On to part three of our annual preview, we at Compare Betting Sites continue are preview at the business end of the club football season. We start by offering odds and insight into this season’s UEFA Champions League final before moving on to an action-packed summer of sport.
Champions League final
Such is the dominance of Europe’s big five domestic leagues, all 16 remaining participants in the Champions League ply their trade in either England, Spain, Italy, France or Germany. The English Premier League provided both finalists last season as Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid. Premier League leaders, Liverpool, are heavily fancied again this year and at 9/2 they could prove excellent value with most bookmakers.
Manchester City’s hierarchy have made no secret of the fact that conquering Europe remains their priority and with their reign as champions of England all-but-over, Pep Guardiola could opt to rest his big guns for all future European ties. At 4/1 they are the bookies’ favourites to claim a first major European title since winning the 1969/70 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
Real Madrid’s odds of winning a 14th European title drifted to 16/1 after being drawn against Manchester City in the last-16 but an upturn in domestic form for Madrid suggests that City’s progression is far from certain. Real Madrid’s fierce domestic rivals, Barcelona, remain a solid 7/1 shot whilst Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich (both 7/1) and Juventus (12/1) have all attracted plenty of interest.
Keeping with tradition, June kicks off with one of the oldest and most prestigious horse races in the British horse racing calendar; the Epsom Derby. First run in 1780, the Derby is one of the five British Classics and the second leg of a Triple Crown that also includes the 2000 Guineas and St Leger. The Investec Derby is also the richest race on the British calendar, boasting a multi-million-pound prize pot.
Last year’s race gave trainer, Aidan O’Brien, a record-equalling seventh Derby win with Anthony Van Dyck. O’Brien will be confident of claiming Derby win number eight in 2020 with 14/1 shot, Mogul but Pinatubo remains a strong favourite with most bookmakers.
The Charlie Appleby-trained, Pinatubo, ended 2019 with back-to-back Group 1 wins at the Curragh and Newmarket, stretching his winning streak to six races. Pinatubo has never run over longer than seven furlongs but will step up to one mile for the year’s first Classic, the 2000 Guineas. If he’s comfortable over that extra furlong then another step up to 1m2f in the Derby is not an unrealistic ask.
Pinatubo is currently available at 7/1 with most bookmakers for the Derby but if he justifies favouritism in May’s 2000 Guineas, we can expect that price to be slashed.
European Championships begin
The revamped European Championships get underway in June as Europe’s top 24 international sides battle it out for the Henri Delaunay Trophy. After an impressive qualifying campaign and a favourable group stage draw, England have been installed as the bookies’ favourites to win Euro 2020. The Three Lions eased through their qualification group, scoring 37 goals in their eight matches and Gareth Southgate’s side will hope to build on the successes of their junior sides.
The one concern facing England is a potential striker shortage. Both Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are currently absent through injury and face a race to be fit for the Euros. There have been calls for Jamie Vardy to complete a retirement U-turn and lead the line for England whilst Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham are impressing in the Premier League.
2018 World Cup winners, France, previously led the betting market, however, they’ve been drawn in Group F, dubbed ‘the group of death’. Group F features the winners of each of the last three major international tournaments contested by European nations with France drawn alongside Euro 2016 winners, Portugal, and 2014 world champions, Germany. After the draw was made the odds of winning drifted for all three nations. France are now 6/1 and Germany are 9/1. At 20/1, the odds suggest holders, Portugal, will be the major casualty at the group stage.
Belgium were sensationally beaten by Wales in the quarter-finals four years ago but at 5/1, they are expected to go close to winning a first major tournament. Romelu Lukaku looks back to his best at Inter Milan whilst in Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, the Belgians have two of Europe’s best players.
The major movers in the betting market are the Netherlands. The 1988 winners have failed to qualify for back-to-back tournaments, sitting out both Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup but success in the inaugural UEFA Nations League has elevated them back into Euro 2020 contention. Their return to Europe’s top table has been built on the solid central defensive partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt. In qualification, the Dutch conceded just seven goals in eight games with five of those coming in their two clashes with Germany.
The outright winner market is not the only popular ante-post market ahead of the European Championships, the Golden Boot odds will also gain plenty of interest. BetVictor is the best place to visit for a bet on the top goalscorer, offering the best odds on most of the leading players.
England captain and 2018 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner, Harry Kane, is BetVictor’s 6/1 favourite to top the Euro 2020 goal scoring charts. Next in the market is a trio of ex-Manchester United players, including Cristiano Ronaldo (10/1), Romelu Lukaku (12/1) and Memphis Depay (14/1).
There are two Frenchman next in the betting with both Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann available at 14/1. If the world champions weren’t drawn in such as tough group, we’d expect both players to command a much shorter price. The same applies to German pair, Timo Werner (16/1) and Serge Gnabry (20/1).
Royal Ascot has become a prestigious event for race-goers with who’s attending and what they’re wearing almost as important as the sporting spectacle itself. However, for hardened horse racing fans, the five-day festival remains one of the highlights of the British racing calendar. There are eight Group 1 races across the week with at least one taking place each day.
Traditionally held from Tuesday to Saturday in the third week of June, the Royal meeting gets underway with three Group 1s on June 16th. The week’s first race is the Queen Anne Stakes has held Group 1 status since 2003 and was won in 2019 by the Danny Tudhope-trained, Lord Glitters.
Next up is the Coventry Stakes, a Group 2 race for two-year-olds, before we make an immediate return to Group 1 action in the King’s Stand Stakes. Sprint sensation, Blue Point, won this race in both 2018 and 2019 but has since retired so we’re set to see a new name on the trophy in 2020.
