With little fanfare or hype, this week bookmakers priced England at 5/1 joint-favourites (alongside France) to win this summer’s rescheduled UEFA Euro 2020 Championships.
The perennial underachievers in major football tournaments, England is recognised as ‘the gift that keeps on giving for bookmakers’ by allowing them to cash-in on a summer of patriotic bettors chasing that ‘Three Lions glory’.
Though much improved, England’s pricing as favourites has baffled football fans, raising questions over whether trading teams are really taking England’s Euro Championship credentials seriously.
“There’s a multitude of reasons why England might be short for this year’s Euros. You look at the starting XI and there’s some promising, exciting talent there,” Paddy Power’s Mischief Maker Amy Jones told SBC.
“Based on that alone, does it make sense as to why our traders have put the Three Lions as the favourites? I can’t speak for them… but I’d say no.”
Yet, with less than two months to go before the Euros kicks off, Jones confirmed that Paddy Power has been inundated by England bets.
“That’s fairly common with an England team at a major event like the Euros… but it’s very frenzied this time around,” Jones remarked.
“It could also be that we’re hankering for a summer like 2018 – full of sun, Love Island, open pubs and hope that we might go far. It’s the hope that kills you, in my experience.”
Despite being England’s shortest price ever ahead of a major football tournament, the odds can’t be put down to a faulty algorithm that has to factor in the team’s actual form against fans expectations, media hype and a deep yearning for glory.
Bookmakers are aware of previous form and history, but this England team has shown consistency in matches, having maintained its winning streak as its historic rivals have floundered.
“There is also a feeling that this tournament coming a year later really suits the current crop of players Gareth Southgate has at his disposal,” commented Coral PR man Harry Aitkenhead.
“When you look at the last four years of international football, England have shown themselves to be a strong force. Coupled with Germany, perennial winners, in all sorts of bother at the moment, an out of sorts Dutch team as well as some other big names struggling for consistency it is absolutely certain that England are leading contenders and in a better position than most to go and finally win something.”
But what about a ‘return to normality’, the phrase that has dogged the nation for the past year and a half… are bookmakers now really fearing their beloved England bets?
“On the subject of patriotic bets, we even had a punter recently request odds and place a bet on England winning the Euros this summer, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and then the next European Championships on top of that,” Aitkenhead revealed.
“Whilst at odds of 300/1 we aren’t going to be worrying too much for the foreseeable future, if that incredibly optimistic premonition from that punter did come true we will definitely have paid out on a lot of winning bets!”
Well then, If history does repeat itself and England underperform at the Euros, surely bookmakers are to blame for jinxing these young lions?
“I work at very Irish bookies, I’m going to say no. England are more than capable of jinxing themselves without any help for us,” Jones said.
“Though they wouldn’t and aren’t the team I’m backing for the World Cup this year (sorry, unpatriotic of me, I know) I can well see why so many people are behind them….well, kind of…”