Rangers v Alashkert
Thursday 19 August, 20:00
Rangers suffered a big setback last week when they were dumped out of the Champions League by Malmo but they should be able to bounce back to secure a spot in the Europa League group stage by beating Alashkert.
It's easy to dismiss the chances of sides coming out of eastern Europe but on this occasion there really isn't a great deal to suggest the Armenian champions are about to cause an upset.
They only scraped past a COVID-hit Connah's Quay after extra time last month, conceding twice in Wales. In the following round, they let in three in Moldova as they lost to Sheriff Tiraspol.
Having begun their Armenian title defence with two straight losses, it's now four defeats in six for the visitors, and it's not hard to see them struggling in front of 40,000-plus fans at Ibrox.
In the wake of last week's Malmo defeat, it should not be forgotten that Rangers made the last 16 of this competition last season, one which also saw them crowned champions of Scotland following an unbeaten domestic league campaign.
They've got goals in them - as evidenced by their 3-0 and 5-0 domestic wins at Ibrox this season - and it's hard to see Alashkert having the quality to stop them. Few sides have in these Europa League qualifiers in recent years - Rangers have won nine of 10 since the club's rebirth.
So, what's the betting approach?
In terms of goals angles, a goal in each half coupled with Rangers (-1) on the handicap creates a solid-looking Bet Builder foundation.
The value is added by including James Tavernier to score at any time.
The skipper missed a couple of penalties last season but resumed spot-kick duty towards the end of the campaign following misses from Borna Barisic.
But even if a spot-kick isn't forthcoming, it should be remembered that only 10 of Tavernier's 19 goals last season came via a penalty. He's also a decent free-kick taker, while he can often be found raiding forward down the right - something we can expect to see in this game.
Put the three elements together and you have a 3.75 shot.
Click here for Frank Monkhouse's in-depth Europa League preview