The knockout bracket of Euro 2016 sets up in a way where host France could see their biggest threats take each other out of contention.
In terms of championship cachet, the Round of 16 tilts right. France, which got through the group stage without much pressure, has the lowest odds to win the tournament at +400 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Les Bleus’ side of the draw represents 10 European championships. However, Germany (+450), Spain (+550) and Italy (+1600) are in a separate quadrant of the bracket.
Having all the past champions in the same half means bettors might turn their eyes toward the left side of the bracket. Belgium (+550) and their ‘golden generation’ embodied by Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, underwhelmed in the group stage, but their quadrant includes minnows such as their Round of 16 opponent Hungary (+10000), Gareth Bale-led Wales (+2500) and Northern Ireland (+20000).
That half also includes Saturday’s arguable feature matchup that pits Croatia (+900 champion prop) against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal (+1000). Croatia is a +164 favorite to defeat +220 underdog Portugal, even without MF Luka Modric (groin injury).
Circling back to coach Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus, France might not have to burn themselves out getting to the semifinal. France is a -217 favorite against Ireland in their Round of 16 matchup on Sunday. Their other matchup within their quadrant consists of England (+900 to win it all) and Iceland (+15000), which won the hearts of footy fans the world over by getting by the group stage.
Reigning World Cup champion Germany had three clean sheets in Group C play, but has yet to get untracked offensively.
That might not pose a problem against Slovakia (+15000) in their matchup on Sunday. However, in the quarter-final Germany is line to get the winner of Monday’s Spain-Italy match. Spain, led by playmaker Andres Iniesta, is an even-money favorite to get through Italy (+380 to win) on Monday.
The winner of that Croatia-Portugal matchup will have a quarter-final against the winner between Poland (+2500) and Switzerland (+4000). Poland and Switzerland are two of the least adventurous teams that made it by the group stage, so a low-chance game is possible.
Wales is a near even-money +104 favorite to defeat Northern Ireland (+394) in a Saturday Round of 16 game between United Kingdom rivals. Bale should rate a strong chance of scoring for the fourth consecutive game, which very few players have done in the Euro.