Celtic host the first Old Firm Derby of the season but will be without support from the stands. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse explains why Rangers are the value bet...
"Rangers to leave Parkhead with a crucial three points can be backed at a generous looking 9/5"
One of the most famous fixtures in world football returns this weekend when Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers clash in Glasgow. Despite the best efforts of the SPFL's random fixtures, this match won't escape the lockdown and there will be no supporters inside the stadium.
That should make for a strange atmosphere in such an important match, but it may also lift the pressure off the players and allow them to showcase their talents. A home win would send Celtic top of the table with a game in hand over Rangers while three points for the visitors would see them open a four-point gap over the chasing pack.
This promises to be another thrilling renewal of Scotland's premier fixture and Betfair traders are offering a long list of exciting bets. Ramp up your interest by predicting the winner of the match or play one of the many specials, including first goalscorer, correct score, and half-time/full-time.
Celtic lose key players
There was talk in certain tabloid newspapers of this match being postponed after several Celtic players were forced to self-isolate following positive coronavirus tests in their national team squads. Nir Bitton and Odsonne Edouard both tested positive for COVID-19 while teammate Ryan Christie was ordered to stay away after being in close contact with Southampton's Stuart Armstrong who was also positive.
That has given Celtic boss Neil Lennon a selection headache ahead of the biggest game of the season but the home team will take confidence from their recent form. They enter second in the table with 25 points on the board thanks to eight wins and a draw. The Bhoys have scored 25 goals and conceded five so far, last seen beating St Johnstone 2-0 at McDiarmid Park before the break.
Rangers arrive in fine form
Rangers seem to have avoided the bad luck encountered by their hosts during the UEFA Nations League break but more tests will be carried out in the build-up and manager Steven Gerrard could still be forced into a re-think before settling on his starting 11. The former Liverpool and England star leads his troops across the city aiming to claim back-to-back wins at Celtic Park following a famous 2-1 here in late December.
The Gers sit in pole position after 10 games played and are yet to suffer defeat, their form so far showing eight wins and two draws. They have won each of their last two starts, hammering Motherwell 5-1 at Fir Park last month before opening their account for October with a 2-0 home cheer over Ross County. Sandwiched between those wins was a stunning 2-1 over Galatasaray in the Europa League playoffs.
Gers look value for an upset
Despite problems in the build-up to this match and the fact they will be without their support, Celtic have been marked up as strong favourites on the Betfair Sportsbook with traders offering odds of 6/4. Rangers to leave Parkhead with a crucial three points can be backed at a generous looking 9/5 and that's sure to catch the attention of fans. The draw is 12/5.
Three of the last four derbies have produced less than three goals and that will push backers eager to avoiding taking sides towards a bet on under 2.5 goals at 4/5. Over 2.5 goals is 10/11 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Away win a risk worth taking
The stats attached to this match show one team has failed to find the net in three of the last four with the spare being that 2-1 win for Rangers at this venue last year. Edouard scored for the beaten side that day, but replays showed a hand was used in the build-up and it shouldn't have counted. No in the both teams to score market makes sense at 11/10 (Betfair Sportsbook).
Rangers look to have been overpriced in this match and for that reason, they should be backed at odds of 9/5 on the sportsbook. They won here last time, arrive in strong form and have been solid in defence. Add to that Celtic's selection problems and it looks a risk worth taking.