Betting round-up: England, France square off

Betting editor Paul Gough goes into the highly anticipated Group D opener between the old rivals, and believes there is value in the match for England

England will certainly be hoping history does not repeat itself when the Three Lions take on France in their opening game of Euro 2012, as matches in the last of the four groups get underway on Monday [Tuesday morning Australian time].

France head into the clash between the Group D heavyweights as $2.35 favourites at Luxbet, with the draw at $3 and England at $3.15.

In the other game, co-hosts the Ukraine are favourites at $2.50, with the draw at $3.10 and Sweden at $2.85.

The France v England clash is the first time the two great rivals have met in a major tournament since Euro 2004, when they also faced off in the opening game and the former prevailed 2-1.

That match was part of France's four wins in the past five games between these two nations ‑ the other was drawn ‑ with England's last success coming way back in 1997 in a friendly.

But with their star striker Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two group games and with new manager Roy Hodgson only having been in charge for three weeks, expectations on England at this tournament are uncharacteristically low.

And that may well suit England just fine in this game, with the Three Lions likely to revel in their unfamiliar role as underdogs.

Not that they have not been without support, with Luxbet's Andy Scott reporting betting being about 60-40 in England's favour at Luxbet.

There is plenty of money for England at the draw-no bet option at $2.05, in which punters get their money back if the game ends in a draw while only receiving $2.05 per $1 investment if England wins.

And that looks a good bet in a game we believe will end in the first 0-0 draw of the tournament so far.

England and France to draw at $3 at Luxbet
England and France to draw 0-0 at $6.50 at Luxbet

With Rooney unavailable and England facing their toughest opponent in the group first-up, England will be happy to get a draw here so do not expect Hodgson's team to take too many risks.

During Hodgson's brief reign to date ‑ 1-0 friendly wins over Norway and Belgium ‑ England have looked much more solid defensively than at the end of the Fabio Capello reign.

France, who are unbeaten in 21 games heading into the tournament, have only conceded four goals during ten matches in qualifying for Euro 2012.

But with John Terry capable of shutting down France's most likely avenue to goal in Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, this game could end in a stalemate, with a 0-0 draw at Luxbet on correct score betting paying a handy $6.50.

In the other Group D game, Sweden has come in the majority of support from punters at Luxbet even though they will go in as underdogs against co-hosts Ukraine.

But we saw the other co-hosts in Poland, which like Ukraine would have struggled to qualify for this tournament had they not been hosting it, buckle under the weight of expectation when held to a draw in the opening game of the tournament.

And we think the same is likely to happen here, with the draw at $3.10 looking the way to go.

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