Hearts vs DundeeScottish Championship, KO: 19:45 Oct 16, 2020, Tynecastle
HEARTS will begin their bid to return to the Scottish Premiership at the first time of asking when they face Dundee at Tynecastle on Friday night.
The Jam Tarts were controversially relegated when the 2019/20 campaign was curtailed and Robbie Neilson has since returned to spearhead the capital clubs title charge.
Neilson steered Dundee United to the top-flight last term and he will be tasked with the same responsibility now that he has returned to the Hearts hot seat.
Hearts lead the ante-post betting at 1/4 with Bet 365, while Dundee – the visitors to Tynecastle on Friday night – are next in line at 9/1 in the outright betting with the same bookmaker.
The Dark Blues underachieved last term when failing to mount a title bid and James McPake's men will be hard tasked when trying to topple Hearts in their bid to return to the top-flight at the second time of asking.
Having said that, rookie manager McPake will have learned a lot last season and the Dee boss has also done some eye-catching Summer transfer business with the likes of Charlie Adam checking in at Dens Park.
Hearts are heavily fancied to hit the ground running on Friday night with a home success odds-on at 13/20 with William Hill.
Dundee have avoided defeat in each of their last five Scottish Championship fixtures, however, the bookmakers expect that sequence to come to an end in the capital with an away win trading at 23/5 with UniBet, while the draw is also deemed unlikely at 10/3 with Bet 365.
The bookies expect Hearts to kick off their campaign with a routine victory, however, I suspect this Tynecastle tussle could be slightly closer than what the betting suggests.
Robbie Neilson's side have won with steel rather than style during their opening three Betfred Cup bouts and Dundee should represent an upgrade on those challenges.
Having said that, I do fancy Hearts to edge this encounter but there is little value in backing a home success at 13/20 with William Hill.
With that in mind, I'm going to opt for an alternative angle by backing Hearts to overcome a -0.75 start on the asian handicap at 9/10 with McBookie.
The above-mentioned betting angle would generate a full pay out if Hearts win by two or more goals, whereas a home win by one goal would see half of your stake returned and the remaining half settled as a win at the odds taken.
Taking this approach would have banked profit in each of Hearts' opening three competitive fixtures of the season and I'm more than happy to side with a repeat on Friday night given the array of top-flight talent that Robbie Neilson has at his disposal.
However, Dundee's squad is also stacked with firepower and with that in mind, I'm also going to make use of Bet 365's Bet Builder feature by combining over one match goal alongside over one Dundee card – a combination that will give us an eye-catching 20/21 shot with Bet 365.
Both teams will be desperate to lay down an early marker in the title race and I suspect the Dark Blues could revert to the dark arts when trying to tame the Jam Tarts during this capital curtain-raiser.
This Scottish Championship match between Hearts and Dundee will be played on Oct 16, 2020 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Hearts vs Dundee prediction.