It seems entirely appropriate during Grand National week to invoke analogies between the world’s greatest horse race and the football season where, with several giant fences remaining, most runners can sense the winning post.
As they gallop unopposed towards the finish line, it would be a major surprise if Celtic (3/5, bet365) failed to overhaul the threat posed by Inverness (17/4, BetVictor.com) on Saturday lunchtime, although they did fall at the Caledonian Stadium earlier in the campaign when losing 1-0. Punters not anticipating a repeat can get 6/4 (William Hill) against the champions-elect leading at the end of both halves; a 2-0 away win is offered at 6/1 by Winner.com.
Both St Johnstone and Dundee are safe in the middle of the chasing pack and in no serious danger of being caught by the back markers. However, neither side has been particularly consistent this term and home advantage accounts for St Johnstone’s status as Stan James’s 13/10 favourites.
Dundee won 1-0 when the pair met at McDiarmid Park in September and are priced at 2/1 (Ladbrokes) to register three points. The duo drew 1-1 in November and the chances of it ending as a draw on Saturday is considered a 13/5 shot by Skybet, while the probability of a goalless encounter is rated at 9/1 by Betway.
Many punters anticipate another goalfest when Dundee United and Hamilton lock horns, particularly as their two previous contests this term yielded nine goals. Bet365 post 6/5 in favour of the game’s total goal minutes exceeding 155, while William Hill chalk 15/8 against the opening goal arriving before the 15th minute. United are Paddy Power’s understandably short even money jollies, but another draw, (13/5, BetVictor.com) cannot be discounted.
Though they lost 1-0 at Motherwell when the pair last met, Partick’s 4/5 odds (Winner.com) to overhaul the Steelmen when the sides meet again at Firhill on Saturday looks too good to miss. Motherwell have suffered a dozen away defeats and Stan James’s 11/4 odds for Partick to enjoy a one goal margin of victory offers decent value.
Kilmarnock and Aberdeen meet at Rugby Park on Sunday and with the Dons winning the pair’s last half dozen contests, their 5/6 starting price (Betway) has attracted steady support. Killie have managed just two goals in their last six duels with Aberdeen, a record which explains their 7/2 odds (Ladbrokes) to win. A seventh consecutive Aberdeen victory looks a nap – they’re 7/1 at Skybet to win 2-0.
Finally, on Monday, Ross County are the value call at 7/5 (Coral) as they head to rock bottom St Mirren.
Partick to beat Motherwell by one – 11/4 (Stan James)
Draw double at Dundee Utd & St Johnstone – 11/1 (BetVictor)
Celtic/Celtic in HT/FT betting – 6/4 (William Hill)
Double on Ross County & Aberdeen – 17/5 (Coral)