Often derided for it's quality south of the border, Scottish football is not as readily scoffed at by punters who see it as simply another league to bet on. With four divisions and two domestic cup competitions, there's plenty going on over the course of the season with live coverage of games on both Sky Sports and BT. Celtic and Rangers are the two big guns in the league and the 'Old Firm' matches between the two are considered by many as amongst the biggest club games on the planet that is viewed (and wagered on...) around the world.
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A major betting market has opened up North of the border after Rangers decided to sack manager Pedro Caixinha after just seven months in charge. The Portuguese's tenure at Ibrox had been rather disastrous with particular low points including a 5-1 defeat at home to Celtic, losing to Aberdeen for the first time at home in 26 years and the humiliation of losing to Luxembourg's FC Progres Niederkorn in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.
Derek McInnes has quickly been established as the favourite to replace Caixinha. The 46-year-old has done a fine job at Aberdeen, clearly establishing the Pittodrie side as Scotland's second side at Rangers expense. Last season he led the club to both domestic cup finals as well as runners-up in the league for the third consecutive year.
Billy Davies has announced that he would be interested in succeeding Caixinha but reports suggest that Rangers are not interested in this moment in time. Davies has been out of work since being sacked by Nottingham Forest in 2014. He's priced similarly to former Rangers manager Alex McLeish, who managed the club between 2001-2006. During that time he won three league titles as well as five domestic cups.
Fancy a wee punt on Scottish football?
Aye we bet you do! Enough with the dodgy Scottish coloquialisms but if you're looking to have a wager on Scottish football, you've got plenty of different options. The SPL is the top division and coverage of that is pretty extensive on T.V. Between Sky and BT, there are 60 live games over the course of the season allowing bettors plenty of chances for in-play betting opportunities. As well as the top flight, all of the leading bookmakers will also have markets right down to League One and Two.
The Cup competitions are also readily available across the bookies, where similarly to English football you have both the FA and League Cups to use your free bet on. In terms of the markets on offer, there is the chance to bet on the outright winner of each of the league's and cup's as well as individual match markets. When betting on Scottish Football games, there are a huge number of options akin to those you may find in the Premier League with well over 150 different markets. For example you can bet on:
- Match winner
- Correct score
- Match Result and Total Goals Over/ Under
- Both teams to score
- Total bookings
The Scottish Premier League is the nation's highest division and as with any footballing hot-bed, the top flight commands the most attention. The format up in Scotland differs slightly from it's counterpart south of the border in the sense that there are only 12 teams in the division. Each side plays another three times then after 33 games the league is split in to a top six and a bottom six. The teams then play a further additional game against the other five teams in that section so that each team plays 38 games over the course of the season. The league is currently sponsored by Ladbrokes, so expect them to have a number of promotions throughout the campaign.
As well as on the individual matches, you can also use your free bet on:
- Outright winner
- Who will be relegated
- Top scorer
Celtic have been the dominant force in Scottish football in recent years, to such an extent that they start seasons odds-on to win the league. There had been a Real Madrid-Barcelona tussle for supremacy in Scotland for many a year until off-field issues saw Rangers forced in to liquidation and were forced to re-enter the Scottish Football League in its lowest division. In the absence of their bitter rivals, Celtic have cleaned up in the league winning six titles in succession. Rangers have won three promotions in four years to regain their top flight status but they still have some way to go to get back to Celtic's level. Aberdeen have finished as runners-up for the last three years but have never really threatened to win the league. Not since the 1984-85 season under Sir Alex Ferguson have the Dons been crowned Scottish champions, with each of the 32 titles since being won by one of the Old Firm.
That perhaps gives some kind of indicator as to just how much a hold Celtic and Rangers hold over Scottish football. Rangers lead the way with the most titles on 54 but Celtic are now on 48 and it really does say it all when Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibernian are all next on the list tied on just four. The rivalry between the two Old Firm sides runs much deeper than merely just on-pitch rivalries. A mixture of political and religious issues have made for a potent cocktail in this rivalry to such an extent it's considered amongst World football's most bitter feuds. Most of the bookmakers are keen to cash in on the big event so a number of enhanced odds and promotions will be available when the two sides do go head-to-head.
As with most competitions, the top scorer market is the other ante-post option that garners a lot of interest alongside the outright winner and relegation market. Given Celtic's dominance in recent seasons, picking one of the Bhoys strikers is usually a good option with Moussa Dembele, Leigh Griffiths and Scott Sinclair all amongst the league's top scorers in the 2016-17 season. However it's not always as simple as going for Celtic's leading marksmen as in 2016-17 it was Ross County's Liam Boyce who topped the scoring charts with 23 goals. Aberdeen's Adam Rooney was another exception in the 2014-15 season as was Michael Higdon for Motherwell in 2012-13.
Betting on the Scottish Cups
The two domestic cup competitions also provide a healthy amount of fixtures over the course of the Scottish football season. The Scottish Cup is the Scots version of the FA Cup and like it's English counterpart, features sides right across the spectrum: from non-league nobodies in the Highlands to the glamour of the Old Firm sides. The winner's receive the oldest association football trophy in the World with the prize first given to tournament winner's Queens Park in way back in 1874. The betting theme is clearly on display in the competition with William Hill the official sponsors.
The Scottish League Cup is again a near carbon-copy of its English equivalent in the sense that each of the league clubs take part. A difference from the English competition is that it starts as early and there are group stages. These commence in July and provide an additional betting market in that you can bet on the winners of each group. With action beginning in July, the final is held much earlier than most other major European competitions taking place in November!
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