Euro 2024: Best Bets for Matchday One

Euro 2024: Best Bets for Matchday One

Settle in football fans, the action is about to begin, as 24 nations head to Germany for Euro 2024. 51 games crammed into the space of a month is enough to satisfy the appetite of even the most ardent supporter, with the Group phase regularly laying on three live games at the UK-friendly times of 2pm, 5pm, and 8pm.

You can’t beat an international football tournament for the steady stream of entertainment and associated punting opportunities. Here, using data and analysis presented by, we pick out our top four bets from the opening round of games.

Germany vs Scotland – Friday 14 June, 8pm

Sticking with tradition, the hosts get the ball rolling in the opening Friday evening fixture, as Germany welcome Steve Clarke and Scotland to the Allianz Arena – a daunting task for the Scots, but they will be encouraged by their excellent qualifying campaign and the fact that this doesn’t appear to be a vintage German outfit.

Overall, we don’t anticipate this being a classic. Scotland will surely set up to frustrate in such a white-hot atmosphere and, if sinking into a back five protected by Billy Gilmour, Scott McTominay, and Callum McGregor, complemented by the legs of John McGinn, they may prove very tough to break down – particularly as this German side lacks width and is naturally inclined to try and find space in central areas.

Scotland showed they are capable in a similar scenario when beating Spain 2-0 despite only having 25% possession. Whilst an almighty shock isn’t out of the question, it’s tough to see where the Scottish threats on the counter will come from, and we prefer to side with a low-scoring game.

  • Recommended Bet - Under 2.5 Goals @ 5/4 with BetMGM

Spain vs Croatia – Saturday 15 June, 5pm

Saturday’s teatime fixture comes from the Group of Death as Spain take on Croatia at the Olympiastadion. Overcoming a blip against Scotland, Spain ultimately qualified with relative ease and are a shade of odds-on to make a winning start. However, it would be unwise to overlook tournament specialists Croatia (runners-up in the 2018 World Cup and third in the 2022 edition).

As ever, Spain’s strength looks to lie in midfield, but that advantage may be nullified by the vastly experienced Croatian trio of Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, and Mateo Kovacic – placing the onus on the youthful Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal to create the opportunities for Alvaro Morata. Keep those two quiet – which Croatia are more than capable of doing with Josko Gvardiol and Josip Stanisic in the fullback positions – and Spain may struggle to find a way through.

At around the 7/2 mark, it is tempting to side with Croatia to nick it, particularly as they beat Portugal in their final warm-up game, but we suspect each of these sides will be reasonably happy to avoid defeat in the opener.

  • Recommended Bet - Draw @ 49/20 with BetMGM

Poland vs Netherlands – Sunday 16 June, 2pm

Moving on to Sunday afternoon, it’s tough not to side with the Dutch in this clash at the Volksparkstadion. We have our doubts as to how far this youthful Netherlands outfit can go - mainly due to our reservations regarding Ronald Koeman’s tactical nous - but they look to have been handed an eminently winnable opener against a bang-average Poland outfit.

Impressing at the last World Cup (only losing out to eventual winners Argentina on penalties), the Dutch struggled to deal with France during qualifying, but were relatively comfortable against everyone else and have hit four goals in three of their four warm-up fixtures.

Poland, in contrast, only staggered into the competition courtesy of a penalty shootout play-off win over Wales and appear a side devoid of creativity. Likely to set out to frustrate the Netherlands and be starved of possession for long periods, it’s hard to see Poland getting much out of this unless Robert Lewandowski pulls a rabbit out of a hat.

We wouldn’t put anyone off siding with the Dutch on the handicap, but the lack of a prolific centre-forward just puts us off. Instead, we will back the Dutch superiority in the corners market, with their wide threats and likely high possession percentage making a target of 6.5 look very realistic.

  • Recommended Bet - Netherlands, over 6.5 corners @ 29/20 with BetMGM

Serbia vs England – Sunday 16 June, 8pm

Last but not least, the game the nation has waited for, as tournament favourites England get their competition underway at the Veltins-Arena. Everything had looked rather rosy in the England camp, only for the side to throw a spanner in the works with that concerningly poor performance in defeat to Iceland. We probably shouldn’t read too much into a display in a friendly, but it was nevertheless worrying to see the defence carved open so frequently by a limited Iceland side.

Any such lapses here are likely to be severely punished, for, whilst Serbia are some way off the finished article, they can score goals, with Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic providing support to the prolific Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Unless England finds some stability in the back line, we see them conceding. Luckily for Southgate, any problems England has at the back are a mere shadow of Serbia’s - at times shambolic - defensive output. Given the wealth of attacking options within the squad, the best bet here is to back England to win an entertaining encounter.

  • Recommended Bet - England Win & Over 3.5 Goals @ 11/4 with BetGoodwin

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