Football explodes back onto our screens this midweek with a busy few days of action coming to us from the Champions League and Europa League. It’s the first round qualifying stage of each of UEFA’s competitions but there’s a heavy British interest, especially for followers of Scottish football. Here are our top St Joseph’s v Rangers betting tips.
Celtic take on Sarajevo in the Champions League and you can read an in-depth preview of that match elsewhere on our site. The Europa League also sees Rangers, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen get their campaigns underway as they aim to drive themselves towards the money-spinning group stages. It’s unlikely we’ll see each of the four Scottish teams playing in the groups, but each are expected to get through the first round without encountering too much bother.
Great News for Football Fans
It’s great news for football fans as, following a summer drought spent showing an interest in the Women’s World Cup and Copa America, we are back in business. This may not be the most glamorous ties you’ll bet on this year, but they have caused a stir amongst followers of the beautiful game who see it for what it is – a sign that we are fast-approaching the new season. We are certainly delighted to have competitive club football back.
The minnows of European football, St Joseph’s, set up for this match having finished third in the Gibraltar top division last season and that stat alone tells us they will struggle when up against the might of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers over two legs. The home side know they are massive underdogs to get anything out of this fixture, despite enjoying home advantage, but they will also be made aware of the many shock results we’ve seen in this competition over the last few years, including Rangers being eliminated by Progress under Perdro Caixinha. Could we see another shocker for the Gers fans?
St Joseph’s understand there’s never a good time for them to play a team of Rangers standing in the game, but they also know their opponents are only recently back from their pre-season break and aren’t up to full fitness yet. The locals played a game in the last round of the Europa League where they snuck through over two legs against all the odds. 180 minutes of competitive football only helps their chances and they’ll be a little fresher and fitter than the Glaswegians. To make that count they must explode out of the traps and make a fast start, aiming to catch Rangers off-guard. What’s the chances of that happening? Slim to none, according to bookmakers.
Gerrard Made Changes
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard made sweeping chances to the Ibrox team when taking charge last season. His first job was to clear out the deadwood and bring in fresh, hungry and ambitious players who could not only win football matches, but also thrive in the white-hot heat of playing at Ibrox. Any Rangers player must have the character to perform on a regular basis in front of 50,000 fans cheering every shot, save and foul. The support expect a win, regardless of if they are matched with Brechin or Barcelona and demand 100% effort every time the team cross the white line.
UEFA took their time over announcing this match and, eventually, went for a Tuesday evening kick-off to avoid clashing with other fixtures. That led to a last-minute scramble for Rangers fans to arrange tickets and travel to Gibraltar but the blues faithful will make it to the stadium in their thousands, filling the away end and aiming to sneak into the home stands, such is their demand to welcome their side into the new season. The home team won’t know what’s hit them and it’ll be the first time many have played in front of a massive audience. It’s second nature to the Rangers players and that will make all the difference when the first whistle sounds.
There’s no surprise to see Rangers have been marked up as favourites to beat St Joseph’s and move into the next round. Many are expecting a free-scoring evening with the visitors putting on a show but it’s worth remembering they are still a few weeks behind full fitness and that should show in their performance. Gerrard won’t want to push his players hard at this stage and risk injury, so we expect him to use his squad over the two legs.
Rangers Will Put This to Bed
The Scots are good enough to put this tie to bed at the earliest opportunity and that will allow them to change things up when they are back at Ibrox next week. Bookmakers have Rangers as firm favourites across the board and punters looking to back the away win will find no more than 1/16 available at William Hill. That tells us exactly what traders expect to see here. The draw has been chalked up as an 8/1 shot by the same company but that shouldn’t attract much more attention. The home win has been laughed out of town with a chunky 20/1 price tag attached.
There’s more going on in the specials and you’ll get 1/3 if you take no in the both teams to score market or the 9/4 says St Joseph’s and Rangers will both be on target, those quotes taken from the William Hill site. Picking a goal scorer looks your best chance at landing a decent price. Former England striker Jermain Defoe will benefit from a full pre-season and he scored at Ibrox against Oxford at the weekend in a 5-0 rout. The striker is worth backing to hit the net again on Tuesday. Our NAP, however, is the Rangers win to nil at 4/11 with William Hill.