The new Scottish Premiership season kicks off on Saturday, with the league seemingly rejuvenated by the Hollywood appointment of Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager.
Whether or not a serious title challenge can be mounted by the Ibrox club, a figure of Gerrard’s stature is a welcome addition to Scottish football, particularly in the wake of the hyperbole surrounding Adam Rooney’s transfer to Salford City.
Bookies Corner enlists the help of three British bookmakers to run through some of the main talking points moving into the new season.
SBC: It’s a very real possibility that Celtic could win an unprecedented third consecutive treble this season. Is this a worrying prospect for bookmakers?
Alan Alger, PR Manager, Betway: “Celtic have dominated Scottish football in recent seasons and we go 7/2 that Brendan Rodgers’ side complete the unique ‘treble treble’ this season.
“Though we’d obviously prefer them to fail in at least one competition, the result we really don’t want is Rangers pulling off a shock Premiership title win at 15/2.
“Steven Gerrard’s new side have been very popular in the ante-post betting ahead of the new season and as things stand, they are a much worse result than Celtic completing a third consecutive treble.”
SBC: ‘The Gerrard Effect’ – Have you noticed an upsurge in betting interest/activity in Scottish football since Steven Gerrard was installed as Rangers manager?
Alex Apati, PR Executive, Ladbrokes: “Rangers are by far the best-backed side in the competition in terms of bets placed, as the value has to be with them. Is that because of the Steven Gerrard factor, or is it more because they’re 7/1 while Celtic are probably too short at 1/10?
“I’d say it’s the latter in truth, although our traders have confirmed that we’ve seen an increase in interest in Scottish football betting since Gerrard’s arrival. We’re expecting them to do a lot better than last season but the odds suggest Celtic will still run away with things.”
SBC: Livingston defied the odds by gaining promotion last season despite having the second smallest budget in the Scottish Championship. Since then, manager David Hopkin has left the club and the Lions go into the new season as one of the favourites for the drop. Has Livingston to finish bottom been one of the most popular Scottish betting markets so far?
Paul Petrie, Co-Founder, McBookie: “We are actually top price Livingston to finish bottom of the league at 5/2. That makes them joint favourite with St Mirren so we certainly don’t think they are certainties to go straight back down.
“Kenny Miller has excellent contacts in the game and is likely to make good use of the loan market to strengthen the squad. They also showed by their performance against Partick Thistle in the play off that they are comparable to teams in the bottom six.
“At a bigger price it might be worth a bet on Dundee at 9/1. It has been a poor transfer window for them so far and at the moment they look like they will struggle for goals.”