Europa League Free Bets
Europe’s secondary club competition that runs alongside the Champions League and even offers teams who have dropped out of that competition a chance for some silverware. However as of last season, the winner of the Europa League now gets a spot in the following season's Champions League. With a greater incentive than ever in winning the Europa League, expect an even greater level of interest and an even more competitive nature between sides.
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Europa League 2017-18 Betting
Arsenal remain the favourites in the outright betting for the Europa League despite losing away to Koln last time out. The 1-0 defeat in Germany it should be said however will not really affect the Gunners in anyway as they are already assured as group winners and have progressed in to the knockout stages. Arsene Wenger has so far used the competition to experiment and give game time to some of his fringe players and they have nonetheless been relatively comfortable so far. As we head in to the knockout stages, expect the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil to feature more prominently.
Even with one group stage fixture remaining, there are 15 other sides that are also guaranteed of their place in the knockout stages. Lazio are one of those teams and the Italians have been impressive both in this competition and in their own domestic league this season and are a looking to be a good value outside bet to go all the way. Fellow Italians AC Milan are second favourites behind Arsenal at present however the Rossoneri are struggling domestically and look under-priced given some of their results this season.
The knockout stages of this competition are however where things get really interesting with the third placed teams in the Champions League groups joining the fray. Atletico Madrid look to be one of them as do Borussia Dortmund. Both of these sides have enormous European pedigree and could even replace Arsenal as favourites. Atletico in particular would be a force to be reckoned with, having reached the Champions League semi-finals last season and the final on two occasions since 2014. Italian league leaders Napoli could also drop down and they would be another who would could well be installed as favourites.
What are the best free Europa League bets for me?
With the complex nature of qualification for the tournament and of course the Champions League teams parachuting into the knockout stages then backing teams from the outset of the competition can be a more dangerous prospect betting for free on the Europa League than in many other competitions.
Having said that, it does mean that the odds in the winners market are far longer than they would often be otherwise at the start of the tournament. If you can pick a team that is going straight into the Europa League with the potential to win it, ousting their Champions League rivals then there is plenty of money to be made on it at an early stage.
When the group stage gets going in September then the qualification market is a popular one and can be very profitable if you can eye one of the surprise packages of the competition. A feature of the Europa League is that some of the bigger more reputable sides perhaps do not take it as seriously as some of their lesser competitors and if you can highlight one of these less motivated teams then backing their smaller opponents can make you big bucks.
One market in which the teams heading into the contest from the start have is in the top goalscorer charts. Those teams playing in the group stage and with the capability of reaching the quarter-finals or beyond are more than likely to produce the top goalscorer in the competition which is always a popular market in any cup competition.
As it doesn’t quite draw the audience that the Champions League does, markets for the Europa League aren’t quite as extensive, even though it provides yet more chances to watch Europe's most popular sport.
Odds are available on every game throughout the tournament with the usual markets like correct score, first goalscorer, match result and which team will qualify for the next round (in the group and knockout stages).
Just like Champions League betting, the rise in popularity of the accumulator - betting on the outcome of more than one game - has meant more and more punters are using their Europa League Free Bets on multiple match results. Due to its popularity some bookmakers now offer the chance to cash out an accumulator if all but one of the results are coming in or offer money back if one game lets you down.
Other markets available to use your free Europa League bet on include:
- Overall winner
- Team to reach the final
- To win the individual groups
- To score the most goals
How to use your Europa League free bet...
Markets on the Europa League are available to bet on pretty much from the end of the football season across Europe but as mentioned it can be a little unwise to empty your wallet on a team at this stage. The odds are bigger but with so much to change between then and the knockout stages it is worth being a patient before unleashing a free bet.
Once you have made your mind up on what market you most fancy and with which bookmaker then click on the bookmaker link on the right of this screen which will take you through to their homepage. Once there follow the simple steps to register an account with them and then you are good to go in terms of using your free Europa League bet.
Find the football market which will generally be near the top of the sportsbook and head to Europa League Betting which will be in the football tree. Click on the odds you want to back which will add the selection to your betting slip and then you can cash in your free bet. It may sound like there is a lot to it but it could not be easier and in no time at all you will be counting your winnings.
The Europa League is a modern adaptation of the old UEFA Cup, which used to be a straight knockout competition for teams that didn’t quite qualify for the Champions League. There was also a competition for domestic cup winners called the Cup Winners Cup but that was scrapped in the late 1990s and now winners of cup competitions are entered into the Europa League.
In 2009 the mini tournament the Intertoto Cup was merged into the Europa League and it was also decided that teams who went out in the group stage of the Champions League would get a second bite at some silverware by being allowed to enter the latter stages of the Europa League.
Like the Champions League, the Europa League has a group stage where the winners and runners up qualify for a later knockout stage, culminating in a final in May. Initial qualifying starts in early July meaning it has the potential of being a full nine month cup campaign for the plucky underdogs coming in at the very first stage. Having a bet for free on the Europa League in the early stage can throw up some big and tempting odds.
The group stage consists of 12 groups of four teams who all play each other twice and the two top teams from each group move into the round of 32. The observant amongst you will have noticed that 12x4 does not equal 32 and that is because these 24 teams are joined in the first knockout stage by the eight teams who came third in their Champions League group phase. It is often these teams that become favourites for the tournament when they join from Europe’s premier competition with just the knockout phase to go.
Who has previously won?
Traditionally teams who weren’t quite good enough to win Europe’s big brother competition - AKA The Champions League - or bigger teams who had fallen on hard times have entered and won the Europa League.
The last few years of the Europa League have seen a mixed bag of winners but it has been Spanish teams that have been most successful since the turn of the millennium, making them a popular choice for a free Europa League bet. The title has been won by 28 different clubs in total; 12 of which have won the title more than once. The most successful club in the competition's history are Sevilla with five titles. Juventus, Inter Milan and Liverpool have all won it three times.
Manchester United won the 2017 edition as they defeated Dutch giants Ajax 2-0 in the final in Stockholm. It was United's first ever success in the competition and puts them in with a select group of European sides to have ever won the three main UEFA competitions, the Champions League, the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup as well as this tournament. Prior to the Manchester club's success, Sevilla had won the competition three times on the bounce and as earlier mentioned, the Spanish sides have generally enjoyed a fair bit of success in recent years. Since the 2003/04 season, the competition has been won by a side from Spain on eight occasions making the nation the most successful producer of Europa League/UEFA Cup winning sides.
Some familiar names make the top scorer lists in the Europa League/UEFA Cup including former Manchester United and Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao who scored a mightily impressive 31 goals in 33 games in the competition for Porto and Atletico Madrid. Former Celtic star Henrik Larsson is the highest scorer ever in the competition with 40 goals in 56 games while the best goals-to-game record goes to German striker and former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes who notched 23 goals in 21 games in the late 1960s.
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