Soccer is such a wild sport. We are in the middle of massive title races in most of the major leagues, and then boom, the players now leave their clubs for two weeks for an international break. For Premier League leaders Arsenal, their biggest hope is that their players return from international duty without a scratch. There is no greater honor than representing your country on an international platform, but Arsenal are so close to winning their first Premier League title since the 2003-2004 season. Health is wealth in a title race. Either way, we embrace the international break and find bets to entertain and make us a few extra bucks. I have some action in the France vs. Netherlands Euro 2024 Qualification Match.
France vs. Netherlands (Friday, 3:45 pm ET)
Three-way Moneyline: France (-115) | Draw (+260) | Netherlands (+300)
France must quickly rebound from their defeat in the World Cup Final against Argentina and start a new campaign for silverware. They must say goodbye to a few familiar faces as they begin this new venture. Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, and Karim Benzema are two of the most notable players who have hung up their international boots. Their departure allows the next crop of French internationals to take over and for Kylian Mbappe to grab the armband and take over as France's captain.
The Dutch also have their own departures. Most notably, their manager Louis Van Gaal has retired from coaching this squad, and Ronald Koeman has stepped in as the new manager. The Dutch made strides under van Gaal, but their squad desperately needs an injection of youth.
This match is being played at the Stade de France in Paris. Not only do the French get a home-field advantage, but they also have a massive talent advantage. The French are led by arguably the best forward in today's game. The Golden Boot winner has been on a tear and should feel more pride being the new team captain.
I'm betting on France ML (-115). While on NBC Sports Bet the Edge with Drew, I was detailing all the great things that France did better than the Netherlands, and Drew quickly reminded me that France are a truck. I highlighted their massive talent advantage, but from a player-to-player matchup comparison, it becomes clearer why France should win this match.
France is lucky to have arguably the best player in the world in Mbappe. He has a matchup with Denzel Dumfries. Dumfries is a great defender, but he's battling an injury and might not be available for this match. It's difficult to match up with Mbappe at 100%; if he's anything less than that, his life could be difficult on Friday night. Should Dumfries not be able to go, they could be in for a heap of trouble.
The other side of the field features a matchup to watch. Manchester City's Nathan Ake is up against Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman. Ake looked great in his last two matches, but he has a much more difficult matchup than he did against Konrad Laimer and Michael Olise. Coman seems to have found his form this season. He has five goals and four assists for Bayern and is now a regular starter.
This match could end with France keeping a clean sheet. It has better odds, but I'm not greedy. Give me France on the money line.
Bet: France Moneyline (-115)