Euro 2012 Betting Predictions: Czech Republic vs. Portugal Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 6/20/2012
The first quarterfinal of the tournament will be played on Thursday, June 21, at 2:45 p.m. ET in Warsaw, Poland. Czech Republic played their opening games in Poland, but not in Warsaw. Portugal qualified in Ukraine, so there will be more of an adjustment required for them.
Bovada has installed Portugal as the solid favorite here. They are at -150 on the moneyline, with the draw at +265 and Czech Republic at +450. On the point spread Portugal is favored at -1(+140) with the underdog at +1(-180). The total is set at 2.5, with the ‘under’ drawing the bulk of the early attention at -130. The ‘over’ pays even money at this point.
How they got here
Portugal might be favored, but Czech Republic actually comes into this game as the higher seed after winning Group A. they didn’t win the group so much as they were the most impressive of a very unimpressive group. They opened up their tournament with an absolutely awful 4-1 loss to Russia. They showed no spark in that game, but were able to rebound next time out and come out 2-1 in a terrible game against Greece. In their third game they needed to beat host Poland to move on, and that’s just what they did — though their 1-0 win wasn’t exactly overwhelming, either. In short, they got here because of their draw, and it’s hard to imagine that they would have advanced out of any other group — never mind being the winner of any other group.
Portugal faced the challenge of the ‘Group of Death,’ and despite being the third choice in the group in pre-tournament betting they finished in second to advance. In their opener they gave Germany the biggest test they faced in the tournament, but they couldn’t answer Mario Gomez’ offense, and came out behind 1-0. Their second game against Denmark was a must-win, and they almost didn’t. In a seesaw affair they opened up a 2-0 lead, gave those two goals back, and then scored in the closing minutes to take the lead for good. They showed good heart at the end, but their focus was missing in action through the middle of the contest. They fell behind early in their contest against the Dutch in their deciding game, but Cristiano Ronaldo took the team on his shoulders and played his best international tournament game in years to score both goals in a 2-1 win. It wasn’t the strongest performance of the tournament, but Portugal did what they needed to do and showed some real determination.
Czech Republic has enjoyed some surprising chemistry and offensive prowess from two unlikely sources in this one. Wing Vaclav Pilar is only 23 and made his international debut only a year ago. He had only one goal in international play before this tournament, but he has two here. Midfielder Petr Jiracek is three years older, but his international debut came only in September. He also had one international goal before this tournament, and also has two here. Those two have guided and inspired this team so far.
For Portugal you don’t have to look past their captain — especially when that captain is arguably the top player in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo has struggled to assert himself internationally at times, but his last game against Netherlands was incredibly impressive. It was just what he could need to inspire himself to better play going forward.
As good as Pilar and Jiracek have been so far, it’s far from a good thing when players that raw are leading the way for the team. The Czechs lack a lot of top-end talent, but there are other guys who they should be relying upon before those two. Neither player has faced anything close to a test like a Euro quarterfinal, and it’s tough to trust them here.
Portugal has a very significant edge here, but they have yet to play a full 90 minutes in this tournament. In their two wins they have gotten in trouble but have relied on their superior speed and creativity to come out on top. While they have those advantages here as well it is dangerous to continually make things harder than they need to be. They especially need to work on focus here when it would be easy to take this game for granted.
Betting Predictions and Picks
I could try and make this game sound more interesting than it is. The fact is that Portugal has a big edge with the ball and without it, and there is no reason they shouldn’t come out on top, I look for them to win comfortably, and would look to the point spread to offer the best potential return. They have gone over this total in two of their three games, so given the better price on the over here I would be tempted by that as well, though it’s not nearly as attractive as the point spread.
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