Rangers vs Real BetisUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Sep 21, 2023, Ibrox
RANGERS begin their Europa League campaign when they come up against Real Betis at Ibrox on Thursday night.
The Glasgow giants' dreams of a quickfire return to the Champions League were shattered after being eviscerated 5-1 in the second leg of their playoff tie with PSV Eindhoven last month, on a night where my solitary selection at the Philips Stadion landed with relative ease.
That means Rangers will return to the familiar territory of the Europa League where they have been placed in Group C alongside Real Betis, Sparta Prague and Aris Limassol.
The Light Blues warmed up for their section opener by easing some of the pressure that has been mounting on manager Michael Beale's shoulders with a much-needed 2-0 win at St Johnstone on Saturday.
As for Real Betis, their preparations for this Group C curtain-raiser were far from ideal after they were thumped 5-0 away at Barcelona on Saturday.
It has been a mixed start to the season for Manuel Pellegrini's men, who lie 10th in La Liga, with two wins, a draw and two defeats to show for their efforts so far.
Real Betis, who fell to defeat at Celtic Park in the Europa League group stages two seasons ago, are narrow 17/10 outsiders with William Hill.
Rangers defensive deficiencies were clear for all to see in Europe last season and the same shortcomings reared their head during the Light Blues' Champions League qualifiers.
Michael Beale's backline was breached seven times across their two games with PSV, not to mention they twice failed to shutout Swiss outfit Servette in the round prior to that.
However, at the other end of the park, Rangers have scored in each of their four continental contests this season, and they are certainly capable of carving out opportunities against an injury-ravaged Real Betis side who are far from watertight themselves.
Manuel Pellegrini's men have already leaked 10 goals in five La Liga games this term, and it's also worth noting that the Green-and-Whites have kept just two clean sheets across their last 10 European assignments away from their Andalusia base.
With all that in mind, coupled with the fact this bet would have paid out in all four of Rangers' European matches this season, siding with the same selection here stands out at 4/5 (William Hill).
Switching gears and moving into the player card market, I'll also have a small play on Héctor Bellerín to go into the book at 6/1 (UniBet).
The Spanish right-back is not exactly renowned for being card magnet but he could have his hands full here with Gers speed machine Rabbi Matondo, who seems to have found a new lease of life in Govan this season.
This UEFA Europa League match between Rangers and Real Betis will be played on Sep 21, 2023 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Rangers vs Real Betis prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.