UEFA has announced the introduction of a third club competition below the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League – the UEFA Europa Conference League. So, who qualifies for this exciting new tournament and what is it all about? Find out in this UEFA Europa Conference League betting guide.
- What Is the Europa Conference League?
- Best Betting Sites We Recommend for Europa Conference League
- Best Betting Sites for Europa Conference League Betting – Ranked
- The UEFA Europa Conference 2021–22 so far
- UEFA Europa Conference League Odds (Outright)
- UEFA Europa Conference League Format
- How and Which Leagues Qualify for the Europa Conference League
- When Will the Europa Conference League Take Place?
- 5 Reasons to Watch & Bet on the Europa Conference League
- Popular Europa Conference League Betting Markets
- UEFA Europa Conference League Betting FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
What Is the Europa Conference League?
The Europa Conference League is a brand-new tournament set to kick off in the 2021/22 season. The event will welcome clubs from a diversity of lower-ranked European leagues, presenting them with a stage to compete for glory and making for some fantastic football betting opportunities in the process.
As things stand, most teams that consistently make it to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League stem from Europe’s top ten to thirteen leagues. When it comes to the winners, the list is even narrower. No team outside of England, Spain or Germany has won the Champions League or Europa League/UEFA Cup since 2011.
The Europa Conference League is being organised with the view to enhance inclusivity and give teams that are usually financially out-muscled the chance to compete at a European level.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has said, “The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA's club competitions more inclusive than ever before. There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.”
The revenue generated through broadcasted matches will help strengthen these clubs and facilitate their climb up the food chain of European football.
Best Betting Sites for Europa Conference League Betting – Ranked
#5 LV BET
The UEFA Europa Conference 2021–22 so far
So far, the 2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference has provided us with some excellent football, showing that even mid-tier European teams have plenty to offer.
The one major surprise of the competition was Tottenham’s exit in the group stage. Antonio Conte’s men will feel aggrieved to have been dumped out of the tournament after a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad left limited numbers available for their contest against Rennes at home. They were forced to postpone the game, which resulted in a forfeit and a 3-0 win for the French outfit. It allowed Rennes to finish top of Europa Conference League Group G, and leave Tottenham in third place and out of the tournament.
Spurs were one of the leading contenders to win the UEFA Europa Conference League, and the competition is now wide open, especially with the introduction of the eight teams that finished in third place in their respective Europa League groups.
Leicester, PSV Eindhoven, Marseille and Celtic are eye-catching names that have joined the competition as a result of their failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League. They still have to advance from the knockout play-off against the second-place outfits from the group stage before taking on the elite of the Europa Conference League.
All four of those sides will be hungry for success, although Roma, Basel, Copenhagen, AZ and Rennes will all still fancy their chances, notably the Italian giants, of winning the competition.
The UEFA Europa Conference Knockout Playoffs
The playoffs begin on February 17, with the first leg of the round of 32 before the second leg taking place on February 24. Here are the fixtures and odds for the contests from Unibet.
|Date||Fixture||Home Win||Draw||Away Win|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Fenerbahce v Slavia Prague||21/20||13/5||49/20|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||PSV Eindhoven v Maccabi Tel Aviv||27/100||24/5||10/1|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Midtjylland v PAOK||1/1||5/2||11/4|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Rapid Vienna v Vitesse||13/10||5/2||41/20|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Marseille v Qarabag||3/10||21/5||10/1|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Leicester City v Randers||1/4||24/5||11/1|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Sparta Prague v Partizan Belgrade||1/1||5/2||11/4|
|17 Feb 17:45 GMT||Celtic v Bodo/Glimt||21/50||15/4||6/1|
Europa Conference League Predictions
We predict the following home wins for the first legs of the contest given the discrepancy in quality between the sides.
Fenerbahce seemingly have a stronger squad than Slavia Prague, but their form in the Turkish Super Lig has not been outstanding this term. A draw at 13/5 could provide value for a punt, as well as the odds for Slavia Prague to advance should they create a strong position for the second leg, which they will host on the 24th.
