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And with the future odds.

When the France squad was announced on Tuesday, May 18, there was one notable name that jumped off the page right away: Karim Benzema.

The Real Madrid striker, who has won everything there is to win at the club level (four UEFA Champions League titles, four Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, three La Liga titles, the list goes on), has been out of the French set up for five years due to a scandal, will be in the squad for the  2020 UEFA European Championship betting, which kicks off June 11.

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It is huge news for the reigning World Cup champions, who now have an iconic talisman to put up top next to Kylian Mbappe.

The news immediately was felt in the gambling world, as the French team, despite coming into the tournament as the world champion, had been either second or third choice with the sportsbooks, depending on which site you checked. That is not the case now, though: one look at the futures odds the next morning showed Les Bleus had been elevated to the top choice, ahead of England, at around +500 odds (5-1).

Will Benzema make that much of a difference to the team?


He is an iconic striker, and has scored, and continues to score, huge goals for a rebuilding Real Madrid team that goes into the last weekend of the La Liga campaign with a shot to win back-to-back titles.

Benzema is a winner. He immediately brings senior savvy to this squad, and also allows Olivier Giroud to come into matches late on as an impact substitute.

I am going to be honest here: I was going to pick France to replicate what it did in 1998 and 2000, and hold both the World Cup and European titles at the same time. Even though they are in the “Group of Death”, with Portugal, Germany, and Hungary all in Group F, I have a lot more confidence that this squad can make another deep run with Benzema up top next to Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

Remember, too, France is looking to make it's third straight major final after Les Bleus lost 1-0 in extra time at the 2016 Euros to Portugal. Their odds of +500 are probably going to stay around there until the tournament starts June 11: most of the other teams that can win, like

England (odds +525), Belgium (odds +600), Germany (odds +750), and Portugal (odds +800), will not have this kind of surprise announcement.

But no matter who you back, you are going to get great odds.

If you or anyone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

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