Euro Best Player of The Tournament Betting: Five names to keep an eye on at the tournament
As we approach the quarter-final stage of the tournament we’ve taken a look at the latest odds from the Euro 2021 Player of the tournament market. We’ve picked out five names that you should be keeping an eye on and have provided some insight and angles that could prove profitable.
There’s been plenty of change since the first game between Italy and Turkey back on 11 June with six of the top ten players in the betting all finding themselves eliminated, including pre-tournament favourite Kylian Mbappe who was 9/1 before a ball was kicked.
We Still Raheem!
There’s now a new favourite in town in the form of Raheem Sterling at 7/1, whose three goals for England at Euro 2021 have left fans daring to believe that this time, it’s actually coming home. Priced at 40/1 pre-tournament Sterling has proven his doubters wrong with England now the shortest price to win a major tournament that they have been in the last 25 years.
Following Sterling at the head of the market is Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku at 15/2, who also has three goals to his name. Denmark’s Simon Kjaer is having a barnstormer of a tournament and can be backed at 17/2, while Kevin De Bruyne is still 9/1 despite being ruled out of the quarter-finals through injury.
Leonardo Spinazzzola and Sergio Busquets can be backed at 14/1 with Paddy Power, while Patrick Schick could well go level with Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in the tournament this weekend is 16/1. Jack Grealsh has shortened into 20/1, with Ciro Immobile 22/1, Ferran Torres 25/1 and Harry Maguire rounding off the top-ten in the betting at 25/1.
Past Winners and trends to go off
The UEFA best player of the tournament award has been running since 1996. And having a look at the list of names who have claimed the prize, the thing that stands out is that this award has often been given to someone who does not necessarily rank highly for goals or assists.
The award has also gone to a player from the winning side on five of the six occasions. As you can see from the list below, the majority are midfielders and with strikers tending to be battling it out for the Golden Boot, it opens the door for players who may not be pin-up boys of the tournament.
2016 - Antoine Griezmann (France - Striker)
2012 - Andres Iniesta (Spain - Midfielder)
2008 - Xavi (Spain - Midfielder)
2004 - Thodoros Zagorakis (Greece - Midfielder)
2000 - Zinedine Zidance (France - Midfielder)
1996 - Matthias Sammer (Germany - Midfielder)
Stars In Your Eyes
It may have changed name slightly from the ‘Man of the Match’ award to the ‘UEFA Star of the Match’ at this summer’s tournament, but this is something we think you should be keeping an eye on before making your decision on who will be the overall best player of the tournament. Man of the Match betting has been incredibly popular at the Euros and below we’ve listed below the players who have won have been named ‘Star of the Match’ who are remaining in the tournament. Remember this is UEFA who have decided these!
2 - Romelu Lukaku
2 - Leonardo Spinazzola
2 - Sergio Busquets
1 - Kevin De Bruyne
1 - Raheem Sterling
1 - Patrick Schick
1 - Manuel Locatelli
1 - Andriy Yarmolenko
1 - Jordi Alba
1 - Federico Chiesa
1 - Breel Embolo
1 - Harry Maguire
1 - Xherdan Shaqiri
1 - Andreas Christensen
1 - Bukayo Saka
1 - Kaspar Dolberg
1 - Tomas Holes
1 - Thorgan Hazard
1 - Oleksandr Zinchenko
Five to keep an eye on
Raheem Sterling - England - 7/1 BetVictor
As we mentioned above, Raheem Sterling is now the favourite with most bookmakers to claim the Player of the Tournament award after his three goals at Euro 2021 have resulted in England being the 15/8 favourites to go on and win it.
At five of the last six European Championships the Player of the Tournament has gone to a member of the winning team, with Antoine Griezmann breaking the only one to break the trend in 2016. England are odds-on at 4/6 to make the final and with this in mind Sterling looks a backable price at 7/1.
Sterling has been England’s biggest threat in front of goal, registering more shots and shots on target than any other player in the Three Lions squad. There’s every reason to believe that ‘Raz’ could pick up another few goals against the Ukraine and then potentially Denmark or the Czech Republic which would have him right at the head of the market for both the Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot winner.
Leonardo Spinazzola - Italy - 20/1 bet365
Right from the get go at Euro 2021, Leonardo Spinazzola has been a stand out performer for Italy, picking up the UEFA Star of the Match in the opening game of the tournament against Turkey.