PSV Eindhoven have been in dominant form in their last two outings, beating NAC Breda and Vitesse and scoring nine goals in the process. Look for PSV to brush aside Maccabi Tel Aviv with relative ease in the first leg at 27/100 and the tie as a whole.
Midtjylland are top of the Danish Super Liga; although they crashed out of the Europa League by a narrow margin, they will have ambitions of returning to form in Europe. PAOK are in second place in the Greek top flight and are in excellent form, entering the contest with four-straight wins. A draw at 5/2 might be a good option to take, and perhaps of the PAOK to advance overall in the tie.
Neither Rapid Vienna nor Vitesse are in good form ahead of the contest. Vienna have lost their last two matches, while Vitesse have suffered four defeats on the bounce. Home advantage could be key for Vienna to get back on their feet, so the option of 13/10 for a home win is a sound bet.
Marseille and Qarabag is seemingly a mismatch. The French side are second in Ligue 1 and are in good form outside of a 4-1 defeat to Nice in the Coupe de France. They bounced back with a solid 2- win on the road against Metz last time out and should ease past Qarabag in the first leg, with 3/10 odds for Marseille to triumph.
Leicester have been up and down of late and manager Brendan Rodgers is under fire as a result. The Foxes need a performance to stem the negative momentum that has built up in recent weeks. They conceded a last-minute goal against West Ham in their last Premier League game, but will have more than enough to see off Danish team Randers on home soil at 1/4.
Sparta Prague and Partizan Belgrade appear to be well-matched sides, so it will be an interesting tie to see whether the Czech team or Serbian outfit come out on top. Partizan were not in great form in Europe in the group stage, while Sparta had their moments in the Europa League before missing out on the next phase of the competition. A home win at 1/1 might be the safe option to bet.
Celtic are on a roll ahead of their clash against Bodo/Glimt. The Bhoys have won their last nine matches, including a 4-0 hammering of Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup. However, they cannot afford to take Bodo/Glimt lightly after the Norwegian outfit beat Roma 6-1 in the group stage. Bodo/Glimt have the attacking flair to put the Scottish team under pressure, but expect Celtic to prevail on home soil in the first leg at 21/50 and overall in the tie.
UEFA Europa Conference League Odds (Outright)
Below are the outright odds for the biggest favourites to win the competition:
|Maccabi Tel Aviv||125/1||bet365|
*Odds are subject to change.
UEFA Europa Conference League Format
A total of 184 teams from 55 UEFA member associations (countries) will participate in the qualifying rounds to try and book their place in the final competition. No teams will be able to secure an automatic spot in the group stage via their domestic league.
The group stage will consist of 32 teams that will come through one of the following 3 routes:
- 17 teams will be from the Europa Conference League main path (featuring clubs from smaller leagues that didn’t win their domestic league title);
- 5 teams from the Europa Conference League champions path (featuring league champions that were knocked out of Champions League or Europa League qualifiers);
- 10 teams eliminated from the UEFA Europa League playoffs.
These teams will then be split into 8 groups of 4 teams, with the 8 group winners progressing directly to the last 16. The 8 runners-up and 8 third-placed teams will compete in an additional round against each other – the knockout round playoffs – to determine which 8 teams will join the group winners in the round of 16. The last 16 round will then be followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.
The inaugural Europa Conference League final will be hosted by recently opened 21,690-capacity National Arena (Arena Kombëtare) in Tirana, Albania. The winners will be rewarded with a spot in the following season’s Europa League group stage, unless they have already qualified for the Champions League via their domestic league.
How and Which Leagues Qualify for the Europa Conference League
There are two ways teams can qualify for the Europa Conference League: the Champions Path and the League Path.
The Champions Path is for teams that lost qualification for the Champions League group stage. Thus, they will get a second chance at glory.
