Plans to revise the structure of Scottish football have left fans mulling over the various merits of 12-12-18 and the value of a qualifying octet contesting European places this week. Yet amid a discussion which has, at times, sounded similar one debating the merits of a particularly convoluted maths exam question, there has been one feature beloved by mathematicians: a reliable constant in the form of Celtic FC.
The Hoops look set to dominate Scottish football for the foreseeable future whatever structure the blazers eventually agree upon. The extent of this domination can be gauged by a Celtic v The Field market currently on offer at Paddy Power: ‘The Field’, ie the rest of the SPL, are 50/1 to claim the league title, while Celtic are 1/500.
Scottish football’s short winter break has, however, allowed fans and punters time to run the rule over a variety of wagers and explore the availability of some generous-looking antepost prices.
For example, in BetVictor’s league-winning handicap market, once Inverness receive an additional 48 points, they’re worthy favourites at 5/4 to claim the title, while Motherwell are 25/1 when given a further 30 points. Celtic are 25/1 in the same market with a scratch handicap.
In the PFA Player of the Year market, the betting is dominated by Celtic players. Leading the field is the 21 year-old Kenyan, Victor Wanyama (9/4, Paddy Power), a man who has scored seven goals and already received 9 yellow cards. Fraser Forster (4/1) and 17-goal Gary Hooper (6/1) follow their teammate in the betting.
Punters looking slightly further ahead, beyond next weekend’s restart of the league campaign, may fancy running the rule over Celtic’s Champions League date with Juventus.
Granted the Italian champions lead Serie A by five points, but punters who suspect Celtic can secure a first leg victory at Parkhead on 12 February can currently get an enormous 4/1 (bet365) against Neil Lennon’s men once again defying the odds as they did against Barcelona.
Skybet make Celtic 4/1 to qualify for the next round, although for the record, there’s no change at the top of the betting – Barcelona remain Stan James’s 9/4 favourites to be crowned European champions – odds only likely to shorten as their tie against AC Milan draws near.
Victor Wanyama to be named PFA Player of the Year – 9/4 (Paddy Power)
Inverness (+48) to win the title in the handicaps – 5/4 (BetVictor)
Celtic to qualify in the Champions League – 4/1 (Skybet)