After England’s heart-wrenching World Cup semifinal loss, Saturday’s third-place match hasn’t proved quite as worthy of English betting pride – though tipping a pint or two surely has. Covers checks in on the action and odds movement for England-Belgium Part II, with insights from Lee Price, spokesman for Ireland-based PaddyPower.com, and Will Bernanke, lead analyst for CG Analytics in Las Vegas.
These two sides have already clashed once in this tournament, with Belgium wrapping up group play by posting a 1-0 victory over England. Both squads then advanced all the way to the semifinals before having their championship hopes dashed.
England entered its Wednesday semi as a +133 favorite over Croatia in the three-way betting, and all looked well when Kieran Trippier netted a fifth-minute free kick for a 1-0 lead. But Three Lions missed a couple great first-half opportunities to build on that lead, then gave up the tying goal in the 68th minute and ultimately lost 2-1 in extra time on a 109th-minute goal.
On Tuesday, Belgium was a modest +195 underdog against France in the opening semifinal. Neither side scored in the first half, but the Belgians gave up an early second-half goal and failed to find the back of the onion bag in a 1-0 loss.
PaddyPower pegged Belgium the +120 favorite for Saturday’s 10 a.m. ET start, with England a +210 pup and the draw +260. By Friday night in Europe/Friday afternoon in the U.S., Belgium slightly loosened to +125, England was still +210 and the draw was +250. In the two-way “to finish third” option, which includes extra time and penalty kicks, Belgium was -154 and England +120.
The huge championship liability faced by PaddyPower and United Kingdom betting shops was totally wiped out by England’s semifinal setback. And bettors’ appetites have adjusted accordingly.
“So far, the betting weight has been light, as England fans prefer to drown their sorrows, rather than bet on the Three Lions being the Third Lions,” Price quipped. “Instead, savvy punters are seeing value in Belgium, and as nobody really cares about the third/fourth playoff, it isn’t seen as unpatriotic to bet against England. I have to say, compared to the situation traders were facing should England win the final, I don’t think this match offers much of a concern to the book. Less so the fans.”
At CG books, including The Cosmopolitan and Venetian on the Vegas Strip, Belgium opened +130, England +210 and the draw +240. Belgium tightened to +110, with England and the draw at +220.
“Eighty-four percent of all dollars on Belgium,” Bernanke said, adding that nearly 90 percent of money on the total of 3 has come in on the Over. “Sharps and public are on Belgium and the Over.
CG’s “to finish third” option has been stable at Belgium -150/England +130, though Bernanke said sharp and public money is again overwhelmingly on the chalk.
“Eighty-six percent of all dollars are on Belgium to take third place,” he said.