Soccer Wagering Articles

Euro 2004 Gambling: Propaholics and Rooney-Mania

Visiting England at this time of year, it is impossible not to feel the excitement surrounding Euro 2004.

Predictably, the English public think their team can go all the way. England has not won a major soccer tournament since 1966, when they won the World Cup on home soil. At every Euro or World Cup since then, England fans have had a stubborn, steely belief that their team would win it all -- regardless of how glaringly weak and unskilled a squad they fielded. (There are remarkable parallels here with Toronto Maple Leafs fans, many of whom have a near-arrogant conviction their team will always win the Stanley Cup, irrespective of the facts on the ground.
Coincidentally, the Leafs last lifted the cup in 1967 -- one year after England’s World Cup triumph). But this year the English are serious contenders. Initial worries about their defence have proven overblown, and their midfield is arguably better than any at Euro 2004. Crucially, in Wayne Rooney, England has an in-form striker who can put the ball in the net. And what if England actually wins Euro 2004? We can only speculate, but when England won the Rugby World Cup earlier this year, over 100,000 people crowded central London for the victory parade. That celebration will look like a tea party in comparison if England become European champions.

Naturally, ridiculous props abound: How many penalties will be missed? Will a hat trick be scored? How many shots will go wide of the net? Will the total goal yardage be greater than 900? For the Germany-Czech Republic game, one bookmaker offered to refund all losing bets if a
Liverpool player touched the ball last (a tempting offer  with Milan Baros and Dietmar Hamann on the field). Among the most bizarre props was one offered by an online spread betting company: How many England
players will be singing the national anthem before the game? One German retailer has even offered free televisions if the Germans win Euro 2004.

Not surprisingly, betting lines have become skewed over here in response to the huge amount of support for England. Much better odds are available online at European and other international sportsbooks. For
example, at the big British bookies England is priced at +160 to beat Portugal. Prices online and offshore average +175, with some books going as high as +200. Both Ladbrokes and William Hill have shortened their odds on England winning Euro 2004 to +450 (the average elsewhere is +500). They offer +175 on Wayne Rooney being the tournament’s leading scorer, when most sportsbooks price him at least +225.

Rooney-Mania is upon us. Since 18-year-old England striker Wayne Rooney scored four goals in three games, the English media have spoken of little else. Grand declarations like ‘the next Pele’ or monikers such as
‘Roonaldo’ have filled the air this week. The Everton forward picked up more yellow cards than goals this season in the Premiership, yet pundits have been gushing about the ‘Man-calf’ or ‘Baby Elephant’ nonetheless.
Smelling an opportunity, Everton have offered to unload Rooney for a record $90 million transfer fee. No prizes for guessing which club is most interested. Yes, the bottomless pockets of Roman Abramovich are at work again. Odds on Rooney going to Chelsea have been cut from +200 to +150. Bookies are sweating a potentially disastrous Euro 2004 for their bottom line. According to Ladbrokes, ‘The consequences of England winning Euro 2004 will be an astronomical multimillion pound payout and result in the worst summer for bookmakers in history.’ British books breathed a heavy sigh of relief when Rooney failed to score first against Croatia. They are still worried about the big-priced, but ever-popular, David Beckham scoring against Portugal.

Despite famously missing a penalty against France, Beckham remains the darling of England supporters. Several pundits have criticized the England captain’s lack of goal-scoring form. Others have questioned his
leadership abilities. But the criticism is largely groundless because Beckham has had a fine tournament. As a natural playmaker, he’s created plenty of chances for England’s strikers and he’s moving the ball purposefully through midfield. Many seem to forget that Beckham isn’t
much of goal scorer -- except in set pieces, of course. As you might expect, Beckham props are thick on the ground over here: Will Beckham score a free kick? Will Beckham miss another penalty? Will Beckham remain on the pitch for a full 90 minutes? One bookie will refund all losing bets on the England-Portugal game if Beckham is caught offside more than once.

Are such wagers worthwhile for the professional bettor? Sometimes. But most props exist simply to tempt the casual player.

Tempting indeed.

Other Articles About Soccer Betting:

» Soccer Wagering: Point Spread or Money Line?
» UEFA Champions League Prediction: Group Stage
» World Cup Qualifiers 2006: European Zone
» Carling Cup Prediction: Second Round Preview
» Italian Soccer Prediction: Serie A Preview 2004/2005
» French Soccer Prediction: Singing Les Bleus
» Spanish Soccer Prediction: Primera Liga Preview 2004
» German Soccer Prediction: Bundesliga Preview 2004
» English Premier League Prediction 2004/2005
» Olympics Soccer: Redemption Time
» Copa America Prediction: Samba or Last Tango in Peru?
» Asian Cup Prediction: Here We Go Again
» Copa America Betting: At the Copa...
» Betting Euro 2004: The Final Four
» Euro 2004 Gambling: Propaholics and Rooney-Mania
» Euro 2004 Predictions: Handicapping Secrets Revealed
» Euro 2004 Tips: Props - Part 1
» Euro 2004 Bets: Props - Part 2
» International Friendlies: How to Cash In
» Road Dogs and Big Profits: How to Find Both
» Uefa Champions League Betting Tips: The Final Four
» Man Utd v Arsenal Prediction: Clash of the Titans
» Premiership Predictions: EPL Roundup
» UK Bookmakers: Where the Action Is
» Legal Betting: A Gambler's Paradise
» Cup Competitions: Where the Money is
» Profit from Home Field Advantage

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