“It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas” are lyrics to a well known festive song and that's how I'm feeling if you take away the word “Christmas” and replace with “the football season is starting.”
Last summer we had the World Cup to keep us occupied and although this year we've had the Women's World Cup and Copa America to keep us busy (I personally avoided both) plus the usual Nordic and Estonian leagues, nothing beats betting on teams you know about and that's certainly the case from this week onwards.
We have Europa League and Champions League qualifiers, dozens of friendlies involving Scottish and English sides plus we see the 1st of the Betfred League Cup group games in Scotland. Welcome back football.
Here's my take on this coming week's football card.
Quietest day of the week by some stretch – really not much standing out, there are a couple of African Nations matches but other than that it's really slim pickings.
There are two Norwegian games I may have a look at but it could be a no bet day.
- Eight Champions League qualifiers including Celtic's trip to Bosnia
- Three Europa League qualifiers including Rangers' trip to Gibraltar
- It's friendlies daft – 56 in Europe and 36 English and Scottish friendlies – and these can be fantastic to bet on for goals
- Eight Champions League qualifiers
Quite Like Rosenborg away to Linfield (St Johnstone beat Linfield 4-2 on Saturday and the Norwegian season is in full flight).
- 44 Europa League qualifiers
You'll be lucky if a handful of these teams make it to the group stage but it certainly offers punters the chance to get the edge over the bookies who have little knowledge of half of these teams.
Both Aberdeen and Kilmarnock are in action and I'll be taking a proper look earlier in the week – definitely money to be made.
- Betfred Cup – Hearts vs Dundee United
- There's the usual Japanese and Chinese games on Saturday morning but it's all about the Betfred Cup with 14 games and this will be my main focus, especially Hibs away at Stirling Albion.
- Danish Superliga returns and another mass of friendlies.
All the best for the week ahead.