The final Group 1 race of day one is the St James’s Palace Stakes. Open to three-year-old colts and run over 7f, past winners of this near-200-year old race include Rock of Gibraltar, Frankel and Gleneagles. Last year’s winner, Circus Maximus, gave trainer, Aidan O’Brien a record eighth win.
The feature race on day two is another Group 1; the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, claimed his second win in a row in 2019 with Crystal Ocean matching the achievements of 2018 winner, Poet’s Word.
The Gold Cup is the big race on Ladies’ Day and this year’s renewal will feature one of the biggest stars of the Festival; top-class stayer, Stradivarius. The John Gosden-trained superstar has won back-to-back Gold Cups and is the bookies’ favourite to emulate Yates and Sagaro by claiming a hat-trick of Gold Cup wins.
On to day four and we’ll be treated to two more Group 1 races on Friday with both the Commonwealth Cup and Coronation Stakes taking place. The Commonwealth Cup was only introduced in 2015 and was won last year by Advertise. A disappointing run back at the same course on Champions Day led to Advertise being retired. The 2019 Coronation Stakes produced a shock 20/1 winner in French filly, Watch Me.
One more Group 1 race will take place on the final day with the Diamond Jubilee Stakes set to be run over 6f. The race was won in 2019 by two-time Coventry Stakes winner, Blue Point. Royal Ascot will draw to a close on the Saturday with the longest race of the week. The Queen Alexandra Stakes is run over 2m5f, making it the longest flat race on the British race calendar.
US Open golf
The third week in June promises to be a great week for sport. By then not only will Euro 2020 be well underway, but Royal Ascot will also be occupying our days then in the evenings, we’ll be switching over to Winged Foot Golf Club in New York for the third golf Major of the year, the US Open.
Gary Woodland was the shock winner of the 2019 championship, edging out 2017 and 2018 champion, Brooks Koepka, by just three shots. But it is the latter that heads the betting market this time around. Koepka did not finish outside of the top four positions in any of the four Majors in 2019 and the American is primed to continue that rich vein of form in 2020. Koepka is 8/1 with most bookmakers to win the US Open.
The consistency of Koepka in 2019 has bucked the trend of recent years with a flurry of first-time Major winners being crowned, including Woodland last year. With this in mind, each-way bets prove extremely popular. It is always advisable to check how many places your chosen bookmakers pay out for on an each-way bet. The more places that are paid out, the greater your chances of winning.
Rugby Premiership / Pro14 final double-header
Saturday 20th June is a day of sport that cannot fail to deliver. As well as hosting the final day of Royal Ascot, the penultimate day of the US Open, Euro 2020 action featuring Spain, Portugal, France and Germany, we will also see a thrilling rugby union double-header. The finals of both the Gallagher Premiership and Pro14 take place on the same day.
In England, Saracens’ spectacular fall from grace following on from the salary cap scandal means there will be a new name on the trophy. Saracens have won four of the last five Rugby Premiership finals, including the last two however a massive points deduction means they will not defend their title.
Exeter Chiefs, winners in 2017 and losing finalists in 2016, 2018 and 2019, are now the bookies’ hot favourites to win a second title. Exeter are odds-on with most bookmakers however, for now, you can get Evens with SpreadEx. The latest odds indicate there are three other teams in with a chance of winning the Rugby Premiership final at Twickenham in June. Northampton (9/2), Sale Sharks (11/2) and Gloucester (7/1).
Across the Severn Bridge, the Pro14 final will take place on the same day at the Cardiff City Stadium. The Irish regions dominate the betting with Leinster the 11/8 favourites with Coral ahead of Munster (5/1) and Ulster (6/1). Leinster have won all ten matches so far this season whilst last season’s beaten finalists, Glasgow Warriors, are languishing fourth in Conference A after losing five of their first ten matches.
Edinburgh currently top Conference B ahead of Welsh outfit, Scarlets, however it is Munster at Evens that are the bookies’ favourites to come out on top and secure a Pro14 semi-final berth.
June’s festival of sport concludes with the start of Wimbledon. The third Grand Slam of the tennis season gets underway on June 29th with the finals set for the 11th and 12th of July. Reigning champion, Novak Djokovic, has already claimed Australian Open glory in 2020 and is the short-priced 6/4 favourite to win a sixth Wimbledon title, ahead of eight-time winner, Roger Federer (4/1) and Rafael Nadal (5/1). The best of the rest in the betting is 24-year old, Daniil Medvedev. The young Russian is seen by many as the heir apparent to the ageing ‘big three’ but he has failed to make it passed round three in two previous visits to Wimbledon. If you’re planning on backing Medvedev then it is important you check the bookies’ odds beforehand. Bookmakers seem undecided on whether the 2020 Wimbledon tournament is a year too early for Medvedev and his odds of winning vary from 7/1 to 14/1 depending on the bookmaker. Home favourite, Andy Murray, is priced at 20/1 to win a third Wimbledon title.
As usual betting for the ladies’ singles is a far more wide-open market compared to the men’s singles. Serena Williams is the bookies’ favourite to win the ladies’ title but at 7/1 she is a bigger price than each of the men’s ‘big three’. Following Williams in the betting for the ladies’ singles are 2019 champion, Simona Halep (8/1), Ashleigh Barty (9/1), Bianca Andreescu (11/1), Karolina Pliskova (12/1), Garbine Muguruza (12/1), Petra Kvitova (14/1) and Naomi Osaka (16/1).
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