For the League Path, each European nation is assigned a number of spots, based on rankings.
- Nations with ranking 1 to 5: one team
- Nations with ranking 6 to 15: two teams
- Nations with ranking 16 to 50 three teams
- Nations with ranking 16 to 50 three teams
- Nations with ranking 51 to 55: two teams
It is worth pointing out that each country will have the same amount of teams qualifying for continental football as they did before the launch of the Conference League. The tournament is essentially a secondary tournament for the lower teams of the existing Europa League tournament.
When Will the Europa Conference League Take Place?
Qualifiers for the UEFA Europa Conference League commenced on the 8th of July 2021, with the group stage of the competition following on the 16th of September of the same year. Matches were played on Thursdays at 17:45 GMT and 20:00 GMT, the same time as Europa League games.
Remaining Europa Conference League schedule & key dates:
- Quarter-finals: 7th & 14thApril 2022
- Semi-finals: 28th April & 5th May 2022
- Final: 25th May 2022
5 Reasons to Watch & Bet on the Europa Conference League
- You'll become more familiar with teams from oft-forgotten leagues. How much do you know about teams in Switzerland, Israel or Latvia?
- Find betting value. With the quality of most teams relatively unknown, bookies’ odds won’t be as close to reality as they are in the top competitions. This gives you plenty of opportunity to exploit.
- It’s anyone’s trophy. This is a new competition with an aura of unpredictability, meaning that, unlike the two UEFA competitions above it, anyone could triumph.
- Discover hidden gems scattered around Europe. This tournament will be a golden stage for rising stars to display their talents to a wider audience.
- It will be charged with emotion. A competition like this will mean a heck of a lot to those involved, and it certainly won’t be lacking in passion or desire.
Popular Europa Conference League Betting Markets
With every sports tournament comes plenty of exciting betting markets, some of which are:
A wager on which team will win the trophy. This will be available both before and after the competition starts.
Best bookie for Outright Winner: Unibet
With so many games taking place within a few hours on Thursday nights, an ambitious accumulator bet may well be worth a shot. This is comprised of multiple selections that are combined into one bet, giving you greater odds in the process. Look out for accumulator offers – many bookies have started offering acca insurance type bets where your stake is given back to you as a free bet if one selection falls short, as well as acca odds boosts.
Best bookie for accumulator betting: BetVictor
Asian Handicap Market
This is especially useful for matches with a stark difference in quality. Using the Asian handicap market, each team can be given a certain number of goal handicaps.
If you’re backing the favourite, you can boost the odds by giving them a minus handicap, meaning they’ll have to win by more than one goal for your bet to be successful. If you flip it on its head, you can back the underdog with a plus handicap, meaning they’ll have to avoid losing by more than one goal for you to win.
Best bookie for Asian handicap betting: STSBet
A bet on which player will score the highest number of goals throughout the competition. With so many obscure names taking part, this won’t be an easy market to predict. Looking into the domestic records of the top goalscorer for every team could shed some light on where the value lies, however.
Best bookie for Top Goalscorer: Coral
Tip: We recommend using KickForm for football tips, predictions and odds.
UEFA Europa Conference League Betting FAQs
Qualifiers began on the 8th of July 2021, while the proper tournament started on the 16th of September of the same year. The final will take place on 25th May 2022 at the National Arena in Tirana, Albania.
On the same Thursday nights as the Europa League, with games evenly split between the 17:45 GMT and 20:00 GMT slots.
A total of 32 teams will contest the final tournament.
The winner will be awarded with a place in the following year’s Europa League group stage, unless they have already qualified for the Champions League.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
As if the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League weren’t already enough, the UEFA Conference League is set to give us even more live action to look forward to. While it’s great to see the same giant clubs going toe-to-toe year in year out, we’re looking forward to discovering what Europe’s lower leagues have in store. Punters are always on the lookout for new opportunities to pounce on – and this competition might just be what they’ve been waiting for!