‘Bear Bets’: Best wagers for USA-Panama, previewing Euro 2024 knockout stage

‘Bear Bets’: Best wagers for USA-Panama, previewing Euro 2024 knockout stage

Group play in Euro 2024 has ended, while Copa América is in the middle of Matchday 2. 

As the “Summer of Stars” heats up on the FOX family of networks, “Bear Bets” returned to discuss the USA’s second match in Copa América, while also previewing the knockout stage of Euro 2024.

Chris “The Bear” Fallica and Geoff Schwartz were joined by “FOX Soccer Now’s” Jimmy Conrad to break down and preview the upcoming matches in both tournaments. 

Let’s dive into the fun.

USA vs. Panama, Thursday, 6 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app

Schwartz: Uneasy about laying -1.5 with the USA

“Panama has given them trouble in the past. I’m curious to see if they’re able to overcome what has been kind of a thorn in their side, the way that Panama’s played them. The style they play, and they’ve struggled with them in the past; that loss in penalties just about a year ago to Panama. So I’m a little bit leery to lay the number here. It’s pretty big.”

The Bear: Under 2.5 total goals, USA to keep a clean sheet.

“I think this is probably an Under type of match. I think you’re going to see a very similar match to what you saw in the opener against Bolivia. It feels like a 1-0, 2-0 sort of match. So, Under 2.5 is my play here and we’ll play the USA to keep a clean sheet as well, just because I don’t think Panama will threaten very much either.”

USMNT vs. Panama Preview: Who will start for USMNT?

Previewing the knockout stage of Euro 2024

What are your thoughts on England after an underwhelming showing in group play?

The Bear: Don’t like England to reach the final, can’t bet on England to “bring it home”

“Everyone’s mentioned England, and they’ve seemingly lucked into this easy path again. I just think their weaknesses are going to finally manifest. I don’t think they suddenly, just all because they have an easier draw, get there. I’d look at — take your pick, dealer’s choice — Austria to reach the final, Netherlands to reach the final or Italy to reach the final. Maybe play them with someone like France, Spain or Germany on the other side of the bracket.”

Conrad: Italy, Switzerland are England’s biggest tests to reach the final

“If they can get Italy in the quarterfinals, that becomes an interesting one because Italy beat them in the Euro final the last time around. So it feels like there will be some more emotional weight in that particular game, though I wouldn’t discount the Swiss. I’m a big fan of their team. … I think Switzerland is going to be tough to break down for Italy and England if they get there.

“With England, in particular, are they just a team that doesn’t know how to get out of their own way? That becomes very difficult if you’re betting on a team that has the potential to score three goals in every game, but doesn’t realize that potential.”

England wins Group C with a scoreless draw, Denmark, Slovenia advance

France vs. Belgium, Monday, noon ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app

Conrad: Wait until Starting XI’s are announced to place wager

“Will Belgium show up? Will they have that big game against France? Belgium was the clear favorites in their group. They can walk into this one and they’re the underdog. I wonder if that flip of mentality of like, ‘Hey, we got nothing to lose and everything to gain’ gives them that edge to relax and play. I would look at the starting XI before I would bet on that game.”

Austria wins Group D, France, Netherlands advance to Round of 16

Austria vs. Türkiye, Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app

The Bear: Austria to win in 90 minutes (-105)

“Austria is 17-1 to win the tournament, 7-1 to reach the final. That’s probably not a bad play at all, considering I like them against Türkiye. I think that Türkiye, defensively, has some problems. They do have some scorers with Arda Guler and some other players as well. I like Austria in that match. The one thing I do worry about … I wonder if the bandwagon is a little too heavy now.”

Which team is most likely to pull off the biggest upset in the Round of 16?

Conrad: Slovakia (+810) over England or Romania (+663) over the Netherlands

“I’m sure Slovakia are probably licking their chops the most because England feel the most vulnerable of those teams. Maybe the Netherlands could be thrown in there, too. I think Portugal and Spain will take care of business. 

“I guess it’s interesting because if you wanted to go moneyline and in the 90 minutes, could you double chance Slovakia or Romania against one of the bigger nations and maybe one of them will do it?”

Are there any futures you like?

The Bear: France to win the tournament (+600)

“I think it’s a really good buy-low option. I think they’ll beat Belgium. The backline for Belgium is a massive, massive problem. They have problems back there. I think this will be the game that France shows up and finally breaks through. Spain, they may have to play Germany if Germany gets by Denmark. This side of the bracket is just loaded.”

How about player futures?

Conrad: Look at a player on Spain to win Player of the Tournament

Pedri’s not a bad shout. Nico Williams is not a bad shout. Alvaro Morata has been wearing the captain’s armband when he’s healthy. Maybe you look at him. If he gets two or three goals, he could be in the mix for the Golden Boot.”

Chris “The Bear” Fallica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football has been his focus, he also enjoys the NFL, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, MLB, NHL and Horse Racing, with an “occasional” wager on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He’s a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, “The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!” Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica.

Geoff Schwartz is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.

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