IT'S the long-awaited kick-off to the new Scottish season on Saturday. KevMac is in the hotseat with his tips for the opening weekend.
Aberdeen v Rangers
ALFREDO MORELOS has hogged the headlines in the build-up to the big Premiership kick-off after being linked with a big-money move to Lille.
But it could pay to steer clear of the Rangers hitman and opt for team-mates such as Joe Aribo and Ianis Hagi when picking your bets for today’s crunch opener with Aberdeen.
With Jermain Defoe crocked it looks like the Colombian will lead the line for Steven Gerrard’s side despite the uncertainty about his future.
His head could be elsewhere though and Morelos’ form in front of goal has been poor for the whole of 2020.
He scored just one goal in 11 competitive games before lockdown and Morelos’ only strike during pre-season came from the spot against Hamilton Accies.
The hitman also has a dismal disciplinary record in games against the Dons, seeing red three times, so he might not stay on the park for the whole 90 minutes.
Morelos is evens with 888Sport to score at Pittodrie and 17-5 with the same firm to score first.
But I’m more drawn to midfield maestro Aribo who has been in superb form during pre-season. The Nigerian is 100-30 with Betway for anytime scorer and that looks terrific value if he replicates his displays in those friendlies.
Romanian playmaker Hagi has also been among the goals in warm-up games but is shorter at 23-10 with Betway for a goal here.
Aberdeen have suffered a blow with injury ruling last season’s top scorer Sam Cosgrove out for around two months and Curtis Main is also sidelined for the opener.
Young Bruce Anderson will start up top and he’s 11-2 with Bet365 to score.
Pittodrie is a tough opener for Gerrard’s side as they bid to stop rivals Celtic making it 10 titles in a row.
But with no fans in attendance it won’t be the same frenzied atmosphere so Gers are favourites at a best 4-9 with Unibet.
Their last two trips to Pittodrie have ended in draws so plenty of punters will fancy the stalemate at 19-5 with Betfred while the Dons are as big as 6-1 with most firms.
Celtic v Hamilton
Champions Celtic unfurl the league flag at home to Hamilton tomorrow with Accies as big as 30-1 with Betfair to spring a shock.
The Hoops smashed seven past St Johnstone on day one last season so the best value could be backing them to go on the rampage.
Over 3.5 Celtic goals pays 6-4 at Bet365 and that could come up if Neil Lennon’s men manage to break the deadlock early.
Winger Mohammed Elyounoussi has been in fine form in pre-season so looks the best bet in the anytime scorer market at 7-5 with Bet365.
Dundee Utd v St Johnstone
Championship winners Dundee United return to top-flight action with a Tayside derby against St Johnstone at Tannadice.
These teams look pretty evenly matched so a draw could be the best option at 23-10 (888Sport).
Lawrence Shankland will be out to show he can be just as deadly in the Premiership and the United striker is overpriced at 31-20 with 888Sport for a goal.
Hibernian v Kilmarnock
Hibs boss Jack Ross has recruited well and I fancy his side to beat Kilmarnock at home, which is priced 23-20 with Betfred.
Like Shankland, Kevin Nisbet will be out to show he can score consistently at the highest level after netting for fun in the lower leagues with Raith and Dunfermline.
He’s 7-4 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer which is worth a punt.
St Mirren v Livingston
St Mirren’s clash with Livingston is a tough one to call as both teams look in decent shape, although the Buddies had their training regime disrupted by a Covid-19 lockdown.
Both teams to score looks the best shout here and it’s 19-20 with Bet365.
Ross County v Motherwell
Ross County and Motherwell bring the curtain down on the first round of games on Monday night.
I can see that treating us to a few goals so try over 2.5 strikes at evens with 888Sport.
- Joe Aribo anytime scorer (100-30 Betway)
- Aberdeen v Rangers
- St Mirren v Livingston
- (24-10, Paddy Power)
- Celtic -2
- (48-10, Paddy Power)