Title betting favourites Celtic play their final friendly match before the start of the SPL season this evening.
The Hoops are taking on Cardiff at Cardiff City Stadium just four days before they kick off their league campaign away to Hibs.
In contrast to fierce SPL rivals Rangers, Celtic have had an encouraging pre-season to date and will be looking to build on this in the Welsh capital.
A three-match tour of Australia earlier this month saw Neil Lennon’s side lose to Central Coast Mariners 1-0 before beating Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.
Significantly, Lennon says it was not just the results that made the tour such a success, noting that the players are in much better shape now than before they flew Down Under.
“We achieved what we set out to do,” he said. “The players got some game-time under their belt and got some work in physically, and they look in good condition.”
With odds of 6/5 in bwin’s football betting market, Celtic look well-placed to make it three pre-season wins out of four against Cardiff.
The Bluebirds are just one match into their pre-season programme, with their league campaign not kicking off until 7th August against West Ham.
As such, their players are likely to be short on match fitness, giving Celtic a significant advantage.
Having said that, bwin’s 3Way betting market is reasonable close, with a Cardiff win priced at 37/20 and a draw at 23/10.
Nevertheless, with Cardiff also in a transitional phase following the arrival of Malky Mackay as manager and the departures of star players Jay Bothroyd and Craig Bellamy, a Celtic win looks the most likely outcome.
A £25 free bet on Celtic to win, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £55.
And given the Scottish side’s record of conceding just one goal in their last three matches and the fact they had the best defensive record in the SPL last season, it could be that Cardiff fail to even break the deadlock.
With this in mind, another good bet could be on at least one team failing to score in the match at odds of 13/10.
New customers can register here to claim a £25 free bet.