By Stefan Bienkowski

We’re on the cusp of February and already we find ourselves in the midst of more Scottish Premiership drama and frenzy. The race for second place has blown up, Hearts and Hibs are arguing over the “natural order” of things and the relegation battle couldn’t look tastier. 

 

As ever, the Scottish Premiership Betbook is here to apply a little bit of sense to the mayhem, using data to decipher which teams are likely to come out on top in the coming matchday. After all, what point is there in football games if you don’t know how to bet on them?


 


Match 1: Aberdeen v Kilmarnock

xG prediction: 2-1

 

All eyes will be on the Dons and their manager, Derek McInnes, on Saturday when they play host to Kilmarnock following yet another defeat to Rangers.

 

However, if the Pittodrie have made a habit of losing to either Celtic and Rangers they’ve also made a habit of getting straight back on the horse the very next game. In the past two seasons Aberdeen have won nine and drawn two of the 11 games they’ve played directly after a clash with either side of the Old Firm – and that includes two games against Celtic.

 

 

However, Steve Clarke and his Killie side will have strong intentions of imposing their own style and form on Saturday’s match. The Rugby Park side currently boast the second best away record in the Premiership over the past five games and have only lost one match on the road this season. This has a draw written all over it.

 

Writer’s prediction: Draw


Match 2: Celtic v Hibernian

xG prediction: 3-1

 

Despite an initial stumble against Partick Thistle in midweek and Brendan Rodgers’ non-stop anger in press conferences at the moment, Celtic’s home form has largely remained on track and very much undefeated.

 

 

Intriguingly, the Hibs side that travel to Celtic Park on Saturday may have their swagger back but when it comes to form in the big games Neil Lennon’s side aren’t nearly as impressive as they might think they are.

 

In 12 leagues matches against last season’s top six, Hibs have only won four games. Of those four, two have came against Partick Thistle and one was a very fortunate win at Ibrox at the start of the season. I can’t see them adding to that tally this weekend.

 

Writer’s prediction: Home win


Match 3: Hamilton v Dundee

xG prediction: 1-1

 

Hamilton seem to be in a spot of trouble. Not only have they just sold their best player, Greg Docherty, to Rangers, but they’ve also kicked off the new year with back-to-back defeats. And they didn’t exactly end the last one in stellar form either.

 

 

Any hope of turning things around this weekend against Dundee should prove tricky, with Neil McCann’s side looking hard to beat of late. Indeed, over their last five away games Dundee have picked up 1.4 points per game – twice their tally for the entire season. Add to that the fact that Hamilton currently have the worst home record in the whole division and this looks like another potential win for the Dark Blues.

 

Writer’s prediction: Away win


Match 4: Hearts v Motherwell

xG prediction: 1-1

 

Although Motherwell seem to have made the most of the winter break with two wins already to their name this year, a trip to Tynecastle will surely pose a completely different test to Stephen Robinson and his side.

 

 

The hosts have a home record over the past five games that is only bested by Celtic and Rangers and welcome a Motherwell team that have lost five of their last five away games. Although much has changed since December, it’s hard to imagine Craig Levein’s side blowing a home game just yet.

 

Writer’s prediction: Home Win


Match 5: St Johnstone v Partick Thistle

xG prediction: 1-1

 

Where most other games in this matchday offer a particular side that look hot and opponents that, well, don’t, this encounter between St Johnstone and Partick Thistle really could go either way.

 

 

So far this season Tommy Wright’s team have clung on to their away form for inspiration amidst some rather dreadful home performances, while Partick Thistle have looked resolute at home and particularly useless on the road. What happens when a moveable object collides with a perfectly stoppable force? We’ll find out in this clash.

 

Writer’s prediction: Draw


Match 6: Ross County v Rangers

xG prediction: 1-2

 

Ross County will be up against it at Dingwall this weekend. Not only have Owen Coyle’s side failed to win any of their last 11 games in all competitions, but they’re coming up against a formidable Rangers side that look at the very top of their game at the moment.

 

 

Graeme Murty has truly got Rangers purring and off the back of a confident win over Aberdeen and the second best away record in the Premiership this season, this game really should only go one way.

Writer’s prediction: Away win


 

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