Due in part to its British influence from years gone by, Cyprus actually has a long footballing history. The Cypriot First Division, in fact, has been in existence since 1934.
Administered by the Cyprus Football Association, the First Division is sometimes known as the Cyta Championship for sponsorship reasons. So, be sure to look out in case that comes up on any online betting coupons.
The league is no longer as competitive as it used to be. This is due in part to the separation of one-third of the island following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Key towns such as Famagusta were cut off from the south of the country and their football teams were not able to take part in the same way as they once did.
The Cypriot First Division format
To keep the quality as high as possible in such a small footballing jurisdiction, the First Division is limited to 12 teams. The teams play each other once at home and once away in the regular season. After those initial 22 games, the league splits into half; six in the Championship Round and six in the Relegation Round.
Relegation and European qualification
In the six-team mini-leagues, teams once again play home and away. However, this time the ultimate table-toppers are declared as the champions of Cyprus and head into the qualifying rounds for the UEFA Champions League. While the second and third-placed teams go into the Europa League. Teams 4-6 ultimately achieve nothing other than top-level safety.
The Relegation Round is dealt with in the same way. Teams 1-4 retain their First Division status for the following season, while the bottom two are relegated to the Cypriot Second Division to be replaced by two teams from there.
The biggest clubs in Cyprus
APOEL Nicosia, from the capital, are probably the most recognisable Cypriot team to football fans around Europe. They are also the most successful in terms of championship wins.
Their 28 First Division wins and 20 runners-up performances outweigh local city rivals, Omonia Nicosia. Omonia Nicosia has won the league 20 times and finished runners-up on 16 more occasions.
Anorthosis Famagusta has won the league 13 times while AEL Limassol has taken 6 titles. No other team has won this league more than three times. And no team from the west of the island, such as those in Paphos, has ever won the title.
Representing Cyprus in Europe, APOEL’s best performance was undoubtedly their Champions League quarter-final appearance in 2012. Their impressive home record helping as they beat Zenit St Petersburg, Porto and Lyon, along the way. However, unfortunately ultimately losing out to Real Madrid.
Best markets for betting on Cypriot games
This league that tends to run on or around the average for Europe:
- 45% home wins
- 2.75 goals per game.
When the division splits, the quality of matches in the respective mini-league changes, but the results from a betting point of view do not necessarily.
Both the Championship and Relegation Round have similar records for:
- Both teams to score: 57%
- Total goals per game: On average, 2.9 (Championship) and 3.1 (Relegation Round)
That means we don’t have to concentrate only on the Championship Round for betting purposes, though the ratio of home wins there is higher at 47% compared to just 40% in the Relegation Round.
Here’s where you should be looking:
- To Win to Nil – in the regular season only, taking the top two or three teams to win to nil at home often comes good. The bang on average record for home wins in this league includes the powerful teams, while the lower than average goals per game also includes times these guys are playing at home, showing not many teams go to Nicosia and get on the scoresheet.
- Match Betting – 1X2. This time in the Championship Round, the home teams are more reliable showing the figure for the regular season to be skewed by poor bottom-end sides. Backing strong home teams in accumulators in the Cypriot First Division Championship round remains a solid proposition.
How to place a bet on the Cypriot First Division
If you think betting on the Cypriot First Division can provide you with some entertainment, and perhaps some profit, you can do that at any of our recommended online bookmakers now.