It’s a busy week for sports betting once again with the culmination of a couple of key football tournaments, the second test of the British Lions tour of New Zealand and then on Monday 3rd July,
We will begin by taking a look at the two big Semi Finals coming up in the European U21 Championships and the Confederations Cup, before running the rule over the British Lions chances in the Second Test in Wellington against New Zealand and finally we’ll preview both the men’s and women’s singles tournaments at Wimbledon, starting on Monday.
European U21 Championships: Semi Finals & Final
After a highly competitive group stage in the new and expanded 12-team European U21 Championships, it was England (Group A), Spain (Group B) and Italy (Group C) that made it through as group winners, with Germany coming through from Group C as the best runner up, by virtue of one more goal than Slovakia.
The two semi finals which pit England against Germany in the opening game, followed by Spain taking on Italy in the second both take place on Tuesday, with the England v Germany game kicking off at 5pm UK time and the Spain v Italy clash starting at 8pm UK Time.
England have the advantage of having had a couple of days extra rest ahead of their match up against arguably their most fierce European rivals. Germany had topped Group C after two wins in their opening two games, but Italy beat them 1-0 in the final match to pip the Germans to top spot and thus sent them into the clash with England.
Germany and England both have somewhat under strength sides in the tournament. Some of Germany’s top U21 stars are currently playing for the full team at the Confederations Cup, while England boss Aidy Boothroyd elected not to call up the likes of Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford for the tournament, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek missed out through a lack of fitness.
The Germans are the 7/5 favourites to win the game with Bet365 and England are a best price of 21/10 also with the company. If you think extra time may be needed to separate the teams then you can get the draw at 9/4.
The second semi final pits Spain, undoubtedly the most impressive team in the tournament thus far, against Italy. The Spaniards won all three of their group games (the only team with a 100% record in the tournament) and they have looked by far the strongest and most dangerous attacking team.
They face an Italian side who have had mixed results, defeating Denmark well in their opener before losing heavily 3-1 to the Czech Republic in their second match, requiring them to beat Germany 1-0 to claim the top spot in the group based on their better record against the Germans.
That said, Italian teams do have a tendency to be more erratic in the earlier stages of a tournament but then when it comes to the reckoning later on, they do tend to find their top form and while I can’t see past a Spain win here (the bookies have them as the 3/4 favourites) Italy are a very tempting 17/4 to win the game inside 90 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to back the draw that is a 5/2 chance.
The two winners of the semi final will go on to face each other in the final in Krakow on Friday 30th June, kick off 7.45pm UK Time.
Confederations Cup: Semi Finals & Final
Hosts Russia welcomed the six continental title winners, plus World Cup winners Germany to compete in the 2017 Confederations Cup. The eight teams were drawn into two groups of four for the
In Group B, Germany and Chile were the teams to progress as they got the better of Cameroon and Australia. The first semi final pits Portugal against Chile in Kazan on Wednesday 28th June, while the second semi between Germany and Mexico takes place in Sochi on the 29th June.
There will be a third place playoff between both losing semi finalists in Moscow ahead of the final in Saint Petersburg which also takes place on the same day.
It is worth noting here that Germany have sent very much a “B” team to this event, electing to rest their more established internationals and give younger players like Emre Can, Julian Brandt and Marc Ter Stegen a chance. Despite that, the Germans have been hugely impressive with only Chile able to take points from them in the Group Stage.
In Group A, Portugal and Mexico finished level on points, but the Portuguese clearly carry the greater goal threat with Cristiano Ronaldo spearheading their challenge. Their match with Chile should be a fantastic encounter with Chile’s all round team play sure to put Portugal to the test. Bet365 have Chile as 11/5 to win here with Portugal the slight favourites at 29/20 and it is 9/4 the draw.
In the second semi final, World Champions Germany are the hot favourites at 23/20 to defeat Mexico who are 13/5 with Bet365, the same price as a draw. My money is on a Germany v Portugal final, which would be a fitting way to conclude the tournament.
New Zealand v British Lions: Second Test in Wellington
A late New Zealand try gave the First Test 30-15 scoreline a somewhat more flattering look than it actually was for the All Blacks against the British and Irish Lions in that first test at Eden Park. For the most part, the Lions pushed the All Blacks hard and but for some crucial errors, could have been level heading into those final few minutes.
Despite that, the Lions will know that they now have to win the second test in Wellington in order to stand any chance of winning the three-match test series. Will Warren Gatland shuffle his team for this second game or will he make some tactical changes in the hope his team can capitalise on the chances they create to convert possession into points?
For the All Blacks, a win here would give them not only a series win but confirm them as still the dominant force in world Rugby. The bookies certainly feel it is the All Blacks to lose with the home side a 1/5 favourite, but you can back the Lions at 11/2 if you feel they could cause an upset. The draw is a massive 40-1 shot.
This week all the top players are putting their final touches in place in readiness for the start of Wimbledon fortnight, which kicks off on Monday 3rd July. Andy Murray in the men’s singles and Serena Williams in the women’s were the winners last year and Murray will be back to defend his title, Williams unable to due to her being pregnant.
This promises to be a hugely intriguing men’s event. Murray and Djokovic, arguably the best two grass court players on the tour are both out of form heading into this event. Nadal has been in great form on clay, but has always found grass a much more difficult prospect. Could it be Roger Federer who reaps the benefit, the seven-time champion may be 35 years of age now, but he looked very sharp in his warm up tournament in Halle, which he won in style.
Indeed Federer is a 9/4 shot with Bet365, ahead of Andy Murray at 10/3 and Nadal at 9/2, while Djokovic is a very tempting 6/1 shot with Bet365. Outside of that you have the big servers of Raonic and Cilic (both 14/1). As an outside bet, grass court specialist Juan Martin del Potro is a very tempting 28/1 shot.
If anything, the women’s event is even more open than the men’s with Serena Williams not defending her title and the women’s game very much in a state of change at the top of the pecking order. Petra Kvitova (5/1) and Karolina Pliskova (9/2) are where the smart money seems to be going, but there is also good odds for Muguruza (10/1), Venus Williams (12/1) and could we even see a female British winner, the first time since 1977, with Johanna Konta rated a 12/1 shot with most bookmakers.