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Expert Free Soccer Picks For Portugal vs. Wales Euro 2016 Semifinal

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Portugal vs. Wales Odds Preview
Gareth Bale and upstart Wales face his Real Madrid teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Portugal at Stade de Lyon in Lyon on Wednesday for a chance to win a berth in the EURO 2016 Final in the first of the two Semifinals. Live Soccer Odds have Portugal solid +115 favorites with underdog Wales priced at +290 and a Draw at +205 (at GTBets) with the Total (Goals) here is set at 2 with the Underpriced at -115 (at NetBet). The First Half odds see the Draw priced at -133 odds, Portugal at +175 and Wales priced at +400 (at WilliamHill).

Some Props wagers: Both Teams To Score: ‘Yes’ +110, ‘No’ -150 (at Bet365); Draw No Bet: Portugal -220, Wales +162 (at Bet365); Correct Score: 0-0, +620 (at Marathon), Portugal 1-0, 5/1 (at PaddyPower), Wales 1-0, +850 (at PaddyPower); Clean Sheet: Portugal +110, Wales +225 (at PaddyPower); (Will They Score a) Hat Trick? Cristiano Ronaldo 33/1 (at WilliamHill), Gareth Bale 80/1 (at WilliamHill); and (Will There Be) Extra Time?: No -275, Yes +210 (at Bwin).

 

Portugal
Portugal (+360 to win EURO 2016 at Bwin) and Head Coach Fernando Santos seem fortunate to actually be in this coveted spot in the EURO Semifinals in Lyon on Wednesday, failing to win any one of its five EURO 2016 matches in 90 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo and the Seleção (#8 FIFA ranking) scored a total of just 4 goals in its first 4 matches in the first 90 minutes of play with all 4 of its 90-minute goals coming in Group F play (POR 1-1 ISL, POR 0-0 AUS, POR 3-3 HUN) and 3 of the 4 goals all coming in one game—a 3-3 Draw to Hungary. Portugal scored no goals in 90 minutes of play in its Round of 16 match against Croatia (0-0 after 90 minutes), and the Seleção won 1-0 in added Extra Time on a Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas) goal which came at the 117 -minute mark to oust Luka Modric and the upstart Croats, 1-0 on June 25 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens to advance on to play Poland in the Round of 8 (Quarterfinals).

Against Poland, Portugal (WDDDWD) scored just its fifth goal in the first 90 minutes of play on a Renato Sanches equalizer at the 33-minute mark after Robert Lewandowski had put Poland ahead early, 1-0 on a goal 2 minutes in. And that was it. Portugal went on to advance in another Penalty Kick Shootout (5-3), converting on all five PK attempts against Poland in Marseille on Friday. Against Poland, A Selecção had a Starting XI of GK Rui Patrício; Defenders José Fonte, Pepe, William Carvalho and Eliseu; MF Cedric Soares, Renato Sanches, Adrien Silva, João Mário; Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani. Danilo (Carvalho), João Moutinho (Silva), Ricardo Quaresma (Mario) were all used as substitutes by Santos and Moutinho and Quaresma both connected on their PK attempts in the deciding Shootout for the Selecção.

The play of expected starting GK Patrício (Sporting Clube de Portugal) should be huge here. The two 'Name the Finalists' Prop bets involving Portugal see a Germany-Portugal (high) priced at +200 (at Bet365) with a France-Portugal EURO 2016 Final priced exactly the same at +200 (at Ladbrokes).

 

Wales
Wales (+850 to win EURO 2016 at 888Sport) and Head Coach Chris Coleman have already won four times (in 90 minutes) heading in here (LWLWWW) with two Wins in Group Stage play (WAL 2-1 SVK, WAL 3-0 RUS)—the Dragons only Loss in Group B play was to England, 2-1—and 1-0 over Northern Ireland (Round of 16) and 3-1 over Belgium (Quarterfinals) in this current Knockout Stage. Bale (3 goals) and Wales seem like a team of destiny with Bale (EURO 2016 Top Goalscorer +750 at Bwin) with the 26-year-old native of Cardiff and Real Madrid winger being one of the best two players in the tournament to date (France’s Dimitri Payet the other), but the Dragons will be without lynchpin Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) and LB Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur) who will both miss the biggest match in their nation’s history due to Yellow Card Suspension after both Wales players received second bookings in the win over the Red Devils in the Quarters.

