The football season is rapidly drawing to a close, after the Champions League finally won by Liverpool. However, even if Summer doesn’t offer as much options, there are some fixtures and news worth putting an eye on, if you are a betting enthusiast. Let’s dig in.
THE NATIONS LEAGUE
Here’s a new one for everyone, the Nations League. The preliminary stages of UEFAs latest attempt to make international football more competitive has already been played and this summer a winner will finally be crowned, in the final four, happening already this week in the northern cities of Portugal – Porto and Guimarães.
England face the Netherlands in one semi-final whilst host Portugal and Switzerland pair up in the other. It’s difficult to know how teams will treat the matches – it feels like a slightly glorified friendly tournament – but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see high scoring games.
The odds predict that the winner of Netherlands and England might capture the trophy in the end. However, since both teams have important players in their squads who have been in Champions League final last Saturday – Virgil Van Dijk and Wijnaldum for the Dutch; Henderson, Dele Alli and Trippier for England, maybe they won’t be fresh enough for two intense games against a fresher Swiss or Portuguese team.
AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS
For the first time ever 24 teams will take part in the African Cup of Nations; that means there are eight more teams than the format we’ve become accustomed to and that results in teams that are of supposed lesser quality. Besides, the tournament that is normally held in January has finally adapted to the European schedule, favoring the athletes who play in the ‘Old Continent’.
Playing in June instead means the players will be more focused and less worried about injuries, something which will increase the level of competition. Games featuring those lower ranked sides are reasonably safe bets and whilst odds will be reflective of that they will be nice boosters to any accumulator bets placed.
Hosts Egypt are the top picks on the betting markets and Salah will, of course, be happy to join this trophy to the Champions League won on Saturday. Meanwhile, his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane leads Senegal’s attack, the second favorite’s and rightly so. With a team that also includes the likes of Koulibaly and Keita Balde, surely it is one of the strongest in the tournament. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Nigeria also have a wide range of talents and, since they are outside of the top favorite’s pool, they might offer a good return.
Despite a couple of tournaments taking place through the summer a lot of fans will be more interested in who their teams are linked with on the rumor mill. Real Madrid are due to spend big after an appalling season – with Hazard practically a certain acquisition – and Manchester United are even more desperate for new players after finishing sixth.
There are some obvious transfers due to happen, which won’t land big bucks in your pocket but if you can predict the knock-on moves, you’ll boost your potential returns. Paying attention to the transfer season is as necessary as watching NBA or NFL draft, since it will be crucial when the season starts again, to know which teams have built a solid squad to attack their leagues and the Champions League.
Eden Hazard, as said, is due to leave Chelsea. Will they find a player to replace him? They have been issued a transfer ban by UEFA and it is still uncertain if they will be allowed to sign players. However, they secured Pulisic from Dortmund in the winter and they have lots of players on loan who can return if their appeal is overruled.
Antoine Griezmann is, allegedly heading to Barcelona, even though there might have been a last-minute fallout. If this deal actually happens, its feasible Philippe Coutinho will fall further down the pecking order – embargo dependent, could he be a replacement for Hazard? United could sneak in and send Romelu Lukaku on other direction – Inter Milan seems keen on signing the Belgian. Who will sign Pogba? Or will he stay at Old Trafford? These and many more are a few of the reasons to keep your eyes on the news.
MANAGERIAL MERRY GO ROUND
Being a football manager is one of the toughest gigs in sport nowadays with just a blip in form enough to earn you the sack; in fact, even if you win but not in the right style you can be at risk of the chop but that’s good news for people like us. If it is indeed important to look at the players signed by Europe’s top clubs, we all know how important a coach can be in this sport.
Jose Mourinho is out of work and has made it clear he wants to return this summer. Meanwhile, Genaro Gattuso has vacated his post at AC Milan and Juventus are another on the lookout, allegedly eager to hire Maurizio Sarri, after his reign at Chelsea concluded with a Europa League success. Other coaches who might be on the move are Tottenham’s Pochettino, whose campaign as a Champions League runner up, might turn into a move for the Spanish coach and rightly so.
Markets are available for next appointments and the next manager to lose their job. Will Zidane last longer in his second time leading Real Madrid from the sidelines? Will Barcelona sack Valverde before the season starts? Anyway, you might as well make something from a manager’s misery after all.
THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
Meanwhile, when the men are resting from their season, the Women are aligning for another World Cup. 2019 sees the biggest Women’s World Cup in history as the female game is receiving unprecedented amounts of press coverage.
Less is known about that form of the sport and the odds reflect this with no standout favorite; this means the stronger sides – hosts France, England and Germany – offer better value than the favourites would in the men’s tournament. The top picker by betting markets is of course USA, while Netherlands, current European champion, and Japan are also interesting bets.
If outright betting isn’t for you then get researching now and start picking out games that show potential. There are some real dark horses waiting to be backed, like Canada, Spain or talent machine Brazil.