The next series of Euro 2012 qualifying fixtures do not take place until late March, but betting on Euro 2012 is already impressively steady. Results remain immensely difficult to call – for example, Wales are likely to priced at odds of around 9/2 when they host England at the Millennium Stadium on 26 March, but with the likes of Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy at their disposal, this is one Euro 2012 bet likely to attract the attention of English punters too.
“Euro 2012 betting has not really taken off yet,” says one online bookmaker, “although I would obviously exclude the qualifying fixtures from this assessment. Whenever any of the UK’s home nations are playing, we witness a surge in internet betting activity. It’s one of the reasons we’re happy to distribute free bets to punters, linking them to a minimum level of expenditure on the punters’ behalf. History shows that when we do this, provided we offer consistently generous odds, bettors will keep coming back.”
So for most online bookmakers, Euro 2012 betting is not all about which side will eventually win the tournament or reach the final, but in encouraging shrewd predictors of outcomes to consider their odds of winning during the qualifying campaign too.
Not surprisingly, online Euro 2012 betting promises to be greater than that which occurred in 2008 and in 2004. Relatively speaking, the internet was in its infancy and predictions that its spread would have peaked by now appear wide of the mark.
It follows that bookmakers anticipate live Euro 2012 betting to exceed even levels achieved during the 2010 World Cup. Everyone is expected to have a bet on Euro 2012 because the teams are so familiar and the quality of play promises to be much higher than that witnessed in South Africa.
Before the final stages of the tournament get under way, there is the little matter of the qualifying competition where the standings are dominated by the usual suspects. Germany, Holland, France and Spain each head their respective groups, with only England, of the more favoured sides, not currently at the top of the standings.
“So far, results have gone as most people expected – great news for those of us who made use of our free bet,” explains one European football writer. “Nonetheless, Euro 2012 betting will mark a betting watershed. In two years time, the almost universal availability of the internet will mean that Euro 2012 odds will be updated by the minute, while actually staking a succession of Euro 2012 bets will, for most punters, become the norm.”
Euro 2012 betting odds suggest that world champions Spain, quoted at 7/2, remain the team to beat. To no-one’s surprise, Germany are the current 4/1 antepost second favourites, a price that has already attracted some very hefty Euro 2012 bets.
Elsewhere, it seems that patriotism will be the biggest driver of the Euro 2012 bet. “Given how poorly England are now performing under Fabio Capello,” observes one national newspaper football columnist, “their Euro 2012 odds of 9/1 reflect the fact that bookies anticipate a surge in the patriotic bet, assuming the Three Lions qualify, of course, rather than the fact they have any chance of winning the tournament.”
Such an observation might be cynical, but it’s undoubtedly accurate; England’s current Euro 2012 odds appear to suggest they have a chance of being crowned European champions. At present, however, Croatia’s 22/1 price, generous Euro 2012 betting odds by any measure, might offer a greater chance of returning a profit.