Rangers vs AlashkertUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Aug 19, 2021, Ibrox
RANGERS will return to the familiar territory of the Europa League on Thursday night when they welcome Alashkert to Ibrox.
The Glasgow giants Champions League dreams were shattered by 10-man Malmo last midweek, a humbling reality check that means Steve Gerrard's side will have to settle for another tilt at Europe's secondary club competition.
The Scottish champions have had a rocky start to the season, with that bruising setback against the Swedes marking the first time that Gerrard has presided over a trio of defeats in the Ibrox hot seat.
That was just the tonic for the Teddy Bears who will now be targeting back-to-back triumphs when Armenian champions Alashkert come to town.
Aleksandr Grigiryan's side are bidding to become the first side to represent their nation in a European group stage after squeezing past Kazakhstan's Kairat Almaty in the previous round.
Unsurprisingly, Rangers are heavily fancied here, with a home win trading at a lowly 1/8 with Bet 365.
Alashkert are big outsiders at a towering 20/1 with BetVictor while the stalemate is chalked up at 15/2 with the same firm.
Rangers are far too skinny to side with at the above-mentioned price but backing the hosts to overcome a -2 start on the asian handicap looks like a nice way in at 5/6 with UniBet.
Backing this selection means we'll only lose money should Rangers fail to win the game or if Gers emerge with a one-goal winning margin.
Rangers were well-nigh flawless at their Govan fortress last term, posting 19/19 wins in the Scottish Premiership, not to mention they didn't lose a continental clash until the second leg of their last 16 tie with Slavia Prague.
What's more, a commanding first leg lead would afford Gerrard the luxury of rotating his squad ahead of next week's taxing trip to Armenia, a game which lands just three days before the first Old Firm derby of the season.
Alashkert, on the other hand, have slumped to defeat in their opening two league matches of the season, shipping five goals in the process.
In fact, the out-of-sorts Armenian guests are winless inside 90 minutes across their eight matches and as such, I'll happily back Rangers with UniBet in the -2 Asian Handicap.
I'll also head to the Bet Builder market and combine Rangers to win, over three Rangers corners and over one Alashkert card, a 4/5 shot with Bet 365.
This fixture looks like another good opportunity for Gerrard's Gers to restore some confidence on a night where the hosts' are expected to dominate possession for long stages.
Rangers have been strong performers in the corner markets in recent weeks – racking up 32 flag kicks across their last three home matches – and it's also worth noting that each of the last three visiting sides to Ibrox have picked up at least two cautions.
What's more, the above-mentioned combination has clicked in each of Rangers' last two domestic matches on home turf and that only adds to the appeal of supporting the same formula at Ibrox on Thursday night.
This UEFA Europa League match between Rangers and Alashkert will be played on Aug 19, 2021 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Rangers vs Alashkert prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.