The top soccer teams in Scotland are about to renew battle, but once again Celtic looks like a solid pick to claim the Scottish Premiership title.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks it is not a surprise to find that the two biggest clubs in Scottish football, Rangers and Celtic, are dominating the betting. Celtic is the reigning champion and rated as the favorite by bettors going into the 2023/24 season, at around -110, while Rangers is priced at around +115. Hearts and Aberdeen are considered to be the best of the rest.
MTS Scottish Premiership Betting Briefing
The Scottish Premiership is a smaller league than most of the top divisions in European football, and is made up of only 12 teams, although these teams play a total of 38 games during the season.
The Premiership in its current form was created in 2013 but overall there has been 127 editions of the top flight in Scottish football and it has been dominated by Rangers and Celtic, with the two clubs recording 108 titles between them. This tournament has been won by another team only 19 times, and the last of those wins came in the 1984/85 season.
The Premiership has a relatively unusual structure as it is divided into two phases. In the first, all of the teams play one another three times and then the league divides into two, with the top six playing a further five games and the bottom six doing the same.
MTS Scottish Premiership Favorites
Both of the old rivals at the top of Scottish football have faced upheaval this summer, but Celtic appears to be positioned more strongly than Rangers, thanks in part to its financial advantage.
The champion club has a new manager in Brendan Rodgers, although this is not his first spell at the club, having won the Premiership twice in 2016/17 and 2017/18. Ange Postecoglou has been a popular manager at Celtic, but Rodgers has all the experience necessary to ensure that there is no dip in standards. The loss of Jota is a blow, but the club has the resources to bring in whichever players Rodgers needs and it is hard to look past Celtic in the Premiership market.
For Rangers, there has been no managerial change this summer, with Michael Beale given the chance to have a full preseason of preparation with the Rangers’ squad, but there have been some major departures. Ryan Kent, Alan McGregor and Alfredo Morelos have all left the club and while they have been replaced, this looks like a season of transition for the blue half of Glasgow, which should ensure that Celtic is able to retain its title.
MTS Scottish Premierships Contenders
Could this be the year that the Celtic-Rangers domination of Scottish football comes to an end? That seems highly unlikely. Last season Aberdeen finished a full 35 points behind Rangers in third place, and that gap is not particularly unusual for a league that has been dominated by the two Glasgow clubs for nearly 40 years, in which there have rarely been other Premiership contenders.
Aberdeen is rated alongside Hearts in the betting as the main challenger for third place again this season, and its strong finish to the 2022/23 season after a slow start promises much for the campaign ahead, particularly with the arrival of Leighton Clarkson and Rhys Williams from Liverpool.
Maintaining a challenge in Europe and domestically will once again be a challenge for Aberdeen, which will be involved in European competition until Christmas at least. But there is likely to be more improvement to come under Barry Robson and Aberdeen looks a good bet to finish third again if you can find a bookmaker offering a market on a top-three finish.
Aberdeen’s chances are increased by the uncertainty surrounding its two main rivals. Hearts’ chances will hinge on how successful the Steven Naismith and Frank McAvoy managerial partnership turns out to be, but there has to be enough doubt about it to make a bet on Hearts a risky proposition.
On the other side of Edinburgh, Lee Johnson is under pressure to guide his team to more consistency in the season ahead, although defeat to an Andorran team in the Europa Conference League qualifying round does not suggest that the Hibs team is yet firing on all cylinders.
The gap between the three contenders and the rest is not that wide and Motherwell appears to be the team best placed to close it. Under Stuart Kettlewell, Motherwell finished the season strongly, and although Kevin van Veen will obviously be missed, there is likely more improvement to come from Kettlewell’s team. With a full preseason to work with his squad, he should be able to guide them to a strong start and Motherwell looks an interesting outside bet for the top three.