The 28-year-old was also named the UEFA Star of the Match in Italy’s Round of 16 tie with Austria where he provided an assist for Federico Chiesa in extra-time to make it 1-0. UEFA have a proven liking to Spinazzola at this tournament and if he carries on to be such a stand out figure for his side, and if the Italians do go to the final, it’s hard to not see him in serious contention for the Best Player of the Tournament.
Sergio Busquets - Spain - 25/1 BetVictor
Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets has only played two games so far at Euro 2021 and has been named the UEFA Star of the match in both of them. The 32-year-old ticks a lot of boxes for potentially being named the Best Player of the Tournament, especially considering it went to both Andres Iniesta in 2012 and Xavi in 2008, when Spain won the tournament.
Spain are currently second favourites behind England to go on and claim their first bit of silverware since 2012 and with a quarter final against Switzerland, you have to fancy them to progress to the semis. If Spain do go the distance, one would fancy Pedri and Ferran Torres to be in with strong claims for the Young Player of the Tournament which paves the path for Busquets to claim the Player of the Tournament should his performances continue at this standard.
Harry Maguire - England - 60/1 Unibet
Another player who has only played in two games so far at the tournament is England centre-back Harry Maguire. ‘Slab Head’ put in an absolute colossal performance against Germany, with no England player making more clearances, which led to the Manchester United man being awarded the Man of The Match, by both UEFA and by WhoScored in their ranking systems.
England are yet to concede a goal in this competition which is a stat that simply cannot be ignored. Maguire’s leadership skills are a key attribute for England and should they progress against the Ukraine without conceding a goal, for which they are 10/11 to do so in 90 minutes, we’d expect Maguire to shorten from the current biggest price of 60/1 with Unibet.
Marco Verratti - Italy - 100/1 BetVictor
The trend of players only featuring twice so far at the Euros continues and this time it’s Italy’s Macro Verratti. Again, keeping in mind just how many midfielders have won this award, Verratti looks a little overpriced in our opinion at a massive 100/1 with BetVictor.
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was immense against Wales in Italy’s final group game and put in a solid performance against Austria. Italy have the small task of getting past Belgium in the quarters, but with them looking so content in possession and conceding the fewest shots on target in the tournament with just five, they stand every chance of setting up a semi with Spain. Verratti will need to be at his best if Robert Mancini’s men are to advance to the final and he will be pivotal to their success as he keeps Manuel Locatelli out the side.
Who to back and who to avoid
So there it is, our list of five who you should be keeping an eye on in the Player of The Tournament market, but if you were to push us for just one or two selections, who would we be backing and who wouldn’t we be backing?
Romelu Lukaku looks a little short in our opinion and with strikers tending to favour the Golden Boot award and Belgium having a tough quarter-final against Italy, we’d be leaving him alone in the market.
Kevin De Bruyne's influence on the Belgium side is huge and after the news that both he and Eden Hazard will miss the game with Italy we’d be avoiding him at 9/1.
Jack Grealish is one we would have really liked to get behind, but at 20/1 he looks too short considering he has only started one match at the tournament. Grealish has two assists to his name and has looked a threat whenever on the pitch but considering some of the names at similar prices we’d tread with caution of choosing to back him for player of the tournament and would rather look at the ‘anytime assist’ market should he start any of England’s remaining matches.
We really believe that England will make their first major final since 1966 and with Sterling a certain starter under Southgate he could well have a major say in the result in the quarter and semi-finals. At 7/1 he still looks backable but Sergio Busquets and Marco Verratti of Italy both make serious appeal at 25/1 and 66/1 with BetVictor.
Midfielders have won five of the last six Player of the Tournament award at the European Championship and in Sergio Busquets we feel there’s shades of Xavi and Iniesta when they won it in 2008 and 2012. The Barcelona man has been named the Star of the Match on both his appearances so far and with other top performers in the Spain set-up such as Pedri and Ferran Torres more likely to pick up the Young Player of The Tournament, Busquets looks a good fit at 25/1 with BetVictor.
At 100/1 Macro Verratti is a little more of a price-play with other firms such as Sky Bet taking a much more conservative approach at just 33/1. We fancy the Italians to see off Belgium without their best player De Bruyne and at 100/1 with BetVictor looks too big for Verratti in a team that has been one of the best going forward and defensively water-tight in the tournament.