‘Bear Bets’: Euro 2024 Matchday 2 picks, plus Golden Boot and futures bets

FOX Sports’ digital gambling show returned this week to discuss the upcoming major games of the Euro Championship (which are all on the FOX family of networks). 

Every team in the Euro 2024 field has now played one match, and “Bear Bets” is back to recap those results and look ahead to Matchday 2.

To start, Chris “The Bear” Fallica and Geoff Schwartz were joined by Stu Holden to cover victories by the favorites, England and France, as well as the dominant showings by Germany against Scotland and Spain against Croatia.

Afterward, The Bear and Geoff talked best bets and futures.

Let’s jump into the action.

Coming into the tournament, most people favored France or England to win this tournament … Could England have been more dominant in their 1-0 victory over Serbia?

Holden: “I think when you think about England — I think they were overpriced a little bit to begin with, in my opinion. The defense isn’t strong enough down the spine. Not good enough to win the Euro, yet we fall in love with the individual names.”

Are there concerns for France with the injury to Kylian Mbappé?

Holden: “What they’ve historically done when they’ve won tournaments is build into the tournament slowly … With [Mbappé] having the broken nose, it’s alleged that he’s going to miss the Netherlands match that potentially impacts the Golden Boot race … but it also presents opportunities now for them to get some other guys … opportunities in front of the goal. The French team is stacked — I’m not worried at all about France.” 

Have feelings changed about Belgium after being upset by Slovakia, 1-0?

Holden: “I didn’t like Belgium to begin with. I just think that this Belgium team isn’t complete. They have a first time head coach in a big European championship, and in many ways you’re relying on Romelu Lukaku to produce and score goals … As far as Belgium goes, I was surprised they lost to Slovakia but I think its a further reflection that I don’t see this as any more than a team that going by past the quarterfinals.”

What was the most dominant performance in the first round of matches?

The Bear: “You can make a very good case for Germany … I personally thought Spain were the most impressive team because Croatia has some world-class players on that side. What they did in just coming out and dominating Croatia in that first game – I thought was super impressive. I think maybe people were sleeping on Spain a little bit.” 

Holden: “I think I was most impressed with Germany in the first match. Spain … let’s not get completely carried away here with the fact that they won that game 3-0. Croatia had a lot of chances and didn’t convert on those ones … I think you’re going to see a bounce back from Croatia. I still like them around the quarterfinals in this tournament. As far as Germany, if you laid on them pre-tournament, you’ve got to be feeling pretty good.”

More impressed by Germany or disappointed in Scotland?

Holden: “Scotland were horrific! Scotland, you disappointed me! And, perhaps over-flattered Germany a little bit. But, if you’re thinking about a team being the host nation with the pressure coming in – and you were worried a little bit about Germany going out on the group stage at the last two World Cups – this is a team that got almost every attacking player a goal … A guy who was just called up to the roster two days before gets a goal … they should be flying come game 2, and I would feeling pretty good about Germany getting at least to a semifinal.”

Is there one player or team your opinion has changed about most, good or bad, through the first four days?

Holden: “Lukaku I was really disappointed with … I thought he might be in the mix even for the Golden Boot because I felt that Belgium had a pretty easy group that they would cruise through … I was disappointed with Harry Kane to be honest, with England. I felt that only two touches for him in the first half of that match, and he was dropping too far at times on the ball. Now you heard some comments from him after the game. He was actually saying that Gareth Southgate asked him to stay higher and occupy the three centerbacks to make space for the other players. You don’t want to hear that if you’ve got Harry Kane for the Golden Boot!”

The Bear: “The teams that we expected to be the bottom feeders – Romania, Slovenia, Georgia, Albania – they all came out and played great first matches. They all had legitimate chances to get a result. Not all of them did. But, it just goes to show you the depth in this tournament that even teams you expect to be ‘propping up the table’ … the last place team was great.”

Here are the Bear’s best bets for Matchday 2 (all times ET).

Croatia vs. Albania, 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, FS1 and the FOX Sports App

The Bear: “I think Croatia will look to solve some of their defensive woes from their first match against Spain.”

PICK: Albania and Croatia under 2.5 goals scored (-120)

Spain vs. Italy, 3 p.m. ET Thursday, FOX and FOX Sports App

The Bear: “I think Spain has been the most impressive team in the tournament. Italy, as good as they were in coming back to beat Albania, they do have some issues on that back line still.”

PICK: Spain to defeat Italy (+115)

Poland vs. Austria, 12 p.m. ET Friday, FS1 and the FOX Sports App

The Bear: “Poland was better than I thought they would be in that first game, but they didn’t really threaten much after getting that first goal. I think Austria probably deserved a little bit better fate in that first match against France.”

PICK: Austria and Poland under 2.5 goals scored

Bear also likes one country’s title futures more than the rest, and has a few tickets for the Golden Boot as well.

GOLDEN BOOT FUTURES 

Lamine Yamal: +4500
Jamal Musiala: +2800
Romelu Lukaku: +1200 

“The fact that none of the big guns scored — Ronaldo, Kane, Mbappé, whoever — it opens up the opportunity for potentially one of those longer-priced [names].”

GROUP STAGE FUTURES

Belgium to win Group E (+280)

Lastly, after a shocking loss to Slovakia, the Bear likes Belgium to bounce back and win its group at +280. He is not overreacting to their initial loss and still believes they are the most talented team in Group E.  

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