By Jamie Smith
There were a lot of raised eyebrows when the Nations League was launched a couple of years ago, but the tournament was a success with games like England v Croatia in the semis turning out to be very entertaining.
The competition is back again with Portugal looking to defend their crown from the inaugural event and here at freebets.co.uk we are here to tell you everything you need to know about it.
The 2020-21 Nations League has some small changes compared to the inaugural tournament, which was won by Portugal a couple of years ago.
This time there are 55 teams, split into four leagues, in which there are 14 different groups – four each for Leagues A to C and just two in League D.
Teams play home and away with the winners of the four League A groups progress to the UEFA Nations League Finals – these will be played in September or October 2021 with a venue to be confirmed.
A1 features Netherlands and Italy, England and Belgium headline A2, the stars of A3 are Portugal, France and Croatia and A4 wraps things up with Spain and Germany – so there are lots of tasty ties to look forward to in the 2020-21 Nations League.
World Cup qualifying is also part of the purpose of the 2020-21 Nations League, giving teams the chance to reach Qatar 2022 via a play-off if they win their group and if they have not already qualified or reached the play-offs anyway.
Thinking of betting on the Nations League matches that are coming up? Well, in that case you will want to know about how to get Nations League free bets before you get started.
Bookmakers offer free bets out to people to encourage them to become customers, using their markets to bet on the Nations League rather than going with a rival operator.
Head to our bookmakers page to find out more about the free bets that are available right now – you will have to sign up, make a deposit and place a qualifying bet to get up and running.
The process is quick and simple so you will have Nations League free bets to use in no time.
The new Nations League looks to be wide open, at least if the betting odds that are available from the bookmakers are to be believed anyway.
World champions France are the narrow favourites at a best price of 5/1 with BetVictor, with their attack led by the brilliant Kylian Mbappe and support coming from stars including the Champions League final matchwinner Kingsley Coman.
Semi-finalists last time out, Bet365 offer 11/2 on England going all the way this time, with the development of young players such as Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood joining captain Harry Kane and making it a very exciting time for the Three Lions.
Belgium’s so-called Golden Generation are starting to age, so the Nations League might be the best chance for Roberto Martinez and his side, including players like Eden Hazard, to get their first major international title. Belgium can be backed at 6/1 with Bet365 for the title.
Defending champions Portugal are 12/1 with Bet365 to win the Nations League with Spain available at a similar price and the bookmakers split over Germany’s chances – they can be backed at anything between 6/1 with some bookmakers and 16/1 with 888sport to win the Nations League.
The Nations League gets up and running before a lot of Europe’s top-five leagues due to schedule upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis, with the big kick-off set for September 3.
Germany v Spain is among the eye-catching games on offer in this month’s Nations League double-header, while Portugal v Croatia and Netherlands v Italy should definitely be well worth watching as well.
France v Croatia and Sweden v Portugal are some of the other Nations League games of interest from a betting perspective this month.
England will go away to Iceland first up before heading to Denmark on September 8.
As one of the biggest football competitions of the season, there are many betting offers and promotions out there for the Nations League right now.
Bookmakers will be offering enhanced odds on some of the biggest games in the competition, with England matches always the subject of a lot of interest from football fans.
We have all the details of the top Nations League betting offers and promotions, so keep checking back here to make sure that you never miss any juicy deals from the bookmakers.