Association football is the most popular sport in the world, and we are going to break down many of the thrilling matches as well as the associated betting opportunities. Euro 2016 is undoubtedly going to bring amazing action with dozens of exciting matches at the group stage and then a series of winner-take-all games in the knockout phase.

UEFA Euro 2016

The UEFA European Championship, often referred to simply as The Euros, determines the continental champion of Europe. This event is held every four years, and it takes place in between World Cup tournaments. Participants include teams from the Union of European Football Associations or UEFA. The tournament, which was originally called the UEFA European Nations Cup, was first held in 1960. Germany and Spain have been the most successful teams having won three UEFA Euro titles each.

The 24 Qualified Teams for Euro 2016

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The UEFA Euro includes only 24 teams, which requires a qualification process since there are much more than 24 teams in the UEFA. Note that including 24 teams is a big change for 2016. The tournament had been limited to 16 since 1996 and had featured just eight teams previously. Qualification matches generally take place in the two years prior to the tournament. So in the case of the UEFA Euro 2016, qualifying matches were held in 2014 and 2016. More than 50 teams participated.

Only 23 teams qualify because the host team, which will be France this year, is provided an automatic bid. The 24 teams are then organized into six groups of four teams. The UEFA arranges teams based on rank, which helps ensure that the elite teams can face each other in the knockout phase. Teams play every other team in their group. All teams that finish first and second in their group standings advance. Additionally, the four third-place teams with the most points advance as well.

The knockout phase is single elimination. There are 16 playoff teams to begin with. The first round has eight matches and reduces the field to eight teams. The second round has four matches and reduces the field to four teams. The third round has two matches and reduces the field to two teams, and the final round is the championship that pits the two remaining teams against each other.

Betting the UEFA Euro 2016

You have a number of options when it comes to betting The Euros. You can bet a team outright to win the entire tournament, to win its stage and to win a particular match. You also have the option to bet teams to place, show, come in fourth and so forth. There are also a number of specialized bets, such as bet a team to win or lose all group games, as well as player-specific bets and prop bets.

Free Bets for Euro 2016

Here are our recommendations for receiving free bets and bonuses from the leading online bookmakers, which you can use for Euro 2016!

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Open a new account at Ladbrokes, place your first bet, and you will receive a free bet for the same amount, up to a maximum of £50! Register your account with Ladbrokes Promo Code BONUSBETS!

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William Hill has a 200% free bet offer! Register your new account with William Hill promo code PROMO20, place a wager of £10, and you will receive TWO free bets worth £10 each!

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bet365 offers a 100% deposit bonus of up to £200 (5x wagering requirement) PLUS a 100% mobile bonus for another £50 free mobile bet! Register your new account with the bet365 bonus code CBC365 to qualify!

You don’t have to choose, you can sign up to all 3 offers described above and take advantage of multiple offers, just in time for Euro 2016!

The Group Stage

The group stage doesn’t draw as much casual betting interest as the knockout phase does, but experienced betters can have a lot of success here. The way the groups are structured, it doesn’t require expertise to recognize that Germany will do well in Group C against the Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland or that Spain should have great success in a Group D that features the Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia. Be careful with the group picks, however, since there are always some upsets, and pay particular attention to the final matches as some teams will have locked in qualification.

The Knockout Stage

Sizing up the knockout phase before the group phase has even started is a bit tricky. You can be confident that Germany, Spain and even France, the host team, is going to be there. However, there is always at least one surprise. Anything can happen when a loss ends the tournament for a team. Oddsmakers are historically very good at this stage, so don’t buck the odds, but keep an eye on those teams that have made it to this point on talent rather than talent plus chemistry and sound play. Casual money can do some funny things to the odds as well. It may pay to wait late to place your bets or at least to take advantage of an odds guarantee or similar.

Odds and Favourites

Oddsmakers tend to be very bullish on France. France is a very good team. Not only that but the host team has historically performed well, and France in particular has won the last two tournaments it hosted. Does France deserve to be the overall favourite above Germany? Probably not, and if you’ve been watching the odds, then you’ve noticed them shifting in that direction. Some bookmakers now have Germany as the favourite or at least at even odds with France, and Spain and England are closing that gap as well.

At the moment, Spain looks to provide the best value if you’re going to pick the overall winner for the tournament or even a group. Spain is in a bit of a transition period, which is why the team is at 6 at some books while Germany is at 3. Spain easily has the talent to win it all though, so if you like them to win, then placing that bet as early as possible is probably the right move.

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by M Adams on Euro 2016 Free Bets
The Euros

Thanks for the article, very exciting about The Euros and was looking for some free bets. Will try all of your suggestions. Cheers!