The final standings of Group B will be decided today at Euro 2016 as England faces Slovakia and Russia takes on Wales.
Both games will begin at 4 p.m. eastern time to avoid any of the teams having an advantage in knowing what result they need before they take the field.
Slovakia/England will be televised on TSN 1 and 3, while you can find Russia/Wales on TSN 4 and 5.
Here are the odds for today’s games at Pinnacle sportsbook as of Monday morning:
England pays nearly even odds (risk $112 to win $100) to win the game, while the draw pays better than double your money. A Slovakia upset would pay $455 for every $100 you risked.
The Russia/Wales matchup is much more even. Each team pays nearly 2:1 to win, and the draw pays slightly better than that. If you fear a tie, you could bet either team on the handicap (+0 goals) at nearly even odds, and if the teams draw you’d get your money back.
The Over/Under in each game is set at 2, with nearly identical odds on Over and Under.
Here’s what else you need to know before you bet on today’s matches:
What’s On The Line?
Entering today’s games, England leads Group B with 4 points, while Slovakia and Wales each have 3 points. Russia sits fourth with 1 point.
The England/Slovakia game appears more important to the Slovaks, who would guarantee themselves a second-round berth with a win. England is probably already through to Round 2, though a victory would lock up first place in Group B and an easier first game in the knockout phase.
Russia needs a victory to avoid elimination, so we can expect them to be more aggressive this afternoon knowing a draw doesn’t do them any good. Wales would be happy with a tie and seems more likely to be conservative.
Use Pinnacle or Bet365 If You’re Betting On England
The England/Slovakia game is a classic example of how sportsbooks often offer different odds.
As of this morning, an England victory over Slovakia paid -112 at Pinnacle and -118 at Bet365. Meanwhile, Sports Interaction listed England at -150 and Bodog had England as an even bigger favourite, paying -165.
Sports Interaction and Bodog are recreational sportsbooks that often give poorer odds on public favourites (like England), knowing that most of their clients will bet on England at any price.
Meanwhile, Pinnacle and Bet365 cater to more international and advanced clientele who will bet on anybody if the price is right, so they need to offer ‘truer’ odds on all events.
We’re not suggesting that you avoid Sports Interaction and Bodog, by the way. The tradeoff of getting worse odds on the favourite is that you can get better odds on the underdog.
For example, the Draw in England/Slovakia pays a whopping +270 today at Bodog, compared to +219 at Pinnacle.
Tons of pressure on Russia
Russia is scheduled to host the World Cup in 2018, so failing to advance past the opening round of Euro 2016 would be classified as a huge disappointment.
“The attitude of the whole country to the upcoming tournament on home soil will be different. Therefore, the game against Wales is of immense importance. It might decide the future of the coach and numerous players,” Michael Yokhin wrote for ESPN.com.
If Russia can’t take a lead in the first half, they’ll feel more and more pressure as the game goes along, so expect them to play with desperation early. Bet365 lists Russia at +240 odds to lead the game at halftime.
Our Euro 2016 Predictions
England 1, Slovakia 1 would be a result that both teams would probably be content with. England never seems to make things go easy for itself, and we don’t see it happening today either.
Wales 2, Russia 1. Russia needs victory, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get it. We can see the Russians struggling under the pressure and getting more aggressive in the second half needing to win the game and Wales capitalizing.