As we continue our quick and not altogether composed descent in to Christmas, New Year…
Although the Scottish Premiership doesn’t return until next week, we figured it may be worth getting back in to the swing of things with a special Scottish Cup edition of the Betbook. This weekend we’ll be specifically looking ahead to Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
Both sides have already locked horns twice this season, with Hibs claiming one win at Easter Road before a resurgent Hearts wrestled a point from Neil Lennon’s side at Tynecastle just before the winter break – even though Oli Shaw’s shot was clearly over the line.
Alas, Betbook is all about offering solid data that can help you make up your own mind on the coming games. As such, we’ve got all sorts of info that should shape and inform your decision when it comes to deciding who will win this match. So let’s take a look.
As ever, on top of our own readings of the form tables, goal-scoring habits and numerous patterns in the data, we also like to get the raw expected goals(xG) data to offer a potential scoreline and result for each match.
Intriguingly, the xG data has both Hearts and Hibs on an almost identical footing. Hearts’ home xG value comes in at 1.435 goals per game, while Hibs’ away xG stands slightly smaller at 1.433. So, essentially, we can expect both teams to score at least one goal on Sunday if the data is anything to go by.
Another draw to make it two out of three for the Edinburgh derby. Let’s hope this one is at least a little entertaining.
Much has been made of Hearts’ form since they returned to Tynecastle, with wins over Celtic, Motherwell and Dundee as well as draws to Hibs and Aberdeen. However, in the grand scheme of an entire league campaign it isn’t nearly as formidable as some fans may hope.
The graph above shows Hearts’ points per game (PPG) over the course of the season and at Tynecastle. As we can clearly see, Craig Levein’s team have been far better at picking up points in front of the new stand with the figure jumping up from 1.36 to 1.75.
Yet when we compare that to Hibs’ away form it shows that any purple – or maroon – patch of form Levein’s team may have experienced just before the winter break still wasn’t as impressive as the stellar run Lennon’s team have been on from one away ground to the next over the course of the league campaign.
Hearts’ home record at Tynecastle may be impressive, but Hibs’ away form is simply a little better.
Hearts have undoubtedly built their success off a solid foundation of defensive aptitude this season. Having conceded just 19 goals in the Premiership thus far, they hold a defensive record that is only bested by Celtic. And even then it’s by a mere four goals over the course of 22 games.
Yet when we look at the stats in comparison to Hibernian’s own defensive record it makes for interesting reading. As we can see in the graph above, which shows each teams goals conceded in the league, their expected goals against figure and the amount of goal-scoring chances they’ve conceded in league games.
What’s perhaps most notable is the fact that both teams have almost identical xG Against and Chances Conceded stats, yet Hearts have conceded eight fewer goals than Lennon’s recently-promoted team.
Which, in plain English, effectively means that teams are creating as many chances against Hearts as they are against Hibs, yet the Jam Tarts are doing a far better job of keeping the ball out of the net. Which, crucially, could mean all the difference on Sunday.