Raith Rovers vs DunfermlineScottish League Cup, KO: 17:15 Jul 15, 2023, Starks Park
THE standout fixture from the opening set of Scottish League Cup matches takes place at Starks Park on Saturday evening as Raith Rovers entertain Dunfermline.
Ian Murray's men may have underwhelmed last season but some astute looking signings have sparked a real sense of optimism at Starks Park ahead of the start of the competitive campaign this weekend.
While there is the likelihood of an improved campaign for the Kirkcaldy club this time around, whether or not they warrant the tag of joint-second favourites in the Scottish Championship ante-post betting remains questionable.
Regardless of Rovers' ambitions for this season, they will see their Group F curtain-raiser with Fife rivals Dunfermline as a chance to lay down an early marker.
James McPake's side swept aside all before them in Scottish League One last season, with the Pars romping to the title in impressive fashion, losing just once in the process.
Having retained the core of the squad that were crowned champions, there is a real feel-good factor at East End Park ahead of the new season, with Dunfermline many pundits' idea of a decent dark horse shouts in the second tier this term.
Raith Rovers, who famously lifted the Scottish League Cup in 1994, go into their season opener as 10/11 favourites with Bet 365.
I suspect this cup tie could be a lot closer than the odds suggest and I’m therefore keen to couple up Over 0.5 Dunfermline Goals and Dunfermline with a + 1 start on the handicap at 19/20 (William Hill).
A large proportion of Dunfermline's success last season stemmed from a solid defensive foundation and that is evidenced by the fact that James McPake's men tasted defeat just three times inside 90 minutes across Scottish League One, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup duty last season.
What's more, the attacking threat that the Pars' carry and their ability to score should give them a good opportunity to stay competitive in this contest.
The East End Park outfit fired a blank in just five of their 42 league and cup assignments last season, so they should have the tools to create opportunities against a Rovers side that may need time to gel in the midst of their summer recruitment drive
It's also worth pointing out that early Raith Rovers team news, as well as their recent friendly line-ups. would suggest that it could be a makeshift defensive setup for the hosts on Saturday, which is likely to have a an impact on this all-Fife affair.
With all this in mind, as well as the likelihood of Dunfermline being boosted by a large travelling support, siding with the aforementioned 19/20 (William Hill) combination in Kirkcaldy on Saturday evening seems like a sensible solution.
I'll also dip into the Anytime Goalscorer market where the 10/1 (Bet 365) on Dunfermline's Kyle Benedictus to score looks worthy of some loose change.
The Pars skipper – who was instrumental in helping his side set a clean sheet record en-route to the League One title last term – also took on the mantle of penalty-taker and netted seven times during the campaign in the process.
This Scottish League Cup match between Raith Rovers and Dunfermline will be played on Jul 15, 2023 and kick off at 17:15. Check below for our tipsters best Raith Rovers vs Dunfermline prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.