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EXPERT SOCCER TIPS: EPL

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE

CELTIC V RANGERS

Old Firm matches just don’t get any bigger than this. Celtic are three points ahead with three to play as they look for their 12th title in 13 years. A win here seals that title. On paper at least, Rangers may as well not turn up, it’s done. But that’s the beauty of this clash, when it all looks one sided, it often isn’t.

The reasons it looks one sided is Celtic have won two of the three games this season between the sides, the most recent was a thrilling 3-3 at Ibrox. Looking at the Head to Head overall, in the past 10 meetings at Celtic Park, Celtic have won three of the past four and 6/10 overall with two draws and two losses. Those two losses however, were in season 19/20 and 20/21 so not even relevant today.

The three matches this season were 3-3 (Ibrox), 2-1 (Celtic Park) and 1-0 (Ibrox) and Celtic have lost just one home game all season, a 2-0 loss to Hearts. They have won seven of their past eight and the last two games won both 3-0.

Celtic have a fully fit squad to choose from, Rangers are definitely missing key players. Defender Leon Balogun will be assessed after picking up an injury last week against Kilmarnock. Midfielder Ryan Jack is fit again but will not be considered while Oscar Cortes, Danilo, Connor Goldson, Rabbi Matondo and Abdallah Sima are out.

With that in mind,  facing a fully fit squad, 60,000 screaming home fans kicking them on, (no away fans allowed at these games) and a win securing the title, and not winning any of the three games this season, Rangers face a monumental task to get anything from the game.

Adding to their woes, Celtic often score in the usually frantic first five minutes and this season have a lot of goals in the 30-45 minute period as well. In all 17 home games this season, Celtic are 13-3-1, and 12 of those had a first half goal and 14 had a second half goal. 11/17 went Over 2.5 and 6/17 went Over 3.5. The past four games ended 3-0, 3-0, 3-1 and 7-1 so they are scoring for fun at the right time.

Rangers away are 12-2-3 but their past three were 2-1, 0-0 against Dundee and a probably title deciding 2-3 loss to Ross County. Had Rangers won both of those games, they would be one point behind here and Celtic would be very nervous. Because that would have given Rangers seven straight wins away from home and they would be bouncing into Celtic Park with chests puffed out.

Looking at the betting side of things, Over 2.5 looks nailed on, and probably both teams to score is a solid bet too. Rangers simply have to win, nothing else counts and that is where I believe they will fall over. Putting too much into attack will leave them very open, and with a weakened side, against a rampaging Celtic at home, this is literally walking into the lion’s den.

My conclusion is Celtic win this and wrap up the title. I also think they win by two or more goals. Most likely 3-1 or 4-2. Possible but less likely is 2-0. The way Rangers have to go all out attack, probably means we have to leave Celtic Win To Nil alone, although at $4.00 I would love a bit of that.

Looking at both teams to score it is too short for me at $1.63 as Celtic have not conceded in the first half in 10/11 home games have scored 16-2 in their past four home matches. I can see some real value in the game so let’s look at some bets.

First though, some final match stats to give Rangers fans some hope.

Celtic last went unbeaten in four league derbies in a single season in 2017-18.

Rangers have lost three in a row at Celtic Park, last losing four successive away Premiership derbies from February 2011 to September 2016. They have not lost the final league derby in any of the past five seasons (W4 D1).

Celtic have won seven of their past eight home league games (D1), including each of their past four in a row while scoring 3+ goals each time.

Only Motherwell (19) have recovered more points from losing positions in the Premiership this season than Rangers (14), while they have dropped the fewest points from winning positions in the division this term (three). If they can lead, they can win.

Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi has scored in each of his past three home league games (four goals), while he has never previously scored in four in a row at Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership. He also has three goals in his past two home league games against Rangers.

James Tavernier has been directly involved in six of Rangers’ past 10 league goals against Celtic (five goals, one assist), scoring each of their past three at Celtic Park and has 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) in Old Firm derbies in the Scottish Premiership since Rangers’ promotion in 2016 – the joint-most of any player (level with Odsonne Édouard).

So after taking all of that on board, it’s an Old Firm derby and one thing we know about these games, all of that goes out the window when the whistle goes. This will be 90 minutes of madness and let’s hope the game is not decided by yet another Scottish VAR howler or a referee that cracks under the pressure of a title deciding game.

Enjoy!

 

Betting Strategy

Lay Rangers for 1 unit @ $4.40

Back Celtics +1.5 goals for 1 unit @ $3.15

Back Over 2.5 goals for 3 units @ $1.60 or better

Back Over 1.5 first half goals for 2 units @ $2.30 or better

EPL TIPS

The English Premier League (EPL) is the number one football competition in England. It consists of the 20 best teams playing 38 home and away games with the season running from August through to May. Teams are awarded 3-points for a win, 1-point for a draw and no points for a loss with the winner of the league title being the team with the most points at the end of the season. With the best club football competition in the world fast approaching, Betfair wants to help you find a winner by providing expert English Premier League tips on the latest fixtures plus futures markets.

The EPL operates on a promotion and relegation system with the English Football League (EFL). The top-3 teams at the end of the EFL season are promoted to the EPL and the bottom-3 in the table are relegated to the EFL. The current list of teams in the EPL for the 2023/24 season are: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth, Burnley, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Luton Town, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sign up to Betfair now to keep up to date with the latest EPL markets on Australia’s largest betting exchange, and follow along on the Betfair Hub for our expert EPL tips, strategies and analysis.

To ensure you capitalise on the 2023/24 EPL season, be sure to follow Betfair’s latest updated expert EPL tips across the entire season. Betfair’s analysts provide head-to-head selections, total goals picks, goal scorer tips, advice on which individual players we think will play well, game previews, analysis plus much more!

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