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.
Republic of Ireland are 21/10 with Bet365 to draw with Wales tonight
2018-19 Europa League
A new season begins and the qualifying rounds for the 2018-19 Europa League began while the World Cup was taking place. A lengthy qualification process includes teams who are eliminated from the Champions League in that competition's early qualifying rounds. England are represented this season byBurnley, Chelsea and Arsenal. Both Chelsea and Arsenal go directly into the group stages, while Burnley will have to play six games if they wish to join them at that stage of the competition. Unfortunately Burnley made it through to the play-off rounds after defeating Aberdeen and Istanbul Basakhesir but lost 4-2 on aggregate to Olympiakos. Both Celtic and Rangers qualified for the group stages.
Draw for the Group Stages (top two in each group qualify for the knock-out stages)
- Group A: Bayer Leverkusen, Ludogrets Razgrad, Zurich and AEK Larnaca
- Group B: Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic, RB Leipzig and Rosenborg
- Group C: Zenit St Petersburg, FC Copenhagen, Bordeaux and Slavia Prague
- Group D: Anderlecht, Fenerbache, Dinamo Zagreb and Spartak Tranava
- Group E: Arsenal, Sporting Lisbon, Qarabag and FC Vorskla
- Group F: Olympiakos, AC Milan, Real Betis and Dudelange
- Group G: Villarreal, Rapid Vienna, Spartak Moscow and Rangers
- Group H: Lazio, Marseille, Frankfurt and Apollon Limasol
- Group I: Besiktas, Genk, Malmo and Sarpsborg
- Group J: Sevilla, Krasnodar, Standard Liege and Akhisharspor
- Group K: Dynamo Kiev, FC Astana, Rennes and Jablonec
- Group L: Chelsea, PAOK, BATE Borisov and Vidi FC
Group matches begin on September 20 and the knock-out stages (where teams finishing third in their Champions League groups join the Europa League) on February 14 and 21, 2019. The final will be held on May 29,2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
A look at the opponents British sides face
- Rosenborg - A familiar opponent for Celtic as they played them in the Champions League qualifers both this and last season, winning both ties.
- Red Bull Salzburg - Played Celtic in the 2014-15 Europa League group stages. Red Bull won 3-1 at Celtic Park and drew 2-2 at home.
- RB Leipzig - Reached the quarter finals of this competition last season losing to finalists Marseille.
- Sporting Lisbon - Arsenal have only played Sporting Lisbon on two occasions. They met in the 1969-70 Fairs Cup drawing the away first leg 0-0 and Swinning at Highbury 3-0.
- Qarabag began the season in the Champions League losing in the third qualifying round to BATE Borisov. Only won one of their last eight away games in European competiton and last season played Chelsea in the Champions League losing 4-0 at home and 6-0 at Stamford Bridge.
- FC Vorskla - Ukranian side are in group stages for first time since the 2011-12 season and not scored in last four away games in European competition.
- Villarreal - Never played Rangers in European competition. Knocked out in the last 32 of the Europa League for the past two seasons but reached the semi-finals in 2015/16 being beaten by Liverpool.
- Rapid Vienna - Only previous meeting with Rangers was in the 1964/65 European Cup with Rangers winning 5-0 on aggregate.
- Spartak Moscow - Lost 7-0 at Liverpool last season. Never played Rangers in European tournaments.
- PAOK - Lost to Spartak Moscow in the third qualifying round of the Champions League this season having previously beaten FC Basel.
- BATE Borisov - Lost to PSV in the Champions League play-off round. Played Arsenal in the Europa League last season losing 4-2 at home and 6-0 at the Emirates.
- Vidi FC - Hungarian side previously known as Videoton. Lost to AEK Athens in the Champions League play-off round.
Atletico Madrid Win the 2017-18 Europa League
Atletico Madrid didn't have winning the Europa League as their target for this season but that's how it ended. A poor run in the Champions League saw them finish third behind Chelsea and Roma leading to a transfer to the Europa League which they went on to win after beating Marseille 3-0 wiith two goals from Grieizmann and the other from Kabi.
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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