England hasn't had much success in international soccer over the past 50 years. Since winning their only World Cup in 1966, the Three Lions have been limited to three semifinal appearances at the top tournaments: the 1990 World Cup, and the 1968 and 1996 European Championships. But this is England. They have a loyal following that will bet on them rain or shine.

That hasn't changed for Euro 2016. England has been placed in a fairly competitive Group B with Russia, Slovakia and Wales, but at press time, the Lions are –140 favorites to win the group, and +750 to win their first-ever Championship. The betting value will be on the other side for most of England's Group Stage matches – starting with their game against Russia on June 11 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseilles.

Youth Is Served

It's not that England's bad at their national sport. They're No. 7 on the World Football Elo Ratings, up from their all-time low of No. 18 set two years ago. A youth movement led by Tottenham Hotspur teammates Harry Kane (age 22) and Dele Alli (age 20) has injected new life into this moribund squad; the addition of Manchester United sensation Marcus Rashford (age 18) makes England's prospects even more exciting.

But none of these three rising stars plays defense. The Lions are lacking in this regard, particularly at center-back, where they hope Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill can hold things together. Russia, meanwhile, is No. 28 in the Elo ratings and on the rebound after a poor showing at the 2014 World Cup. They're worth a look at +340 for their match against England (–110), although the draw may be more enticing at +235.


England's next match against Wales, on June 16 at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, might be the best spot for betting on the Lions if you're so inclined. Wales are also overvalued in the marketplace, even though they have the remarkable Gareth Bale up front; the Dragons are No. 47 on the Elo ratings, far below their No. 26 spot on the less reliable FIFA rankings. England is the –140 favorite for their Group Stage match, with Wales at +400 and the draw at +265.

Slovakia figures to be the best value in Group B. They've made great strides over the past five years, moving up from No. 71 (an all-time low) to No. 25 (an all-time high) on the Elo ratings. The Repre beat Spain 2-1 in Euro 2016 qualifying. They also beat Germany 3-1 in a friendly this past Sunday. At press time, Slovakia is a +425 underdog for their Group Stage match against England (–155) on June 20 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, with the draw a viable choice at +290 given the tournament format.

*Odds as of June 3, 2016