Euro 2016 betting: Star power to send Wales into quarter-finals

Updated: June 25, 2016

Today’s featured Euro 2016 round of 16 betting preview: Wales v Northern Ireland; Parc des Princes, Paris, France; Sunday, June 26, 2am



The group stage of the Euro 2016 finals has ended with the field cut from 24 to 16 – the eight teams heading home are Albania, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Czech Republic, Sweden and Austria. Round of 16 action kicks off tonight with three games scheduled, and we’re heading to the capital and the home of PSG where Wales and Northern Ireland clash in one of the most anticipated Home Nations’ match-ups in recent memory.

It’s the first time they’ve met in the knockout stages of a major tournament and the first appearance of either nation in the knockout rounds of a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup. Wales start favourites after a performance against Russia that was lauded as one of the finest in their history. Gareth Bale scored again in that game, becoming the first player since Milan Baros and Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004 to score in all three group games.

He’s also the first player since Thomas Hassler in 1992 to score two goals from free kicks in a single Euro finals. Manager Chris Coleman has to make a decision between Sam Vokes, Jonny Williams and Hal Robson-Kanu to partner Bale up front. Vokes and defender Ben Davies are a yellow card away from suspension. Wales had 22 shots on target in the group stage – more than any other team – and they were the joint-top scorers in the group stages along with Hungary (six goals).



Northern Ireland’s progress to the round of 16 wasn’t quite as straightforward as that of the Welsh. After the group stage, Michael O’Neill’s side finished worst for time of possession (28 per cent), total shots (17), successful passes made (416) and passing accuracy in the front third (42 per cent), yet they stand poised 90 minutes from a quarter-final against Hungary or Belgium. They could again be heavily reliant on goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

He was given a standing ovation after a man-of-the-match display against Germany that inspired comparisons to the great Pat Jennings. His saves helped his side protect a goal difference that ultimately meant they qualified as one of the four best third-place finishers. O’Neill can pick the same team that played against Ukraine and Germany with no injury concerns while another yellow card for Craig Cathcart, Stuart Dallas, Jonny Evans or Jamie Ward would sideline them for a potential quarter-final.

Northern Ireland are without a victory in eight matches against Wales (D4, L4). Their most recent victory was in May 1980 (1-0 in Cardiff, goal by Noel Brotherston). They haven’t conceded more than one goal in their past 16 internationals, since they lost 2-0 to Romania in November 2014 and have lost just two of their past 15 overall. But, concerningly, they had a total of just four shots (one on target) in their two games against Germany and Poland.


Today’s other round of 16 games

Switzerland v Poland; Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne, France; Saturday, June 25, 11pm
Croatia v Portugal; Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France; Sunday, June 26, 5am



Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Wales WIN v Northern Ireland (one unit @ $2.00) – all credit to Northern Ireland but the presence of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay provides Wales with genuine star power. Our numbers have Wales priced closer to $1.70 making them a decent value pick here.

Croatia v Portugal BTS (one unit @ $2.20) – Portugal failed to beat Iceland, Austria and Hungary in the group stages and scraped through to the last 16 in third place while Croatia beat Spain 2-1 without two of their star players. Smells like a 1-1 game but both teams to score.


Most recent results: 2-0, +2.35 units; overall finals record: 16-9, +19.57 units; qualifying record: 34-10-26, +13.40 units

Iceland DNB v Austria (one unit @ $2.50) WIN (2-1)
Sweden v Belgium WIN (one unit @ $1.85) WIN (0-1)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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