Euro Cup Dark Horses
Everyone loves an underdog. In the EURO 2016, there are many squads that are quantifiable candidates to be the Cinderella of Europes biggest tournament. Whether you are looking for a team that can win the whole song and dance or if you are simply looking to make a play and hedge your bet long before the tournament concludes, there is value across the board.
We led off with an analysis of the tournament favorites, now we direct our attention toward the teams that may be overlooked in the field but are nonetheless viable options. Here is a breakdown of some potential dark horses and sleeper teams that may offer tremendous upside in futures and cash-out scenarios:
For some reason, much of the consensus has forgotten about the Portuguese. The Portuguese are ranked eighth in the FIFA World Rankings and yet they are offered at greater odds than Italy and over double the odds England is offered at, despite being ahead of the English by one position. Portugal has the talent, as they have one of the best forwards in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo at the helm. The price alone dictates this play, given the fact the hosts (France) are offered at odds seven-times lower than the Portuguese but are far behind them in the FIFA World Rankings.
Not too long ago, the Swiss were ranked as high as No. 4 in the FIFA World Rankings. This is a squad that made it to the Knockout Stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and once again enters with an excellent chance of navigating their group stage. There are threats to the Swiss in Group A, but nothing they cannot manage. With Albania, France and Romania slated to be the opposition for the Swiss, it is not hard to imagine this team secures at least 5 points and moves forward in to the Round of 16. Once that occurs, anything can happen and at these odds, we will dive in.
Another auspicious offering where the price dictates the play. The Turkish are ranked within the top-fifteen of the FIFA World Rankings and we get an opportunity to take back this squad at an exceptional price, considering they are ranked higher than both Italy, France and Croatia all of whom are offered at much lower odds.
The Welsh had an exquisite qualification period and this has fostered some momentum for the new kids on the EURO block. Wales features a dynamic playmaker in Garreth Bale and with his presence on the pitch, the Welsh can contend with many squads. When you consider the fact the Welsh drew rival England, inconsistent Russia and beatable Slovakia in Group B, it is safe to assess that the Welsh have an excellent chance of making a splash in this tournament. With odds of 80:1 on the table, we will go ahead and grab the Welsh while the price is right.
The Slovaks are entering off a huge win in a friendly against Germany and you have to wonder even if in a game of less consequence, the effect the victory has on the morale of the Slovaks. When any team knocks off a defending World Champion, the team attitude soars. Now, Slovakia draws newcomer Wales, middling Russia and a potentially overvalued England. The Slovaks are chomping at the bit to prove the result against Germany was no fluke. With lofty odds to start off with, a hedge scenario with Slovakia can be profitable if they survive the group stage. Cashing out as early as the Round of 16 can result in a nice and quick return on a football club that has a great chance of making it out of their group.
A team that has yet to lose a game in this tournament, the Romanians are primed to up-end many squads in the final stages of the EURO. The Romanians have drawn with the likes of Spain, Italy and Greece. This team is up for the task at challenging any team from any place. With Albania in their group, Romania may look to exploit this match-up for three quick points. The question remains how they will perform against France and Switzerland. Romania opens with France and it is very possible the combination of Frances volatility along with the prospect they may take the Romanians lightly may result in Romania stealing a point in their opening fixture. If Romania can avoid any grisly defeats, this is a team that can actually go quite deep in to the tournament. With 200:1 odds out of the gate, we are licking our chops at the potential return if Romania makes it to the Quarterfinals which is very much feasible.