TODAY I’m turning my attention to group betting and for the first time there are six sections.
The top two in each group will reach the last 16 as well as the four best third-placed sides.
Finishing top of course will hand the winners an easier last-16 draw with four of them – the sides that finish top in Group A, B, C and D – up against third-placed finishers.
In Group A I can’t see past hosts France who I’ve tipped on the outrights so let’s focus on Group B which should be one of the toughest fought between England, Wales, Russia and Slovakia.
England are short-priced favourites and should take top spot if they beat Russia in their opener. Slip up there and the pressure will be massive with Wales next up in a game that could feature more brawn than beauty.
Group C sees two teams who qualified together from Scotland’s section – Germany and Poland – paired with Ukraine and Northern Ireland.
It was one win apiece in the qualifiers and the result between the Poles and Germans could settle this group with both likely to beat the other two teams.
In Group D it should be a fight between Spain and Croatia for first place with the Czechs and Turkey trying to pick up one of those best thirds.
Group E is possibly the toughest to call with fancied Belgium, tough to beat Italy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden in there with the Republic of Ireland.
Again the Belgium v Italy result could decide this but don’t write off the Swedes.
Group F is wide open with favourites Portugal too reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo. Dark horses Austria are being backed to go well and Iceland could make a splash on their debut. Hungary could be the whipping boys though.
France to win Group A (4-11, bet365)
Albania to finish bottom (10-11, Coral)
England to win Group B (5-6, Ladbrokes)
Group C Dual Forecast Germany/Poland (11-8, Skybet)
Northern Ireland to finish bottom (4-6, Paddy Power)
Group C Highest-Scoring Group (9-2, betfair)
Group D Dual Forecast Spain/Croatia (6-4, William Hill)
Group E Rep Ireland to finish bottom (13-10, betfair)
Group F Hungary to finish bottom (1-1, bet365)
Group F Lowest-scoring group (4-1, William Hill)
1pt Euro 2016 1st Rd fivefold
France to bt Romania (Fri)
Poland to bt Nth Ireland (Sun)
Germany to bt Ukraine (Sun)
Spain to bt Czech Rep (Mon)
Austria to bt Hungary (Tues)
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