There are a huge number of soccer stars playing around Europe that come from Belgium. The majority of those world-class players would have played at some point in their career in the Belgium Pro League, which is ensuring that it is one of the fastest-growing leagues in Europe. You can learn more about the Belgium Pro League teams that compete for the top prize, and some of the legendary players throughout its history here.
The Belgium Pro League has been the top tier of the national game since 1895 although, it has only been known as the Pro League since the 2015-16 season. The top teams in the country compete in one of the most unique leagues in world football. The origins of the Belgium Pro League can be traced back to 1895 when the first round-robin tournament took place. However, in its first season, only seven teams competed for the top prize. All eight of the first season were dominated by FC Liegeois and RC de Bruxelles.
Throughout the 1980s, teams from Belgium were very successful in the various European competitions, while Anderlecht dominated in the domestic competition. However, that success would soon diminish, as Belgium teams underperformed on the continent throughout the 90s. The biggest change to the competition came in the late 2000s, as a play-off round was introduced at the end of the regular season; much like the playoffs that we see in the NHL and NBA.
Betting on the Belgium Pro League is popular around the world, as the playoffs add an unpredictable nature to the competition. The Belgium Pro League table can be turned on its head when the playoffs get underway and it makes for a compelling betting opportunity. Some of the most popular sports betting markets available to make wagers on the Belgium Pro League can be found below.
The most popular betting market when wagering on the Belgium Pro League is the outright winner. Unlike many other European leagues, this market doesn’t end at the close of the regular season. Instead, the outright winner is crowned after the playoffs have concluded. Therefore, bettors will need to examine the team that will be strong throughout the regular season and then kicks on in the playoffs.
When it comes to betting on individual Belgium Pro League fixtures throughout the season, the most popular betting market is the match result. Here, the bettor will need to place their wager on the team that they think will win the fixture. Returns are awarded at the end of 90 minutes should the bettor have accurately predicted the correct outcome in the fixture.
Due to the sheer quality of attacking football in the Belgium Pro League, betting on the total number of goals in fixtures is extremely popular. Bets will be placed against a total set by the sportsbook, with the bettor wagering their money on whether the total number of goals will be over or under the benchmark set. For example, if a bet has the total number of goals set at 3.5, then bettors can place a wager on over if they believe that there will be at least four goals in total in the fixture.
As we have mentioned, the format for the Belgium Pro League is completely different from the other leagues around Europe. There are only 18 teams involved in the competition, with each team playing the other on two occasions during the regular season. However, since the late 2000s, the playoffs have been in operation. Depending on the final regular season position, teams enter either the Play-offs I or Play-off II route.
The prior was mentioned in the Championship Playoff, which is contested between the top four in the league. Meanwhile, the other playoff sees sides battle it out for a place in the Europa League and Europa Conference League. The team that finishes bottom of the regular season standings is automatically relegated, while the team that finishes 17th plays in a relegation playoff against the team that finished 2nd in the Belgian First Division B.
There have been 74 teams that have played in the Belgium Pro League since its introduction in 1895. A total of 16 teams have been crowned champions of the country, with Anderlecht being the most successful team having been crowned champions on 34 occasions. Club Brugge is the next most successful team with 18 titles, while Union Saint-Gilloise and Standard Liege have both won at least ten titles throughout the league’s history. Other teams to have been crowned champions in Belgium include KAA Gent, Royal Antwerp, and KRC Genk.
There have been some iconic Belgium Pro League players throughout the competition's history, and some of those have been awarded the Professional Footballer of the Year Award. Modern players to have picked up the award include Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans, Thorgan Hazard, and Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany also won the award in 2005. The highest scorer in the history of the league is Albert De Cleyn, who scored 377 goals during a 22-year playing career with K. V. Mechelen. That record sees him sit fifth on the all-time scorers' chart in European soccer.
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