This Saturday last seasons league winner flag will be unfurled and currently managerless Hearts will visit Celtic Park for their regular hiding.
Or will they?
Is there any foregone conclusion to be made when 22 grown men don shorts and chase a ball around a football field in what passes as sport in this little corner of the globe?
Let’s keep it in perspective. Anything can happen in an individual game, the plucky challengers might get lucky. But winning the league is a marathon not a sprint and class and more importantly budget counts.
Take a look at the numbers above which give a clear indication that the bookmakers are backing Celtic to win the league at a canter with odds ranging from 1/8 against to 1/20 against. Which to us non gamblers means a return between 5-12.5% dependent upon which institution you let borrow your money.
Compare and contrast with the nearest challengers and predicted runners-up Rangers, aka Sevco, with returns of 700-1200%.
Basically the bookies are saying that it’s a foregone conclusion.
But here’s a few interesting observations.
Rangers were not Celtics closest challengers last season they finished third and an extremely poor 39 points equivalent to 13 wins behind Celtic. The nearest rivals were in fact Aberdeen who finished a pish-poor 30 points behind Celtic.
So why do the bookies seem determined that Rangers are Celtucs closest challengers?
Is it because Sevco strengthened their team?
What with a cowboy manager and a bunch of unknown journeymen and the addition of headline signing Bruno Alves who at 37 is well past his best.
Is that it? Is that the best they can come up with?
Reminder – the bookies aren’t often wrong and perhaps this “strengthening” will allow Sevco to claim second place but they will only ever be runners-up.
Would you like more evidence in support of that conclusion?
This time last year, I had a looks at oddschecker.com where the bookmakers had Celtic at 1/3 on to win the league and The Rangers at 7/2.
So, despite our closest rivals strengthening and Celtic not adding any headline players, which I think they should in preparation for the Champions League campaign. The bookmakers have cut the odds on Celtic to win the league by a two thirds and increased the odds of Sevco by an equivalent amount.
It’s a foregone conclusion. A certainty if you believe the bookies.
But would you bet on it?
At best odds of 1/8 against returns 12.5%. A £1000 stake returns a meagre £125,
Personally I wouldn’t be bothered with earning £125 over a year. But a A £10,000 stake returns a healthier £1250.
It’s a risk like any bet. But still better than money in the bank which is earns nothing and in real world terms is deteriorating.
Not as good as last years return of 33%, which for my “investment” of £10,000 returned enough for me and my grown up kids to look forward to our free holiday in a few weeks time.