THE opening weekend of the Betfred Cup is used by most teams as an extension to pre-season so punters are advised to tread carefully.

There were many shocks at the group stage last season so be wary of doing big accas even if you fancy several short-priced favourites.

Alternatively hold your bets until you see team lines which could give a clue to how serious a side is treating the game.

I’m focusing on teams who have strengthened in the summer and looking for improved campaigns.

One who stand out are Dundee United with Csaba Laszlo doing his business early and picking up players such as Fraser Aird, Nicky Clark, Callum Booth, Sam Wardrop and Craig Curran.

United should beat Arbroath at home and are 2-5 at bet365 to do so. Alternatively back them -1 at 21-20 with McBookie.

Falkirk are hoping to make their mark in the Championship and have signed almost a whole team of frees who will be looking to impress. Back them at 2-5 with McBookie to beat Montrose at home and again consider the -1 handicap at 11-10 with bet365.

Complete the treble with another side aiming for promotion from the Championship and that’s Ross County who entertain Elgin.

County were relegated last season and have rebuilt by bringing in players such as Jamie Lindsay, Callum Morris, Josh Mullin and Declan McManus. They are massive favourites at 1-5 at McBookie while the -1 handicap pays 8-13 at bet365.

Other sides who should win include Partick at Stenny, Dumbarton at Spartans, Dundee at Stirling, Inverness at home to Cove and Livingston at Airdrie.

A -1 treble on Dundee Utd, Falkirk and Ross County pays 6-1 at bet365 while a moneyback fivefold on Dundee Utd, Falkirk, Ross County, Dundee and Partick returns 15-4 at McBookie.

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