Hearts vs. Celtic Pick to Win
Date:Sunday, August 7, 2016
Where: Scottish Premier League
by Keith, Professional Soccer/Football Handicapper, Predictem
Match Odds: Hearts 7/2, Draw 11/4, Celtic 3/4
Moneyline: Hearts +350, Draw +275, Celtic -125
Over/Under Best Market: UNDER 2.5 EVENS (+100)
With the Scottish Premier League ready to kick off, there is heightened optimism for each club consigned to compete at Scotlands highest level of football. Celtic dominated the Scottish Premiership as usual, clinching yet another title in astounding fashion. Celtic secured 86 points, while Heart of Midlothian finished in third with 65 points. Even playing host, Hearts enter this game as a huge underdog but it is often the opening weeks that procure the most upsets. With this being said, we are not calling for Hearts to pull off a shocking upset, but a draw is certainly plausible.
The target on Celtics back has to itch at one point or another, opening day is positioned to be the greatest snare imaginable for the elite outfit. Celtic spent 27 weeks atop the table once they took control of the Premiership and in route to their 2015/16 championship, Celtic secured four points against Hearts. Celtic drew in a scoreless stalemate in Glasgow against Hearts early in the season, but they would follow up this effort with a remarkable 3-1 thrashing on the road in Edinburgh against Hearts.
Nevertheless we are approaching this contest from fading a public reaction. Two things must be taken in to consideration. First, when you back a team like Celtic you pay a hidden price. Celtic like many other clubs in Europe have a prestigious reputation that fosters familiarity from ambitious punters. The myth is that with this price, you pay for quality. Nevertheless, many keen on Celtic are ignoring that they are on the road to open the season and regardless of result, there are thirty-seven fixtures remaining regardless of whatever happens in the opener. For Hearts, this game bears far more significance as is it is their greatest hurdle and they are privileged to face it quick and early at home. Three points for Hearts would do much for their side as opposed to Celtic gathering yet another notch under their bedpost. Our second point is the fact that the public is likely overreacting to the fact Celtic is defending champion and thus a surge of money will likely come in early as it seems to be a safer play.
Taking back juice on favorites over a long term is proven to be a costly venture. Books know this and thus the price for Celtic is not meant to be a gift, but instead a bankroll crusher. Celtic may go on to win this contest but the price to back them will only rise and thus win percentage on this side must be astronomical to show a profit. Bottom line, there is more equity in laying Celtic whether you take the draw or win, the ROI on this play has a better chance to yield dividends over a longer span as opposed to playing conservative on a favorite. Hearts is aware of this too and they will likely enter this fixture with a chip on their shoulder. Home pitch advantage is a big part of the game and Hearts is not looking to start off their season on the wrong foot, a stalemate is even considered a victory for Hearts and thus they will approach the contest in such a regard.
As a result of both teams entering this fixture as their first game of the season, both may in fact enter rusty. In all likelihood, scoring will likely be minimal as that is a trend for many opening fixtures regardless of whatever outfit takes the pitch. Under 2.5 offers the most upside because we are afforded two goals at evens, which may be more than enough wiggle room considering the contestants. Hearts finished third in 2015/16 and many have failed to take note of this. Do not be surprised if neither team finds the back of the net.
Celtic Recent Form (2015-16)
W Motherwell 7-0
L St. Johnstone 1-2
W Aberdeen 3-2
W Hearts 3-1
D Ross County 1-1
Hearts Recent Form
D St. Johnstone 2-2
W Aberdeen 1-0
D Ross County 1-1
L Celtic 1-3
L Motherwell 0-1
Keith’s Prediction for the Game: Draw +275 (11/4) and UNDER 2.5 (EVENS)