Our weekly review of the latest betting news, with five things for you to consider – including the chances of all four home nations appearing at Euro 2016.
1. Home Nations 6/4 to be in France
After another terrific weekend of qualifying results the four home nations are all a step closer to booking a place at the European Championship finals in France next summer. England are virtually certain of crossing the channel after their 3-2 win over Slovenia, while Wales top their group after a well-deserved 1-0 win over much fancied Belgium and are also likely to progress. The doubts surround the other two home nations. Northern Ireland are second in Group F after drawing with Romania and must beat the Faroe Islands in their next game in September if they are to avoid the play offs. Three days after that game, they face a crunch clash with third-placed Hungary at Windsor Park. Scotland look destined for the play-offs unless they can beat either Germany or Poland at home, while a slip-up in Georgia prior to those fixtures could let the Republic of Ireland back in. It promises to be an exciting qualifying campaign in the autumn, with Sky Bet offering 6/4 for all four of the teams to make the finals.
2. England cut for Euro glory
England’s thrilling win in Ljubljana has caused a run of bets on them to win next summer’s finals, with many bookmakers cutting them to 10/1 fourth favourites, although Ladbrokes are still offering 12/1. For the first time in more than 20 years, England have finished a season unbeaten and the mood is somewhat brighter than it was a week ago following a tepid draw in Ireland. World champions Germany remain the favourites at a best price of 10/3 with both Ladbrokes and BetVictor, while hosts France are available at odds of 6/1 with Ladbrokes but just 7/2 at William Hill. Holland are making hard work of qualifying, but at 16/1 with Sky Bet and Titanbet they look a much better prospect than England. Meanwhile Wales, who haven’t played at a major tournament since 1958, can be backed at 150/1 with Ladbrokes and Titanbet, which is sure to attract plenty of interest among Welsh fans after Saturday’s win over the highly regarded Belgians.
3. Nadal fires warning to doubters
A week ago we reported that Rafael Nadal’s odds to win Wimbledon had been pushed out to 16/1 following his quarter-final exit at the French Open, where he had dominated proceedings for a decade. The Spaniard has responded in the best possible style, winning his first grass court title in five years by beating Viktor Troicki in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. As a result, his Wimbledon odds are on the move once again, this time in the opposite direction with only Stan James holding firm at 16s. With Nadal now as short as 8/1 elsewhere, it’s a price which surely won’t last long.
4. Froome geared up for double repeat
Chris Froome gave the clearest indication that he is ready for a second Tour de France title by winning the Criterium de Dauphine for the second time on Sunday. The Team Sky rider won the Criterium in 2013 before going on to succeed Bradley Wiggins as the champion of the Tour and will be looking for a repeat of that double success when the 2015 Tour gets under way in three weeks’ time. Odds of 11/4 available prior to Sunday’s final stage of the Criterium are long gone and the best available odds now are 2/1 with Stan James and Coral.
5. England show improvement in defeat
New Zealand are now red-hot favourites to win the five-match ODI series against England after winning Sunday’s third game in Southampton, surpassing the hosts’ total of 302 with six balls to spare. The Kiwis, whose rip-roaring style has rubbed off on a new-look England, are a best price of just 2/9 with Stan James to clinch victory in the series, which continues at Trent Bridge on Wednesday before concluding at Chester-le-Street next Saturday. Despite trailing 2-1 after three matches, it’s not all doom and gloom for England, who have drastically altered their style since their woeful World Cup showing. Since the appointment of Andrew Strauss as the ECB’s new Director of Cricket, they have gone on the attack and have scored 300 or more in three successive ODIs for the first time. They’ll need to continue in that manner to have any chance of landing Paddy Power‘s best odds of 4/1 for a series win.