What to watch and who to back in the Europa Conference League qualifiers?

Forget the Euros, forget Copa America - Europe's brand new club competition is up and running. Here's a lowdown on all the key games and bets.

European soccer used to be an exclusive playground reserved for the continent's elite.

Those days, however, are long gone. This upcoming season will see the introduction of a third-tier European competition, named the Europa Conference League.

The brand-new tournament will get underway on September 16 but before we get there, we have a few qualifying rounds to get through.

Three games have already taken place but the bulk of the fixtures will get underway this Thursday night.

With that in mind, here is a special look at they key games and a few selections too.

FC Noah (Armenia) vs KuPS (Finland)

Former Derby County and Motherwell midfielder, Simo Valakari, has got off to a promising start as new manager of six-time Finnish champions KuPS.

Since taking over in November, Valakari led his side to the Finnish Cup and a third-place finish in the country's top division.

Now, the attention turns to Europe - something that the club are no strangers to. KuPS are regular contenders in Europa League qualifying rounds and it's a bit of a surprise to see them priced at 20/21 to win.

That is a rather generous price considering they're taking on a side whose only previous international outing ended in a 4-1 loss to Kazakhstan's Kairat 12 months ago.

The recommendation is simple, back KuPS before the bookmakers change their mind.

TIP: KuPS to win at 20/21

Europa FC (Gibraltar) vs FK Kauno Zalgiris (Lithuania)

One advantage which Kauno Zalgiris enjoy over their opponents is that their season is in full flow.

That's about the only advantage as the Lithuanian side are in really poor form. Zalgiris are without a win in four and their last outing saw them draw 1-1 with a team sitting bottom of the A Lyga.

Europa FC, on the other hand, haven't played in a competitive game since May.

As the underdogs, Europa have absolutely nothing to lose and nothing to fear. With that in mind, the recommendation is to back the Gibraltar club to win and both teams to score at 9/1.

TIP: Europa FC to win and BTTS at 9/1

Honka (Finland) vs Runavik (Faroe Islands)

Runavik are huge underdogs in this Europa Conference League qualifier.

At 5/1, the Faroe Islands side aren't expected to cause an upset. But we think otherwise.

As things stand, Honka are doing it tough in the Finnish Veikkausliiga. The club are currently 8th in the 12-team league having only won three of their 11 games.

Runavik, on the other hand, have won three of their last four games and scored 12 goals in the process.

At 19/4, surely they're worth a go in the 'draw no bet' market.

TIP: Runavik draw no bet at 19/4

Racing Luxembourg vs Breidablik (Iceland)

According to the bookmakers, this could be a close encounter.

Nevertheless, the Icelandic outfit might hold a slight advantage here considering they're mid-way through their domestic season and aren't likely to have much ring rust.

Racing, meanwhile, have played in two friendlies in the lead-up to Thursday night. The first of which ended in a 5-2 defeat while the second saw them claim a 3-2 victory.

With Breidablik's games also producing many goals, it may be worth looking at the both teams to score market.

TIP: Breiablik to win and BTTS at 13/5

Glentoran (N. Ireland) vs The New Saints (Wales)

There will be an all-United Kingdom clash over in Belfast when Glentoran and TNS go head-to-head.

The only action both teams have seen over the last few weeks have come in friendlies. Based on the results, it would seem that the hosts should cruise to victory.

While the Northern Irish side have won both of their games, TNS were held to a 1-1 draw by Scottish League One side East Fife before losing 2-1 to Stafford - a side who compete in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

That has to be a concern and with that in mind, Glentoran are the tip at 13/8.

TIP: Glentoran at 13/8

Bala Town (Wales) vs Larne (N. Ireland)

The second all-UK clash in this qualifying stage will see Welsh side, Bala Town, take on Northern Irish club, Larne.

Both teams have been in recent action having played a couple of friendlies each. Bala managed to come away with two victories although they did come against lower league opposition.

Larne, on the other hand, failed to win any of their two friendlies although one of them did include a 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock.

Bala are the bookies favourites at 11/8 but this first leg clash could be a lot closer than those odds suggest. What's more, the draw offers more value for your buck at 11/5.

TIP: Draw at 11/5

READ MORE: The odds that matter following England's nerve-jangling 2-1 win over Denmark