The final round of games before the Premiership split usually provides plenty of drama and this season should be no different with three teams battling it out for the last two places in the top six.
St Mirren, Hibs and Livingston are the sides in the spotlight this afternoon, with the seventh-placed Lions needing one of their rivals to slip up.
Most of the pressure is on the Hibees as missing out on the top half would make Lee Johnson’s first season in charge a failure.
Last week’s derby win was massive for the Easter Road boss but that feelgood factor would be washed away if Hibs lose at St Johnstone and miss out on the top six.
Johnson was up against a rookie boss in the dugout last weekend and finds himself in the same scenario today after Saints binned Callum Davidson.
Coach Steven MacLean has stepped up as interim boss in Perth and it’s a baptism of fire with St Johnstone just four points clear of the drop zone.
The new manager bounce worked wonders for Motherwell when Stuart Kettlewell took over but Steven Naismith flew off the trampoline and ended up bruised and battered on his Jambos dugout debut in the derby.
That makes today’s game hard to call, although McBookie have Hibs at 20/23 favourites with Saints priced 23/10.
I’m going to dip into the scorer market for this one, with Kevin Nisbet 2/1 at Paddy Power after his winner for the Hibees last week.
We’ve seen red cards in the last two meetings so it could also pay to back a busy day for the ref, with over 5.5 cards priced 13/10 at Bet365.
St Mirren have been strong at home all season so will fancy their chances against a Killie team who have approached road trips with all the enthusiasm of a jaded rock band heading back on tour to pay off the taxman.
Unibet price the Buddies at 11/10 and that looks decent value with Kilmarnock winning just once away from home in the league.
Derek McInnes’ men ground out a 0-0 draw on their last trip to Paisley back in October so betting against BTTS is another option at 17/20 with McBookie. Livingston’s hopes of another top-six finish looked to be over after a horror run of just one win in eight games.
But the Lions roared back to life last weekend with a 2-0 win over St Johnstone and still stand a chance as they head to Tannadice today.
Dundee United have hit form at the right time with back-to-back wins over Hibs and Motherwell lifting them out of the drop zone.
Jim Goodwin will want to get another three points on the board before the split so it bodes well for an open game with Livi also needing a victory. Backing over 2.5 goals paid off for me with United last week so I’m going for that bet again at 21/20 with McBookie.
It could be a fiery one and the same firm price over 5.5 cards at 11/10.
Motherwell looked to be mounting a late bid for top-six glory, boosting their confidence like a wallflower knocking back Merrydown in the toilets towards the dying embers of the school disco.
That all ended with defeat to United last weekend and they will now be on the outside looking in at the glamour games after the split.
Beating Celtic at Parkhead today would have been a tall order anyway with the Hoops in such relentless form.
Matt O’Riley scored a double in that win at Killie last Sunday so the midfielder appeals today at 11/4 with 888Sport for a goal.
I also fancy Well’s Dan O’Casey for a card (3/1, William Hill) after collecting four yellows in his last six outings.
Hearts have now lost six in a row but that dismal run has to end sometime and they are McBookie’s 8/11 favourites for a win over rock-bottom Ross County today.
Lawrence Shankland has just one goal in his last seven outings so I’m backing him to end the drought at 27/25 with BetUK.
The big game tomorrow sees Aberdeen host Rangers and it’s always a slugfest. Ross McCrorie was booked in the last meeting and is 13/8 at SkyBet for another card.
- Nisbet to score (2/1, P Power)
- St Mirren win (11/10, Unibet)
- Over 2.5 goals at Tannadice (21/20, McBookie)
- McCrorie to be carded (13/8, SkyBet).