Dragons dabbles: Coral’s special Euro 2016 Wales and Gareth Bale wagers
Holly Thackeray | May 30, 2016
King of Dragons to inspire Leicester-style surprises?
As it happens, Coral writers recently cast our minds back to Greece’s shock Euro 2004 triumph, and we pondered whether Wales could spring a similar surprise of sorts this summer – it seems Leicester City hero and Dragons international Andy King is thinking along the same lines. Great minds!
“The whole Leicester thing has given everyone belief,” Foxes midfielder King told press.
“You do not have to be France or Spain to win the Euros, because you have not got to be Man City or Man United to win the Premier League. It has given everyone a boost. Wales’ odds are about 80/1 versus 5,000/1, so why not? You know which one you would rather back.
“You have got to win up to seven games compared to 38. We have a good squad of players and probably have the best player in the tournament in my opinion, and probably many people’s opinion, so why can’t we can’t we go and win that as well?”
If you like the cut of King and co’s jib, customers can opt for a Wales tournament win at 80/1 with Coral. Yet, if you fancy a few flutters on the Welsh but don’t want to put all your eggs in an underdog basket, we also offer plenty more alternative Dragons dabbles worth taking. Read on for our picks of the special bets bunch below…
Will Williams be first Wales player booked?
Wales made a name for themselves in Euro 2016 qualifying by keeping their backline watertight then unleashing rampant Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale on the break.
Against sterner opposition now, apart from Belgium, this kind of approach will surely lead to an increase in cards, especially with equally hard workers Slovakia (who recently toppled world champions Germany), Russia and fierce Home Nation rivals England to face in Pool B.
Who will be the first to be cautioned in the Welsh ranks then? Passionate skipper and centre half Ashley Williams is the joint market favourite at 8/1 after seeing yellow in the last Euro qualifying outing. The Swansea City star has been cautioned seven times in a Welsh shirt so far, after a club career high of eight in the Premier League this campaign.
Ahead of the 31-year-old in midfield will likely be Liverpool anchorman Joe Allen, who has five yellows blotting his copybook of 25 caps, while famously feisty Arsenal attacker Aaron Ramsey is an outsider at 12/1 to be first in the referee’s book.
Dragons to win all Group B duels
If patriotic punters are feeling pessimistic, Wales are 6/4 not to win a single group game in France. It is the first time in over half a century that the Dragons have dueled in a major international tournament, but the bravery and fearlessness Chris Coleman’s crew displayed to reach the finals hints this Home Nation won’t go out with a whimper.
So, why not instead grab a better value wager of 33/1 for the Welsh to win all their group games? Too optimistic? Perhaps, but this punt is not without statistical merit, after the Dragons defeated Belgium in qualifying.
Wales are ranked eight FIFA places above first pool opponents Slovakia, who they have triumphed against before, while ageing Russia are also ranked three spots below, with both teams lacking game changers in the ilk of Bale and Ramsey. As for England, well, on the day anything could happen there and the Dragons will certainly be feeling defiant.
Anyone other than Bale to be top scorer?
As for team top scorers, of course bombastic Bale, who was joint top scorer with seven strikes in qualifying Group B, is the 6/5 favourite to be leading Dragons dangerman as the focal point of his team’s attacks.
If you fancy hedging your bets, however, with the view that Bale could be man-marked out of a few games then someone else will need to take up the scoring mantle. Gung-ho Gunner Ramsey was next most potent marksman for Wales on the road to France and certainly has an eye for spectacular efforts so is second favourite at 8/1.
As for outsiders, if you fancy Wales to emulate Greece with set-piece prowess, captain Williams is 33/1 and Burnley goal grabber Sam Vokes 12/1 after striking 16 for the Clarets cause.
How many points can Coleman’s contingent collect?
If punters prefer to focus on pool points, coach Coleman is 11/5 to steer his side to between 4-5, the equivalent of one victory and a draw or two.
Alternatively, Wales are 11/4 to collect only 0-1 point in their maiden European Championship appearance, with 6-9 at 10/3 for the more hopeful out there who expect a clean sweep or at least two wins. As the Dragons won over half of their qualifying contests, recording a sole loss in 10, it is not out of the realms!
Tasty odds for total Wales tournament goals
Last, but not least, Coral pose the question: Just how lethal can Wales be? Total tournament goals is a tasty market indeed, though it is worth remembering it was the Welsh defensive record which made waves, with lowest conceded in Group B qualifying with four.
The Dragons only dispatched 11 times on their way to reaching the finals, less than half of Belgium’s haul and the second least in the pool, above only minnows Andorra and behind Cyprus, Israel and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
While this shows Wales can win close contests, it also illustrates that the number of goals may not tally with how far they are expected to go in France. Six plus total tournament strikes at 4/1 may not be needed to escape their pool and reach the last 16 then, since Wales have shown they can cling on to a slim advantage, but would likely be required if you fancy them to go further.
Back 0-1 goals at 3/1, however, if you don’t expect safe passage from the pool, or 4-5 to be scored at 2/1 to leave it all rather open.