Do you remember the college football Game of the Century?
In 2011, LSU and Les Miles traveled to Alabama and Nick Saban in a match up of undefeated college football teams. This prime time game featured the top 2 teams in the BCS rankings.
Do you remember how the game turned out?
LSU won 9-6 in overtime as neither team scored a touchdown or broke 300 yards of offense.
In 2021, the Euro final between Italy and England should have a similar defensive flavor. By my calculations, Italy and England have the 2nd and 4th best defenses in the world based on matches since the beginning of 2016.
Let’s say you’re new to soccer, and you’ve been hearing about these exciting Euro matches like Spain vs Croatia and France vs Switzerland that have made hearts stop around the world. You want to check out the final on Sunday.
This is not going to be a great game for you. England vs Italy will be like reading Dickens aloud on a first date.
The defensive nature of the affair does offer some betting value. My numbers imply a 73% chance of under 2.5 goals. DraftKings has a price of -195, a break even probability of 66% that has already risen since it opened.
Which team will win Euro? My numbers give a slight edge to England at 57% to win.
This prediction gives England a home advantage for a game played in London. In the book Scorecasting, Jon Wertheim and Toby Moskowitz identify unconscious referee bias as one factor in home advantage. The man does eventually need to leave Wembley in a city full of England fans.
In the semi-final against Denmark, England scored the winning goal after a penalty shot award by the referee. While the contact on Raheem Sterling in real time was clear, the replay suggested a lack of force in this contact.
The Italians are just as likely to go down after soft contact in the box. But the location of this game tilts the odds that England will get a critical decision that could decide the game.
Regulation probabilities (90 minutes plus stoppage time): England hosting Italy: England has a 41.0% chance to win. Italy has a 26.7% chance to win. There is a 32.3% chance for a tie.
Data driven betting information
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