Saturday, August 18, 2012

SPL: Five star

Week three of the SPL.

Week three already. Or week two for any club that feels  unconstrained by the league starting when booking their jollydays.

The marketing geniuses whose brains power the Hampden floodlights will be congratulating themselves for starting the SPL season a fortnight before the English could be bothered kicking off.

Obviously that did mean the SPL had to nudge the Olympics off the media podium but, by the gods of G4S, London 2012 passed with little more than a whimper.

Mission accomplished. Limelight secured.

Yet somehow even a well thumbed SPL Filofax couldn't stop the Edinburgh derby - a footballing peccadillo for the neutral at the best of times - being scheduled against the Community Shield and an Olympics where people would apparently watch televised mahjong as long as there was a plucky British contender and a BBC commentary.

Perhaps not the best way to attract a TV audience to our new look league.

Not that outside influences had anything to do with the crowd in the stadium.

The reasons for that were more painfully local. Fair play to those fans who did get themselves to Easter Road and to grounds across the country. I hope that the experience was good enough to turn straggling irregulars into stoic regulars.

Three weeks in? A start that hasn't overwhelmed. Neither has it really underwhelmed. It's just been there, jostling with other sideshows for attention, eliciting a shoulder shrugging "that's the fitba' back then."

But we've got through the phoney war of two games (or one game).

Time to look ahead now.

Here's how Ladbrokes sees tomorrow games:

Ross County v Celtic


The early kick off. Ross County to win 6/1, Celtic to win 4/9, the draw 10/3.

St Johnstone v Aberdeen


St Johnstone to win 5/4, Aberdeen to win 11/5, the draw 9/4.

Kilmarnock v Motherwell


Kilmarnock to win 8/5, Motherwell to win 17/10, the draw 9/4.

Hearts v Inverness


Hearts to win 10/11, Inverness to win 10/3, the draw 11/5.

St Mirren v Hibs


St Mirren to win 5/4, Hibs to win 11/5, the draw 9/4.

Do the odds shine a light?

If the bookies are never wrong then a successful coupon on the favourite in each game would deliver a return of 36/1.

Narrow margins though.

So here's my coupon for today - with all the usual warnings about my prediction pratfalls, as a soothsayer I make a dancing Russell Grant look like Fred Astaire - based on blind faith, hunches and a feeling in my water (which the doctor tells me isn't anything serious):

Celtic to win at Ross County (too early, I feel, for a Celtic slip up.)

Aberdeen to win at St Johnstone (St Johnstone are not winning games, Aberdeen are gearing up to score a barrel load. Probably. Or maybe not.)

Motherwell to win at Kilmarnock (close one this, the two sides exactly level in the table after two games, but lets give the nod to 'Well.)

Hearts and Inverness to draw (Hearts will look to roar back from the derby draw, Terry Butcher might just have seen how to frustrate them.)

Ladbrokes Game On!Hibs to win at St Mirren (the wheels must fall off St Mirren's title challenge at some point.)

Four away wins and a draw.

A pound on that little lot could well win you the best part of a £130.

Or it could lose you a pound.

That's the fun of it.

Odds correct at the time of going to bed.