Last weekend’s opening SPL fixtures may have been generally low-key affairs, played against a backdrop of unprecedented Olympic fervour, but for Ross County, their top flight debut, contested in front of almost 5,000 supporters, proved a raucous affair. A goalless draw against a Motherwell team priced at 7/1 (Coral) to ‘win’ the title in the market excluding Celtic, was an impressive opener and they can go one better at Pittodrie this weekend when they face those traditionally slow starters, Aberdeen.
Home advantage ensures that the Dons, who lost 1-0 at Parkhead last weekend, kick off as Stan James’s even money favourites, whereas Ross are a surprisingly long 7/2 (BetVictor.com) to claim three points. The pair have never met in a competitive match and William Hill’s 5/2 for it to finish all square has attracted steady support, as has Ladbrokes’ 8/1 for it to finish goalless.
It’s six years since Dundee and St Mirren last faced each other when both were in the First Division and Dens Park welcomes back top flight football tomorrow when the Dark Blues host the Saints.
Following a creditable draw at Kilmarnock last week, bet365 install Dundee as their 6/4 favourites, with St Mirren priced at 2/1 to win according to Stan James; Betfred chalk 23/10 about a stalemate. With both sides drawing last weekend, BetVictor’s 11/2 for tomorrow’s duel to finish 1-1 has proved understandably popular.
Inverness played the last half hour with 10 men when they last faced Kilmarnock in what proved an extraordinary match – Killie running out as 4-3 winners. BetVictor.com considers the chances of Thistle gaining revenge for that defeat as an 11/8 shot as bet365 offer Kilmarnock at 9/4 to win.
The four SPL duels involving the pair last term yielded 21 goals and Boylesports’ 11/10 for tomorrow’s encounter to produce more than 2.5 goals cannot be discounted. Skybet offer 10/11 about both teams scoring.
Having already lost a Europa League tie and their opening SPL match of the new campaign without scoring, the omens ahead of St Johnstone’s encounter at Motherwell are mixed. They head west as Stan James’s 11/4 underdogs, whereas Motherwell, who drew 0-0 against Ross County last week, open as BetVictor’s 6/5 favourites; the draw is offered at 5/2 by bet365, although the pair have drawn only once in their last 11 meetings.
Punters will note that in six of the pair’s previous seven meetings one of them has scored a minimum of three goals, a statistic which adds appeal to Skybet’s massive 11/1 for St Johnstone to find the net three or more times. More circumspect folk may prefer Betfred’s 3/1 for the fixture to produce more than 3.5 goals, or else the 10/11 offered by Boylesports about both teams scoring.
Edinburgh’s big two last met in the Scottish Cup Final when, incredibly, Hearts registered a 5-1 win, although it’s worth recalling that Hibs were down to 10 men for most of the second period. Ordinarily, matches involving the two are close, though there’s been only one draw in their last eight SPL meetings.
In the wake of their opening day 3-0 defeat at Dundee United, bet365 rate Hibs a 23/10 shot to secure maximum points on Sunday, whereas Hearts start as Stan James’s predictable 11/8 favourites. The Jambos, who beat St Johnstone 2-0 in their opening fixture, are 3/1 with Paddy Power to enjoy a one goal margin of victory, while bet365 chalk 10/3 against it finishing as a score draw and Ladbrokes post 12/5 against it finishing all square at 90 minutes.