format as it is in England, the shoot-out has cost Italy on many an occasion, notoriously in three consecutive World Cups, from the Italia 90 semi-finals to Roberto Baggio’s sky-high spot-kick in Pasadena in 1994.
If Prandelli’s men can scrape through to the quarter-finals, those 8/1 odds on another defeat of this nature will look pretty good indeed.
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