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Three bets you should place before the start of Euro 2020

Three bets you should place before the start of Euro 2020
© Reuters
With the start of Euro 2020 now less than two weeks away, which bets should punters be placing before the beginning of the 24-nation tournament?

After a relentless season of non-stop football, players at every club would have undoubtedly preferred a lengthy break from matters on the pitch, but the rescheduling of Euro 2020 and the subsequent warm-up friendlies means that fixtures will continue to be played over the coming weeks. The likes of France, England and Belgium are regarded as the favourites to lift the trophy in July, although that is something which cannot be predicted with some of their players having played far more football than others. Punters should take many things into consideration when selecting their pre-tournament bets, but there are some selections which make perfect sense.

Just like punters can benefit from using a bet payout calculator, they have every chance of reaping the rewards if they are willing to take a risk on Italy. For a team who have not lost since 2018 to be priced between 8/1 and 11/1 is complete madness, particularly when they have been provided with one of the easier groups and a number of home fixtures. If anything, the threat of complacency is the biggest issue in the Azzurri camp, but Roberto Mancini is currently getting the most out of a talented group of players. Goals against the better teams may not be free-flowing, but this is tournament football and the Italian mentality has upset the betting odds on several occasions in the past.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring against Wales on March 24, 2021© Reuters

As we have mentioned, goals are not always the strong point of Italy, leaving punters with the easy decision to look elsewhere for their tournament top goalscorer. Several world-class forwards offer more value than our selection, such as returning France striker Karim Benzema at 16/1, but there is more chance of a return by opting for Romelu Lukaku. On the back of a 30-goal season with Inter Milan, the 28-year-old is combining trying to win his nation's first-ever major honours with keeping himself in the shop window ahead of a likely move away from San Siro, and we think the powerhouse will relish that scenario.

Like with Italy, Belgium have been provided with a favourable group, facing fixtures against Denmark, Russia and Finland. Although there is every chance that Lukaku could be rested for one of that triple-header, he should still rack up the goals in the others ahead of a run to the latter stages of the competition. Lukaku may only be priced at 7/1, but you cannot back against him scoring at least six goals throughout the tournament.

Switching our attention back to Italy, and one of Mancini's side is an outside candidate to claim the Best Young Player award. Nicolo Barella has established himself as the key man in Inter's midfield, chipping in with three goals and seven assists in Serie A this season. Having progressed through every level of the Italian youth system, Barella now has 22 senior caps to his name, and he is a trusted member of Mancini's preferred starting lineup. If Italy manage to win Euro 2020, Barella will have played a full part in their success, so it is worth taking a risk at betting odds of 33/1.

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Italy's Domenico Berardi celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 25, 2021
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Italy Euro 2020 preview - prediction, fixtures, squad, star player
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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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