Portugal & Austria to Top Group F

Emabis looks at Euro 2016's Group F and believes Portugal and Austria will finish ahead of Iceland and Hungary.

Advised Bets:

Portugal / Austria, Straight Forecast in Group F of Euro 2016: 1.5 Points at 11/4 with Paddy Power, Coral & Skybet.

Portugal / Austria, Dual Forecast in Group F of Euro 2016: 3.5 Points at 7/5 with Sportingbet.

There's a tendency to over-analyse ante post bets coming into a tournament; second-guessing and even third-guessing selections.  But there's a relatively straight-forward bet I like from Group F which I keep coming back to.  And here it is ... Portugal and Austria to finish above Iceland and Hungary.  Most likely in that order.  It's not a long shot at Leicester-like odds; not a highly complex statistical play only football aficionados or maths PHD's are aware of.  What it is, though, is solid ... solid based on the available evidence to date.

Those who have already read my tournament ante post piece know I tipped Portugal, each-way, at 22/1 (now best priced at 20/1 with Stan James).  Little I have seen to date alters my view that, aided by a smattering of world class players like Ronaldo, Pepe and Renato Sanches, there's plenty of scope in that price for them to progress into the tournament's latter stages from a relatively straight-forward Group.

Close behind them should follow Austria.  Although unbeaten in qualification (9 wins and 1 draw), it was a relatively easy group with Russia, Sweden, Montenegro, Liechtenstein and Moldova.  More important to me, therefore, is that Austria are more talented and experienced than either Iceland or Hungary.  Captained by Leicester City's Christian Fuchs, their better-known players include Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic and Basel's Marc Janko.  So whilst I don't believe they're at the level of Portugal, they're certainly good enough to qualify from this Group.

Some pundits (whose opinion I respect) have tipped Hungary to finish bottom of Group F but, whilst I understand the logic, I'm not convinced enough to take the 11/10 price on offer.  Iceland emerged second from a qualification group also featuring Holland, Turkey and eventual winners Czech Republic.  But despite beating Holland both home and away, it's notable that their two qualification defeats came in the Czech Republic and Turkey.  Clearly stronger home than away, it remains to be seen how they will take to tournament football in France.  Meanwhile, despite scoring only 11 goals and winning 4 games in qualifying, Hungary have only lost twice in 2015 and 2016 - away to Greece (qualifier) and Germany (friendly).  They excel at low score wins or draws and could trouble Iceland in a head-to-head decider.

So I'll stick with Portugal and Austria in both a 'Straight Forecast' (i.e. Portugal to top the Group and Austria to finish second) and a 'Dual Forecast' (i.e. Portugal and Austria to finish first and second in any order).  And leave Iceland and Hungary to battle it out for third.