Croatia vs Portugal Round Of 16 Preview
Euro 2016 Knockout Stage Betting Analysis
By Matt Pitt
Croatia were expected to finish second in Group D of Euro 2016 as Spain were the overwhelming favorites to top the group. However, after a draw and two wins, one of those over Spain, Croatia finished in pole position and now take on Portugal for a place in the last eight.
The bookmakers cannot seem to separate these two sides, although Croatia are a slight favorite at +162 compared to Portugal at +310 and the draw at +200.
Croatia have looked superb at times during their group games, beating Turkey 1-0, letting a two-goal lead slip to tie with Czech Republic 2-2 and coming from behind to beat Spain 2-1.
It looks like Croatia will be without midfield dynamo Luka Modric for the Portugal tie, while forward Mario Manzukic is doubtful. Although this weakens Croatia, they still have some fantastic players in their squad who are more than capable of filling in for the absentees.
Ivan Perisic has bagged two goals and is +700 top open the scoring, and +280 to score at any point during the 90-minutes. That looks like a good bet as he’s been in scintillating form and will relish running at the shaky Portugues defense.
Portugal scraped through to the round of 16 as one of the best third place teams. To say Portugal have been disappointing is an understatement, but you can never write off a team that has such flair and ability.
After enduring a torrid game against Austria, where he had 10 attempts on goal without scoring and missed a penalty, Cristiano Ronaldo looked red hot in Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Hungary, netting twice.
Ronaldo is Portugal’s star player, and a Christiana Ronaldo going into the Croatia fixture full of confidence makes the +333 for the Real Madrid man to score first a steal, as is the +140 for Ronaldo to score at anytime.
Personally, I cannot see a lot of goals in this game despite the attacking abilities of both teams. My money will be going on a Croatia win at +162, although these odds drop to -151 if you bet on Croatia to qualify including extra time and penalties if they are needed.