William Hill Scottish Cup Semi Final
Location: Hampden Park
Date: 17th April 2016
Live on Sky Sports 2
There is no doubting the main event this weekend and there has been no shortage of hyperbole in the build up.
The mainstream media lives off the ‘Old Firm’ tag and whether you consider this Rangers v Celtic game to be the Old Firm or not is a moot point. This will be the most talked about, watched, analysed and searched for game of the season for fans of both sides and none.
It is also likely to see the highest turnover in betting for a long time in Scottish football, more so than last season’s Rangers v Celtic encounter. The Gers fans wear their loyalty as a badge of honour but even the most foolhardy kept their money in their pockets last season. This year could be a very different matter.
There is a confidence about Ibrox and rightly so. This Rangers side is much closer to Celtic than the team led out by Kenny Mc Dowall at Hampden Park last year. That side were beaten before a ball was kicked.
But come two o’clock on Sunday I expect them to suffer a similar fate, all things being equal. Celtic are undoubtedly the better team with better players and more experience at a higher level. They deserve to be odds on favourites and have even shortened in the betting since the markets opened.
If Celtic show up and perform as they did against Hearts and Motherwell most recently they will see Rangers off but anyone who thinks it will be comfortable hasn’t been watching. There is enough about Rangers to cause Celtic problems and a bit of luck or another Hampden red card for Celtic could see them chasing the game.
There is nothing revelational or any great insight to this. Even the most optimistic Rangers fan knows, deep down, that this will be an uphill battle. Is it so much of a climb, though, to not be worth a wee punt at current odds of 4/1? And here’s the rather laboured point I have been trying to get to.
The first gamble I am taking on this match is on the Celtic price drifting and becoming more backable. I may be calling it wrong but there is a chance that come Saturday night and Sunday morning the Gers fans will put their money down in big numbers.
If that comes to pass we may get that wee bit of value on The Hoops that currently isn’t really there.
Rangers v Celtic Betting Preview Best Betting Odds
Celtic are currently no better than 1.67 (4/6) with Ladbrokes and others. Rangers are as high as 5.8 (29/5) with Marathon Bet but you’re more likely to get 4/1 with the likes of Coral and Paddy Power. The draw is best priced at 4.2 (16/5) with bet365.
I am hoping that Celtic drift to the 1.8 (4/5) mark and if that does happen it’s a price likely to be snapped up so it’s a case of keeping an eye on the market and hoping for the best.
Both teams to score has got a good chance given the attacking and defensive records of both sides and can be considered at 1.75 (3/4) with bet365. The price of 1.76 (13/17) from Marathon Bet for +2.5 goals has less appeal.
Backing Celtic on the handicaps would take a braver soul than me but you will get 2.75 (7/4) for Celtic -1 goal with Ladbrokes. A safer strategy would be to back them -1 Asian Handicap at 2.18 (13/11) with 888Sport and that would give you stake back insurance should Celtic win by exactly one goal.
Rangers v Celtic Betting Preview Free Football Tips & Betting Tips
Both teams to score @ 1.75 with bet365
Celtic to win IF the price drifts to 1.8