IT'S Scottish Cup weekend and the draw has been fairly kind to the big guns with all 12 Premiership sides facing lower-league opposition and seven of them enjoying home advantage.
Rangers and Aberdeen are two of those sides who will have no problem progressing as they host League One outfits Stranraer and Dumbarton respectively. Really just a case of how many they win by.
I was far from impressed with the lack of prices from the bookies. William Hill only had odds out on Wednesday which is scandalous given they sponsor the competition and the first game is on Friday night.
You can listen to my thoughts on this week's Gambla Betting Podcast as we cover:
- Scottish Cup betting preview
- Rangers and Aberdeen goals
- Can Hearts be trusted?
- Poor show from the bookies
- EPL relegation 6-pointer
- Second-half goals at QPR
Rangers vs Stranraer – Scottish Cup (7.45pm)
This really is a David vs Goliath contest and you have to fear for the part-time League One side. Ibrox has been a fortress this season and they have dished out no fewer than four 5+ goal hammerings (5-0, 5-0, 5-0, 6-1) this season at home in the league. This could be a cricket score
Forty-thousand plus tickets have been sold which is absolutely sensational news for Stranraer who will share half the gate receipts and collect well over £300,000 – an amount that will keep them going for years.
It's really damage limitation for the minnows who will try to keep the score respectful but they have a task on their hands. Jermain Defoe comes in for banned Alfredo Morelos and although Steven Gerrard may make changes, it will still be a strong Rangers side.
Can see Rangers hitting at least 5 or 6.
Aberdeen vs Dumbarton – Scottish Cup (3pm, Saturday)
Perfect draw this for the Dons, home tie against League One opposition and they will surely want to avoid a repeat of last year's embarrassing 1-1 draw at home to Stenhousemuir.
The big difference between with the FA Cup and Scottish Cup is I don't need to worry about team news – Aberdeen will field their strongest side and that means Sam Cosgrove should grab a couple here.
That's no disrespect to Stranraer and Dumbarton, there's just too much of a gulf. It's all about them enjoying their day and the riches that come with it in terms of gate receipts.
Dundee United vs Hibs (3pm, Sunday)
The tie of the round comes from Tannadice as Premiership-bound Dundee United take on Jack Ross' Hibs side. It should be a cracking game.
Both sides are a real threat going forward and with the jury still out on this Hibs defence, United will fancy their chances of causing an upset.
Lawrence Shankland has an opportunity to put himself in the shop window as he looks to add to his 24 goals this season and will be United's main threat. Both sides to score here and that should lead us to at least 3 goals.
Scottish Cup Tips
- Rangers to score 4+ goals
- Aberdeen to win and score 2+ goals
- 5/4 (bet365) (NAP)
- Dundee United vs Hibs over 2.5 goals
- 41/50 (Marathonbet)
Norwich vs Bournemouth (3pm, Saturday)
This is the true epitome of a sixpointer – basement side Norwich face second-bottom Bournemouth in a match the Canaries can ill-afford to lose. Lose and it's curtains for them.
They are up against a Bournemouth side who can't buy a goal and have slid down the league after a promising start. They've scored just 2 goals in their last 8 matches which is a shocking return and without a win in 10 the pressure is starting to build up on the south coast side.
The worrying thing for them is they have lost to clubs you would be expecting them to pick up some points so can't blame a tough fixture list. That said they have had a lengthy injury list.
Norwich have seen plenty of goals at Carrow Road and they've managed to score two against Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea – this is their biggest game of the season, losing is not an option against a Bournemouth side who are in a dire positon and can't score.
- Norwich to Score 2+ goals
- 12/11 (VBET)
QPR vs Leeds (12.45pm, Saturday)
Stats-based selection here from my book of goals and it's a side and market I've have had some good success with this season. Loftus Road has been a goal haven this season particularly for second-half goals.
Thirteen of their 17 home games have seen at least two second-half goals and with 13 of those games going over 2.5 goals there's a great chance we'll see another 2 goals as promotion-chasing Leeds roll into town.
- Over 1.5 second-half goals
- 4/5 (Bet365)