First of all happy new year to everyone and here’s to a profitable 2014. This column has been enjoying a break over the festive season but I’ve kept my eye on the ball during that time in a bid to further our profits in the second half of the season.
We had a disappointing end to 2013 with two of our last three bets namely Celtic and Dundee Utd failing to cover handicaps against stubborn opponents in Hearts and Ross County. Dunfermline however were comfortable 3-0 winners for us in a game I saw at Arbroath.
So here goes with my first selections of the new year.
I backed Motherwell to beat Hearts at 3/4 early in the week but since striking the bet the odds have been slashed to around 1/2 and there’s no value in that price.
As an alternative I suggest considering Well player Lionel Ainsworth to score in the game, this is a player in red hot form who has scored in the steelmen’s last four games. Hearts continue to struggle both for points and players and Ainsworth is bound to get plenty of chances against this beleagured young jambos team.
Dundee Utd Draw No Bet to beat Inverness CT – 2pts, 11/10
Since winning six games on the bounce the Arabs have hit the buffers but will be boosted by coming from two goals down to snatch a draw against the in form Hibs last weekend. The key to this comeback was keeping 11 players on the park something United hadn’t done in their previous games following their purple patch of November and early December.
The tangerines remain a talented team with numerous attacking weapons and this Sunday’s game looks a good opportunity to regain winning ways.
Inverness look to be regressing under new manager John Hughes and other than a win over bottom of the league Hearts the highlanders have failed to win in all five of the games since Hughes took charge. Injuries haven’t helped with key player and captain Richie Foran out for a while with James Vincent another good player missing also.
At the prices United have to be backed against a vulnerable Inverness team minus key personnel.
Morton Draw No Bet to beat Raith – 1pt, 7/5
The ton have endured a dreadful season after finishing runners up last year. Key players Michael Tidser and Peter McDonald have moved on to bigger clubs and the team has suffered as a result culminating in previous manager Alan Moore losing his job a few weeks back.
The controversial ex Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has taken over and has immediately overhauled the Greenock squad. Results haven’t turned yet but given the standard of players he’s brought in it can only be a matter of time before the team start to improve.
One of the new signings is ex Scottish internationalist striker Gary O’Connor who if fit can cause havoc at this level. O’Connor is a big powerful striker who is sure to be suited by the hurly burly of this division.
Raith have hit the skids in recent weeks and have struggled particularly on the road. The rovers have lost their last three away matches in the league at Livingston (0-3), Falkirk and Alloa, as a result confidence must be at a lowish ebb in the Starks Park dressing room.
Peterhead to beat E Stirling – 5/6, 2pts
This is a venue that the Blue Toon usually excel at, which added to their current scintillating form makes them a strong bet on Saturday.
Peterhead are edging clear at the top of League 2 following an excellent run of form which has seen them win five or their last six games and scoring plenty of goals in the process. Strikers Rory McAllister and Andy Rodgers are better class than this level and both are finding the net regularly at the moment.
East Stirling started the season well but are no more than a stuffy side who have failed to win any of their last six games. The Shire’s home record is negative too and they’ll need to find their best form if they’re to take anything from this game.
Peterhead do look on the shortish side but given form and momentum I have to be with the league leaders here.
Happy punting this weekend.