The Scottish Premiership, lets be honest, is a foregone conclusion as it was last year. Even if Aberdeen did put up a good fight they were in the end a full 17 points behind the Champions, Celtic.
A total haul of 92 points was not bad for Ronny Deila considering the supposed poor start to last season’s Scottish Premiership.
I say “supposed” because the knives were certainly out in some quarters but the evidence was there all along to suggest something good was happening.
Its a risk coming out with what I am about to come out with before Celtic’s European qualification quest is complete but there is something good happening at Celtic.
Sure they haven’t hit top marks in their first two competitive matches this season but come May they will have hit top gear and Celtic will have won the league. What a bold prediction that is, eh? At a best price of 1.08(2/25) there won’t be many backing it.
So we’re left scrambling around the Scottish Premiership looking for value in the other markets and to be fair, that’s the best place to find it.
Considering I have picked the top goalscorer in the Scottish Premiership for the last two seasons I am obliged to look at that market in detail.
Scottish Premiership Top Goalscorer.
Leigh Griffiths leads this market but with the glut of strikers at Celtic’s disposal I wouldn’t fancy pinning my hopes on any of them. Griffiths is 4/1 across the board while Ciftci, their latest signing, is 8/1. But he misses the first six games so is an immediate non-starter.
With Griffiths likely to miss out on a starting berth more often than not over the course of the season he is an improbable punt at such a short price although everyone knows he has goals in him.
There is more value in looking at the three behind the striker for Celtic. Kris Commons, unsurprisingly, is short at 14/1 with bet365, Skybet and McBookie. Johannsen will probably fill the central role leaving Common’s opportunities limited.
Stefan Johannsen offers plenty of appeal at 40/1 with Skybet and Coral although you could be better served sticking with the 33/1 from Betfair and bet365 as they, along with Boylesports, offer 4 places in the each-way places.
Gary Mackay-Steven is 33/1 with bet365 so you get the 4 each-way spots and he is a player who looks likely to command a place regularly and could be in good goalscoring form, if pre-season friendlies are to be trusted.
Stuart Armstrong hasn’t scored for Celtic as much as may have been expected but his price of 100/1 seems higher than it should be. Ladbrokes will only pay out on three places though.
Outside of Celtic Dundee United’s new signing, Darko Bodul, could be a dark horse in this season’s Scottish Premiership. He is available at 33/1 with bet365 allowing for a fourth place finish each-way.
David Goodwillie is priced at 40/1 with bet365 and Betfair and has started his season very well, although not amongst the goals. He will probably command a more regular place for Aberdeen this season and has historically done quite well in the Scottish Premiership.
A final consideration is Rory Loy, now of Dundee, at 80/1 with Coral. If he can command a regular starting spot ahead of Greig Stewart and Kane Hemmings (who is also 80/1 with Coral) he could be hitting the net often in a team that could do well this year.
Scottish Premiership w/o Celtic.
Aberdeen should finish second to Celtic again this year. They have a settled side and have added quality in the positions they needed to.
Graeme Shinnie coming in at left back on a free transfer has strengthened The Dons no end. A case could be made for Shinnie being the best left back in Scottish football.
So they are stronger this year and last year I had no problem backing them to finish as the next best in the Scottish Premiership. But last year they were priced at 2.62(13/8) where as this year they are a miserable 1.73(8/11).
I can’t back them at that price, not when I am actually going to oppose them on opening weekend of the Scottish Premiership and the opportunity to back them at a higher price might become available.
Not when there is still an IF about Aberdeen becoming involved in the Europa League group stage and their Scottish Premiership league form inevitably suffering.
Ask yourself this. Are Aberdeen as far ahead of the rest of the Scottish Premiership as Hibernian are ahead of the Scottish Championship and so should they be the same price to win without the favourite?
Who would you rather throw a whack on to finish second to the favourite, Hibs or Aberdeen? I have chosen Hibs and, I reckon, so should you.
Scottish Premiership Top 6.
No prizes for guessing who I think the best bet resides with for this market. Having already talked them up Dundee are well placed to repeat last season’s feat and take a top 6 place.
They have signed some young and hungry strikers in Rory Loy and Kane Hemmings while the two Nicks, Ross and Low (who is an excellent addition), should add to the midfield.
Their biggest named signing is of course defender Julen Etxabeguren Leanizbarrutia who comes from East Fife via Real Sociedad. It remains to be seen if he can make the step up but he is an exciting prospect.
A price of 3.75(11/4) with McBookie to finish in the top 6 is well worth taking and at 11/1 or thereabouts to finish in the top 3, some Dundee fans can have themselves a little loyalty punt.
Motherwell might not be too far away either with Saint Johnstone possibly falling out to make way for one or the other. You can back the Steelmen to make the top 6 at 4/1 with McBookie.
Scottish Premiership season preview 2015/16 free football tips & betting tips.
G Mackay-Steven TGS (e/w) @ 34 bet365 Darko Bodul TGS (e/w) @ 34 bet365 David Goodwillie TGS (e/w) @ 41 bet365 Rory Loy TGS (e/w) @ 81 Coral Stuart Armstrong TGS (e/w) @ 101 Ladbrokes
Dundee to finish in Top 6 @ 3.75 McBookie