Euro 2016 set to be the largest betting event in history

Bookies are offering punters more markets than ever before for tournament in France

Paul Newman, playing the character 'Fast' Eddie Felson in the film The Colour of Money, ventures that: "money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

Those that like a wager or two might empathise and there'll certainly be plenty of those willing to invest financially in their opinions during the forthcoming Euro 2016 Championships that begin on Friday night when the tournament hosts, France, entertain Romania in Paris, the first of 51 matches before the champions are known.

The number of markets available to the punter is staggering. Boylesports, for example, offer 90 pre match markets for each game at Euro 2016 from the orthodox, outright winner, top goalscorer down to the more nuanced as spokesperson Leon Blanche explained: "The main market we offer that most of our competitors don't, is the assists market.

“We offer top tournament assister outright and then offer each player to assist a goal in the individual matches. These markets tend to attract a lot of interest. Customers like to bet on which player will set up the goal as well as which player will score the goal. We are expecting to turnover €30million on Euro 2016.


“Our worst losers on the outright market are England and Spain. Many of our customers know all the players who play in the Premier League and therefore will know their abilities and England have come in from 12/1 from 8/1. Similarly with Spain, everybody knows who plays for Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid. Spain are 5/1 second favourites and have been backed solidly for the past month. Ireland has seen some patriotic support and because they are 150/1 they too pose a liability.”

The spread betting categories, like goal yardage for the tournament is strictly for the hardcore punter. A listed spread in this market is 1490-1520 yards with investors able to either buy or sell whether they believe that the combined yardage for the total number of goals scored in Euro 2016 will be less or more than the figures quoted. There is even a tournament market for goal minutes (6415-6515). for goodness sake.

Examining a number of Republic of Ireland centric bets, if you think they’re likely to be eliminated on penalties, a price of 14/1 is available, if you think they will progress further than England, Wales or Northern Ireland the bookies will offer you 10/1, while if you believe that Martin O’Neill’s men will score fewer goals than any other team in the tournament, they’re available at 12/1.

There are numerous markets devoted solely to the Republic of Ireland team, one of which is the number of goals they’ll score during their time in France. Ladbrokes quote 23/10 (none or one), 13/10 (two or three), 16/5 (four or five), 15/2 (six or seven) and finally 14/1 (eight or more).

Paddy Power Betfair spokesperson Felim Mac an Iomaire estimates that “€150 million will be spent with Irish bookies during the tournament and that Euro 2016 would be the largest betting event in history trumping World Cup 2014 due to more “home nations” being involved and games being aired at suitable times.”

He added: “Ireland v Sweden is expected to be the most bet on Irish fixture in history with €6.5m expected to be wagered by Irish punters, more than twice what was staked on the All-Ireland football final. At peak times we’ll expect to take 3,000 bets per minute online.”

He also explained that roughly 20 per cent of stakes placed on individual games are done so in running and for those that lose their nerve they offer a ‘cash out’ option.

Ladbrokes Hayley O’Connor outlined: “What we can say for certain is that it (Euro 2016) will be massive, surpassing Cheltenham, which is traditionally our biggest week of the year and it will be even bigger than the 2014 World Cup in Brazil or Euro 2012.

“Our biggest loser is currently Northern Ireland, on whom we’ve already accrued a £1 million pound payout throughout our estate. Lots of punters are looking for a Leicester City fairytale flutter, a low stake bet with massive returns, and it seems they think Northern Ireland fits the bill. One customer has placed €200 on them at 500/1, with €100,000 potential returns. England and Germany would be the next biggest losers in our book.

“We will have our biggest number of markets on offer ever. Approximately 120 markets will be available per match before kickoff. The outcome that punters back the least is a draw, perhaps because there’s not much excitement in cheering one on. They might this time round though because we’re giving money back as a free bet on all Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales matches if the match ends in a draw.”

Euro 2016 betting guide:

Paddy Power Specials:

8/1 England and Ireland to meet in the knockout stages

5/6 Bale to outscore the rest of the Welsh side

8/1 James McClean to be yellow carded with 20 mins of his first appearance

5/1 Ireland to lose all three games

Evens Paul Pogba to score outside the box

3/1 Cristiano Ronaldo to score a free kick *does not include penalties

6/4 Cristiano Ronaldo to remove his shirt *during the course of a game (not after match has been completed)

150/1 Will Griggs to score in every game

100/1 French team to go on strike -1 *resulting in NOT playing a game

First team to be referred to as “Dark Horses” on BBC:

2/1 Northern Ireland

5/2 Rep of Ireland

7/2 Wales

10/1 Albania

10/1 Iceland

14/1 Ukraine

20/1 Hungary

25/1 Romania

25/1 Slovakia

25/1 Czech Republic

25/1 Turkey

Bets that will be a kick in the chops for Paddy Power:

1 England to win the Euros 8/1

2 Belgium to win the Euros 11/1

3 France to win the Euros 7/2

4 Germany to win the Euros 7/2

5 Jamie Vardy Top goalscorer 33/1

6 Italy to win the Euros 16/1

Boylesports (Republic of Ireland Specials):

Win all 3 Group Games 50/1 Lose all 3 Group Games 5/1

Draw all 3 Group Games 33/1 Score in all 3 Group Games 7/2

Concede in all 3 Group Games Evens Not to Win a Group Game 4/6

Not to Lose a Group Game 5/1 Lose a Penalty Shootout 12/1

Win a Penalty Shootout 12/1

Total Own goals in the tournament

1/2 under 3.5 6/4 over 3.5

Headed goals in the tournament

11/10 under 24.5 4/6 over 24.5

Ladbrokes Special

Roy Keane has been quite passionate and unfiltered about the team in the lead up, so with the chances of him heating up on the sidelines, they’ve priced him at 25/1 to be sent off during a match. For either him or Martin O’Neill to be sent off during a match it would be a 16/1 shot.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer