Finally, Euro 2012 is here and it kicks off in Warsaw, where Poland will take on Greece in front of a crowd that is sure to have the National Stadium deafening. Between that home crowd and the brilliance of Robert Lewandowski, the Poles have the bookies firmly on their side.
Lines: Poland, -1/2 (+100). Greece, +1/2 (-120).
Odds: Poland, +100. Greece, +300. Draw, +220.
Over/Under: Over 2 (+120). Under 2 (-140)
Determining just how much the home field and crowd is worth is always difficult. In Euro 2008, Switzerland played in the opening match before an adoring crowd and still lost in Basel. Austria didn't fare much better, losing their opening match a day later in VIenna.
Bookies often overvalue home field and this is another case of that. Poland are the smart pick, especially because they will have the best player on the pitch in Lewandowski, and at +100, it's not a bad pick at all. The +220 on the draw isn't a terrible bet either if you are really scared of Greece slowing the match down to an intolerable pace and seeing out a scoreless draw, but that doesn't quite account for Lewandowski. Betting on the best player against an average at best team is never a bad idea. Even so, betting on a Greece draw is a better idea.
With Greece's defensive style and the lack of goals in tournament openers, the under looks a lot more likely than the over. Sotiris Ninis and Georgios Samaras both like to cut in so the middle will be crowded and the match will be played at a snail's pace. In the last two Euros, goals have also been down by a half-goal in the opening round of matches so it looks to be short on goals, but -140 isn't a great number. As tempting as the under is, and it's not a bad bet, the payout isn't anything to write home about so maybe passing on the bet is smarter.