PRO PUNTER Dino Vita (@VitaDino) delivers his verdict on the ante-post Scottish Premiership markets, picking out his best pre-season bets for the 2019/20 campaign.
WLB Season Preview 2019/20 | Scottish Premiership
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Scottish Premiership could have a real title race on its hands this season. There is big noise coming from the blue half of Glasgow, with the Ibrox boys believing the time is right for Steven Gerrard’s troops to make a serious play for top honours.
Rangers won two of the four Old Firm derbies last season, a return that has gotten the Teddy Bears excited over the potential prospect of foiling Celtic's charge towards a ninth successive Premiership crown.
Alfredo Morales remains at the club, and along with Jermain Defoe, the Gers possess a lethal strike force. Steve Davis has signed on and he'll be a massive influence in the middle of the park, alongside Player of the Season Scott Arfield.
Celtic will still be confident in their ability to cement their place as Scotland's number one side but how will they cope with the departure of Brendan Rodgers as they chase a quad-treble. Neil Lennon helped the team over the line at the end of last season and he’s been rewarded with the full-time managerial position.
Odsonne Edouard finished the campaign in excellent form and will be the man to catch in the scoring charts, whilst the retuning Leigh Griffiths will also fancy his chances of getting amongst the goals for the Bhoys in what should be a fascinating battle at the top.
Below the Old Firm
Below the Old Firm giants, Aberdeen, Hibs and Hearts will have their sights set on a top-three finish and taking the ‘best of the rest' honours.
Aberdeen are best placed having held onto star striker Sam Cosgrove and Scotland international Scott McKenna in the summer. The Dons have lost skipper Graham Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven but make the most appeal at 10/11 (Bet365) in the Without Celtic & Rangers market.
Hibs have kept the bulk of their squad together and new boss Paul Heckingbottom has added Scott Allan and £250,000 forward Christian Doidge to his roster. Rivals Hearts will want to improve on last term's sixth-place finish; the Jambos fell away after a very strong start. Steven Naismith has signed permanently, along with the returning Jamie Walkerm and new centre-half Craig Halkett.
Kilmarnock upset the odds to finish third but have since lost manager Steve Clarke. His replacement, Angelo Alessio, is already under serious pressure after seeing his new-look Killie side dumped out of the Europa League by Welsh minnows Connah’s Quay.
The battle for survival
The bottom half of the Premiership was like two separate divisions in 2018/19. Motherwell, Livingston and St Johnstone were never in any danger of being dragged into a relegation battle but will need to find plenty if they wish to break into the top-six.
At the bottom, Hamilton and St Mirren did just enough to avoid the plunge and are joined by Championship champions Ross County this season. Saints welcome fan favourite Jim Goodwin to the club as their new manager but a worrisome start in the Betfred Cup suggests it could be a long campaign for the Buddies.
Scottish Premiership 2019/20 – Aberdeen to win Without Celtic & Rangers (10/11 Bet365)
Scottish Premiership 2019/20 – St Mirren to finish bottom (9/4 Bet365)
Scottish Premiership 2019/20 – Jermain Defoe to be Top Goalscorer (7/1 each-way Bet365)
Scottish Premiership 2019/20 – Sam Cosgrove to be Top Goalscorer (10/1 each-way Bet365)