Euro 2016 Group F: Alaba and Arnautovic reason enough to back Austria against Hungary
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | June 12, 2016
Austria v Hungary
- Euro 2016 Group E
- Tuesday, June 14th
- Kick-off: 17:00 BST
- Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
- Live on ITV
Neighbours collide in pool opener
Austria v Hungary is one of the most played international football fixtures with 135 previous meetings since their first encounter in 1902, and it is with a squad containing Bayern Munich’s versatile David Alaba and Stoke City leading scorer Marko Arnautovic that punters should side.
Hungary are no longer the Magical Magyars of old and the wide generation gap in their roster explains why Coral make them 19/4 outsiders to upset their neighbours. Even a draw looks unlikely at 5/2.
As Austria are blessed with above talents, plus proven poacher Marc Janko and Leicester City’s Premier League title-winning left back Christian Fuchs, they start as worthy odds-on 7/10 favourites to take this Euro 2016 Group F opener.
History beckons for Austrians
Qualification for major tournaments is something of a novelty for these two in modern times, with their golden eras being some time ago, so the expanded format of the Euros has benefited both.
Topping their group en route to the France finals, Austria are a mean defensive unit that conceded an average of one goal every two games, and that makes them better value at 31/20 to win to nil.
Last earning a major competitive victory over the Hungarians in 1934, Austria simply won’t get a better chance to lay down a marker than here.
Alaba and Arnautovic the scorer shouts
Best known for playing left back for his club team, Alaba is not only the Austrian penalty-taker, but is deployed in midfield on international duty.
Bearing this and his natural attacking instincts in mind, Alaba is an awesome 11/4 anytime scorer shout, having netted four in qualifying that includes strikes home and away against Sweden.
Potters attacker Arnautovic, meanwhile, has just had his best season in front of goal in England. Among his dozen across all competitions have been some big goals.
Therefore, safer odds of 7/4 say Arnautovic will find the target anytime, and this is a more tempting price than fellow winger Martin Harnik (6/4) and leading Austria marksman in qualifying Janko (evens).
Hungarian Scholes could have impact
Zoltan Gera, yes he’s still going West Bromwich Albion and Fulham fans, scored first the last time these two countries met almost a decade ago, but it’s a bold 16/1 shot for him to do so again. Taking Gera anytime instead at 6/1 might be wiser if it’s Hungary you fancy.
Laszlo Kleinheisler, ‘the Hungarian Paul Scholes’, is one to watch, having bagged the winner in Norway during the Euro 2016 play-offs. He has plenty to live up to for the comparison to be worthy, but Kleinheisler is 5/1 anytime here.
Hungary shared their goals around in qualifying, so it is a case of hedging your bets in the scorer markets. Tamas Priskin, once of Watford and Ipswich Town, is the 11/4 anytime favourite for them.
Handicap betting worth a look
One country has Championship calibre players, then, and the other Premier League or above. With all due respect to Hungary, Austria should prove far too strong for them and so the handicaps yield value.
Give Austria just a one-goal deficit to overturn in this market, and a 21/10 price is your reward. Even more appealing, however, is a handicap of -2 that could more than easily come off.
Sweet 6/1 odds are available for Alaba, Arnautovic and co to cover starting with a two-goal handicap, and that is simply splendid value when you look at the key battles on paper.
Coral’s top tip: Take a superb 6/1 on Austria beating Hungary with a -2 handicap.