Germany (+½, -160) vs. Spain (-½, +140, 2½u -150, LVH) (ABC, 11:45 a.m. PT): The Germans held on to a 3-2 win against upstart Turkey on Wednesday while the Spanish shut out Russia, 3-0 on Thursday to advance to this championship game in Vienna, Austria.
If you read Bild, the biggest-selling tabloid in Germany, you would think the Germans have no chance in this final and that they would need "to show an improvement of at least 200 percent if they were to stand a chance against the winners of Thursday’s second semifinal between Spain and Russia."
But not so fast soccer fans. That’s just some members of the German press expecting everything from their team and not putting enough credence into the fact that Turkey had a really strong tournament despite all its injuries and suspensions. This will surely be a fast-paced and closely contested game that may go to extra time or even penalty kicks. (Penalty kicks to decide Euro 2008? How anticlimactic!).
On offense, both teams are solid, with Germany boasting Ballck, Schweinsteiger and Klose while Spain has Torres, Xavi and Villa. In goal, I would have to give the edge to Spain as goalkeeper Iker Casillas has been stellar allowing just two goals in four appearances – including two straight clean sheets in the quarters and semis (shutouts to us Americans) – while German keeper Jens Lehman has been choppy at best, allowing two goals alone to Turkey in the semifinal victory.
With the side being a tough pick here (although ESPN’s Tommy Smyth favors Germany, I think Spain will get it done), let’s look at the total as the best betting opportunity. And with the number set at 2½ goals, let’s side with the OVER 2½, as Germany should score at least once or twice and so should Spain in what will be a back-and-forth game for all the marbles here. Plus, will get a nice healthy plus (130-140) with the juice on the OVER (for 90 minutes). A late note on key injuries for the teams: Spain's David Villa, the leading scorer in the tournament, is out while Germany's Michael Ballack is listed as "Doubtful" by ESPN.
DRAW LINE: SPAIN +120, GERMANY +200, DRAW +210.