Goalmouth Scramble 2012

Analysis and comment on the 2012 European Championships

Goalmouth Scramble 2012: May the odds be with you

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When the European Championship kicks off in Poland on Saturday a lot of people will be making a lot of money.

UEFA will earn commercial revenues of at least $2.1 billion from the tournament, players will be earning gargantuan sums for representing their countries and pub owners all around the world will benefit from the thirst-quenching pull of the third largest sporting event in the world.

But how can I profit from this glorious two weeks of football? I hear you ask.

Worry not, for the top minds of Goalmouth Scramble have compiled the hottest pre-tournament betting tips so that you too can make this tournament a profitable one.*

* Warning our betting form is similar to England's at major tournaments.

GOLDEN BOOT

David Villa won the golden boot in 2008 with four goals, three of which came in one game against Russia. While the Spaniard will not be competing at this year's championships due to injury his exploits last time taught us a valuable golden boot betting lesson - pick a good striker who will play against a rubbish team.

While this year's field is full of tough groups and capable teams, we can still find some anomalies to cash in on.

Here are our top three picks:

Robert Lewandowski (Poland) Odds: $25
Lewandowski is one of Europe's top strikers and will be playing in front of his home crowd in the weakest group of the tournament. The Borussia Dortmund striker was named the Bundesliga player of the season for 2011/12 and scored 22 goals in the campaign. Even if Poland don't progress far in the tournament, I would back Lewandowski to knock in a few against Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic.

Robin Van Persie (Holland) Odds: $10
The golden boot of the English Premier League, Van Persie is the competions in-form striker playing for one of the most dangerous attacking teams in the tournament. If Van Persie manages to fight off competition from teammate KJ Huntelaar for a starting spot he is guaranteed to give you some bang for your buck.

Karim Benzema (France) Odds: $16
Karim Benzema will lead the line for France against Sweden, Croatia and a weak English side in pool play. The Real Madrid striker will thrive off supply from the talented midfield trio of Samir Nasri, Florent Malouda and Frank Ribery and will bang them in with the style and grace he does so reguarly in La Liga.

PICK THE FINALIST
Our pick: Spain Holland - Odds $12

World Cup winners Spain are the undisputed favourites to defend their European Championship title in Poland. It's impossible to look past a team which features Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres and Sergios Ramos. They are littered with talent and will likely blitz the group stage and surge forward toward the final. The question is who will they face.

Whoever wins Group B's 'pool of death' is the most likely candidate as they will avoid the Spaniards in the semi-final.

While good cases could be made for Germany - who are always tough to beat in big tournaments - and Portugal - who possess the threat of one of the greatest players of all time - we have picked Holland as the team who will triumph above the rest.

Wesley Sneijder will pull the strings in midfield supplying a front three including Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and KJ Huntelaar - easily the most potent attack in the tournament.

At odds of 12-1 we are confident of a repeat of the last World Cup final.

GROUP WITH MOST GOALS:
Our pick: Group A - Odds $5.25

If Group B is the pool of death, then Group A is the pool of life. Goal scoring life. With weaker defences and less expectation, $5.25 odds are as good as you will find.

The teams in Group B will be able to play with the gay abandon and worriless flair that other teams cannot (I'm looking at you England) and proven goal scorers Lewandowski, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Milan Baros will have no trouble knocking them in.

Odds:
Group A (Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic) Odds: $5.25
Group B (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal) Odds: $2.75
Group C (Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Croatia) Odds: $3.25
Group D (Ukraine, Sweden, France, England) Odds $3.75

TOTAL TOURNAMENT CORNERS
Our pick: 310 corners and under - Odds: $2.70

For the train spotters among us, corner counting could turn into a profitable past time during the tournament.

In the 2008 competition there were 313 corner kicks in 31 matches while in 2004 there were 362 over the same amount.

So what creates a high corner count? One sided affairs. In 2004 Spain and Portugal led the corner count averaging nine corners a game and the majority of them came when they were camped for long spells in the opposition third.

With lots of close matchups and an unforgiving 'pool of death' we pick the 310 and under option, or less than 10 per match on average.

Odds:
310 corners and under Odds: $2.70
Between 311 and 324 Odds $2.75
325 Corners and over Odds $2.70

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