Soccer Betting Articles

Euro 2004 Predictions: Handicapping Secrets Revealed

Why have we been so successful with our Euro 2004 plays? With multiple winners each day of the tournament, it’s certainly not luck. We’ll share some handicapping techniques that can make your Euro betting more

Favourites: Don’t be afraid to bet favourites. Underdogs often get more respect than they deserve in these tournaments, creating rare value in the favourites. Unlike league games, where taking faves can be a risky and losing strategy in the long term, big tournaments are friendly to the favourites. Every game counts at Euro 2004, so teams tend to play at their best. With fewer intervening factors, games become matchups of skill where the more skilled team usually wins. You might think the 2002 World Cup was an exception because of the multitude of upsets. Korea beat Italy and Spain, Senegal beat France and Sweden, USA beat Portugal, and Denmark beat France. But many of those matches had “false favourites” or teams better left alone. The opening game at Euro 2004 between Greece and Portugal was no different. Greece was the better team, but we avoided betting against Portugal because of their home advantage. Finding “false favourites” is a tricky but vital part of successful handicapping.

Unbeaten situations: Tournaments like Euro 2004 are full of appealing situations. For example, Bulgaria have not beaten Sweden since 1967. Russia play poorly away from home and have never beaten Spain or Portugal in games outside of Russia. These records are important psychological factors for many teams. Knowing they’ve never beaten their opponents, teams will come into a match lacking optimism. But since results can go back more than a century and squads can change dramatically over a few years, it’s best not to rely exclusively on
unbeaten situations when handicapping Euro 2004.

Travel: Unlike the domestic leagues, travel is a big factor in international tournaments. It’s nearly 100 degrees in Portugal. Teams from southern Europe can handle the conditions, but northerners are severely disadvantaged. Remember, most national leagues don’t play in the summer and many players are unaccustomed to hot weather soccer. Playing so close to home, a team like Spain will be much more comfortable at Euro 2004 than, say, Denmark. The oddsmakers rarely factor travel into their lines, so there’s lots of value there.

Style of play: Learn each team’s playing style. Are they defensive or offensive minded? Will they play counterattack? Will they sit on a one-goal lead or adjust their strategy after scoring? Teams will rarely change their playing style because the best way to succeed is usually to play their own game. Italy is famous for defensive soccer, while Sweden and England have been known for their attacking style. Keep in mind, however, that teams can occasionally change their playing styles. It’s most common among weaker countries without deep rosters. Croatia, for example, were a strong attacking team in 1998, but since the retirement of several star players, a lack of talent has forced them to transform into a defence-oriented squad.

Head-to-heads: A team’s playing style will either help or hurt their opponents. Weak teams will often sit back and defend, knowing they have little chance of scoring. If two teams with the same playing style meet up, the more skilled team will usually win in a landslide. In a friendly
just before Euro 2004, for example, England thrashed Iceland 6-1 because both teams played the same style. Looking at the head-to-head history between teams can reveal useful situations. Sweden are 7-2-2 all time against Bulgaria, for example, because Bulgaria’s playing style suits the Swedes. 

Over/Under situations: Every game counts at big tournaments. As a result, teams are more careful and the Under becomes a more appealing bet. The Under went 8-0 in all of Greece’s qualifying games and you can be sure that will continue at Euro 2004. Look for over/under trends for a team’s last few games. The scores can reveal a lot about a team’s playing style and talent. Filter out results against minnows like San Marino or Liechtenstein and you can establish true trends.

Roster changes: Teams only have 23 players to choose from so rosters and injuries are crucial factors. Weaker countries have very little depth, so there’s a big gap in quality between starting players and second stringers. Of course, this isn’t a factor for countries with lots of depth like France and Italy. We’ve spotted several key roster changes so far that have seriously affected teams at Euro 2004. Russia and England have serious injury problems on defence; Sweden’s attack has been supercharged with the addition of Henrik Larsson to their lineup. With players on several teams already suspended for multiple yellow cards, roster changes will remain a key part of our handicapping for the rest of this tournament.

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» Italian Soccer Prediction: Serie A Preview 2004/2005
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» 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?
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» Betting Euro 2004: The Final Four
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» Euro 2004 Predictions: Handicapping Secrets Revealed
» Euro 2004 Tips: Props - Part 1
» Euro 2004 Bets: Props - Part 2
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