The new SPL season may be scheduled to kick off under a cloud darkened by unresolved financial matters, but it still insists upon our unconditional attention.
As we go to press, it’s possible that Hearts may be unable to fulfil their obligation to face St Johnstone on Saturday. Deducted 15 points for going into administration, the Jambos are Betfred’s 4/7 favourites to finish bottom of the table next May and priced at 3/1 by Winner.com to cause a shock and claim three points at McDiarmid Park this weekend.
Backers expecting St Johnstone (11/10, Boylesports) to romp to victory can get 3/1 (BetVictor.com) against them winning when kicking off with a one goal deficit and William Hill consider the chances of the Saints enjoying a two goal margin of victory to be an 11/2 shot.
Further north, Aberdeen welcome Kilmarnock to Pittodrie, no doubt mindful that they’ve won only one of their last four home encounters against the Rugby Park side. Nonetheless, the Dons kick off as Stan James’s even money favourites with the visitors priced at 3/1 (Skybet). Four of the pair’s last eight matches have finished all square, hence the appeal of bet365’s 12/5 posted about the stalemate; BetVictor.com offer 6/1 about a 1-1 result.
A fixture that produced two draws and one win apiece last season may be expected to be similarly close when the teams reacquaint themselves on Saturday teatime, but as the pair are Celtic and Ross County, it’s no surprise that the league champions have been installed as Ladbrokes’ 3/10 favourites. Paddy Power consider the likelihood of Neil Lennon’s men winning by two clear goals to be a 3/1 shot, odds which have proved understandably attractive.
On Sunday, Hibs and Motherwell meet at Easter Road for a fixture which yielded 14 goals in three high-tempo duels last term. Hibs have not beaten the Steelmen at home since 2010, a run which accounts for their 2/1 odds (Betway) to register three points.
After finishing as runners up last season, Motherwell start their league campaign as 6/4 favourites (Winner.com) to secure three points and priced at 7/1 (Stan James) to win 1-0. Given the pair’s goalscoring performances last term, however, the even money posted by bet365 about the match producing more than 2.5 goals looks one of the weekend’s most appealing wagers.