With Midfielder Ramsey out, expect either Andy King (Anytime Goalscorer +900 at Paddy Power) or Jonny Williams (Anytime Goalscorer +900 at Paddy Power) to start in his spot. Murray assisted on two of the Dragons goals against Belgium, the first on captain Ashley Williams (Anytime Goalscorer 25/1 at Bwin) equalizer and the second on a wonderful strike by Hal Robson-Kanu (Anytime Goalscorer +450 at Betfred). But a caution in the 74th minute for handling the ball has the 25-year-old native of Caerphilly out and missing.

In the Win over Belgium in the Quarterfinals, Coleman had a Starting XI of GK Wayne Hennessey; Defenders Ben Davies, Ashley Williams and James Chester; Joe Ledley, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey in the holding and central MF; Chris Gunter and Neil Taylor as Wingers in the AMF; and Hal Robson-Kanu and Gareth Bale up top in an almost 3-2-2-2 tactical attacking formation. Sam Vokes was subbed in for Robson-Kanu and scored in the 85th minute to seal the win for Wales at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Thursday and send Bale (EURO 2016 Top Goalscorer +750 at Betway) and Wales on to this fun Semifinals matchup. The two name the Finalists Prop bets matchups involving Wales see a Germany-Wales (high) EURO 2016 Final priced at +400 (at Bet365) with a France-Wales also currently lined at (a high of) +400 (at BetVictor).

 

 

Weather Forecast, Conclusions, Free Soccer Picks
Like we had mentioned in a previous article, Ramsey's absence will definitely hurt Wales in these semifinals, fortunately for them, of the possible three other teams left in the tournament, they are facing the least strong one in Portugal.

The absence of Ramsey will definitely hurt Wales here, but luckily for the Dragons, they are in the side of the Bracket which didn’t draw the EURO 2016 hosts (France,+200 to win EURO 2016, Coral) or the defending World Cup champions (Germany, +184 to win EURO 2016, 888Sport), so all is still well in Cardiff, for now at least for now. The Weather Forecast for Lyon on Wednesday is calling for Clear Skies, a Low of 57° with NNW Winds of 5-10 mph and 68% Humidity, so just a little brisk for Summer. But with most sportsbooks likely hanging a 2 (Total) for this match, the number (as always) is the great equalizer.

So this first Semifinal may all come down to the play of the Goalkeepers, Portugal’s Rui Patrício (Sporting Clube de Portugal) and Wales’ Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace). We get the sense that The feel here is to give the slightest of nods to Wales here, as it at least the Dragons have won matches in 90 minutes in this EURO 2016 and it seems that CR7 (Anytime Goalscorer +125 at BetVictor), Nani (Anytime Goalscorer +350 at Paddy Power) and Eder (Anytime Goalscorer +125 at BetVictor) appear to have reached as far as they could, based on pure sheer luck.

Can Portugal finally play a fluid game on Offense? With its anemic track record through these first five EURO matches—and Wales seeming like a team of destiny lead by the pony-tailed warrior Bale (Bale/Wales Winner/Top Goalscorer Double, 22/1 at Paddy Power)—the answer is ‘No’ and the perceived value edge here is with the underdog Welsh who may also get the indifferent nations’ Crowd support playing the role of The Little Engine That Could in this EURO 2016.

These two nations haven’t ended up meeting much in international competitions with Wales (FIFA ranking #26) only lately making some noise worldwide, but Portugal is 2-0-1 (7 GF-3 GA) in its 3 lone meetings against Wales, winning in Friendlies in 1949 (3-2), 1951 (2-1) and the most recent meeting, in 2000 (3-0). So in the context of this mid-week EURO 2016 Semifinal match, that’s all meaningless and irrelevant Ancient History even though the words will say that Wales has never beaten Portugal. It hasn’t had to until now. Although this one again seems too close to call and may end up requiring Extra Time, the edge goes to the team playing with just a little more Heart and a little more Confidence. Someone may have a chance to be a big hero here late in the 2nd Half, in Extra Time or perhaps in another Penalty Kick shootout. This should be great Soccer theater although a tough handicap.


Free Soccer Pick:  Wales Draw No Bet +180, Wales to Qualify +164 
Best Line Offered: at 888Sport
Predicted Final Score: Portugal 1 – Wales 1