Belgium’s First Amateur Division acts as the country’s third footballing tier within the Belgian football league. It sits below Belgian First Division A and First Division B, fixtures on many online bookmaker’s lists.
The league was inaugurated in 2016, moving all subsequent leagues one position down in the pyramid. It is administered by the Royal Belgian Football Association.
The Association added the First Amateur Division during a reshuffle of the Belgium football league system. The reshuffle reduced the number of fully professional teams down to just 24. The change also meant that any club competing in this league or below is considered to be amateur. Although the league remains competitive.
Previously the Belgian FA ran three provincial leagues which were reformed in 2016 into three amateur levels:
- First Amateur Division
- Second Amateur Division
- Third Amateur Division.
- Provincial leagues were retained but moved way down to what is now the sixth tier of football in the country.
The format of the Belgian First Amateur Division
16 teams take part in this league every year. They play each other, as standard, once at home and once away to create an initial 30-game season.
All matches in this league, regardless of the clubs’ and players’ amateur status, are very competitive. The teams are ambitiously hoping to climb the ranks, making them a viable betting proposition.
Promotion and relegation in the First Amateur Division
At the end of the normal campaign, the top four teams enter a promotion play-off scenario. During which they are able to retain 50% of the points they gathered during the regular season. Having played each other at this stage, the top team is promoted to First Division B while the rest remain.
At the end of the 30-game regular season, the bottom three teams are automatically relegated down to the Second Amateur Division. While the team finishing fourth-bottom (13th) will have to take part in a play-off. against three teams from the top end of the Second Amateur Division. This play-off decides whether they stay up or go down.
Belgian First Amateur Division’s biggest teams
This is a very changeable league for obvious reasons, so there are no major sides to look out for in terms of picking out a bet. That said, all three teams to have been promoted since this league was created, Beerschot Wilrijk, Lommel and Virton have managed to retain their Division B status. In other words, the quality needed to win the play-offs is quite high.
Belgian First Amateur Division’s best betting markets
A little background first. To date, two of the three play-off winners in this league finished the regular season as champions. This goes to show that whoever wins the main season is most likely the best side and can be relied on when it comes to placing a bet.
With half of the 16 teams either aiming for the promotion play-offs or left fighting relegation, very few matches are deemed dead-rubbers. This holds true even in the latter stages of the season, which is great news for bettors.
Currently, around 49% of all games in the First Amateur Division are won by the home side, which is a little higher than the average around Europe. Again, this shows it to be reliable when it comes to building up accumulators featuring strong-looking home favourites.
The goals per game total of little more than 2.5 isn’t the biggest you’ll see. So don’t expect too many ‘both teams to score’ coupons to come in if you’re focusing on this league.
Here’s where to concentrate your efforts:
- Match Betting – the familiar 1X2, or home/draw/away. This is a league that can be close from top to middle, so often home teams are listed at very backable prices. With just about half of all games going the way of home sides though, you can usually find several good betting opportunities that are relatively safe, especially for accumulator purposes.
- Overall Winner – Play-Offs – as mentioned, two of the three play-off winners to date had won the ‘championship’ during the regular season. Backing the top team in the league early to win the play-offs can also pay off here.
Betting on the Belgian First Amateur Division
Most casual punters cannot afford the time it takes to put in hours of analysis into games in leagues like this, so it’s great to find a competition in which home teams have such a strong record. Betting on these teams in the Belgian First Amateur Division can be done safely with any of our recommended online bookmakers.