Defending champions Rangers open the new SPL campaign on Saturday lunchtime, with a tricky home clash against Hearts, and although Ally McCoist’s men are strong favourites for the points at 2/5 (bet365), it would be dangerous to write off the Jambos, Stan James’ 8/1 outsiders.
Admittedly, the visitors have not won at Ibrox since 2004, which does not bode well, but they might be worth a small flutter at 7/2 (Betfred) to grab a share of the spoils, where Ladbrokes quote odds of 8/1 for it to finish 1-1.
If those prices take something of a leap of faith, then perhaps the handicaps offer a viable alternative, where Jim Jefferies’ side are 9/4 with Skybet receiving a goal start. Meanwhile, Boylesports credit Hearts with a two-goal cushion at a generous 8/11, a wager set to be profitable even if the visitors lose by a solitary goal.
In terms of goals, Totesport post just 11/4 against ‘Gers marksman Nikica Jelavic breaking the deadlock, and bet365 rate the Croatian just 8/13 to get on the scoresheet, but the same firm’s evens for David Healy to net is perhaps more attractive. At the other end, Hearts midfielder Rudi Skacel is 7/2 (bet365) to strike at some point.
On Sunday, Celtic, worthy title favourites at 5/6 (Sportingbet), are 1.44 (4/9) with Betdaq to make a winning start to the campaign against Hibernian at Easter Road. Paddy Power make Colin Calderwood’s men 15/2 to stun the Hoops, with 10/3 on show for Hibs to earn a point with , but Neil Lennon’s charges should have enough and Partybets’ 14/5 marked against an away win by a one-goal margin is not without appeal.
Elsewhere during the SPL’s opening weekend, Dundee United look like a home banker at 5/6 with Stan James against Kilmarnock, who could well find it tough this season. Meanwhile, bet365 quote 11/10 for Aberdeen to send St Johnstone home empty-handed, and it would be no surprise if Motherwell and Inverness shared the spoils at Fir Park, a result offered by Skybet at 23/10.
Monday night sees promoted Dunfermline entertain St Mirren, where the latter, who have strengthened shrewdly over the close-season, are cracking value at 23/10 with Boylesports to secure an away success at East End Park.