They might have won it last year, but odds on Rangers to win the Scottish Premier League suggest Celtic are the better bets for the title.
Last season, Rangers clinched the league crown by a single point from their Glasgow rivals, with a 3-2 defeat away to Inverness Caledonia Thistle in April ultimately proving the Hoops’ undoing.
However, this year’s betting market indicates that Rangers are second-favourites behind Celtic with title odds of evens.
A successful £25 free bet on them to finish first, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £50.
Rangers’ status as second-favourites has no doubt been influenced by the decision of Walter Smith to retire from the position of manager, with Ally McCoist taking over the reins.
While McCoist is a club legend and served as Smith’s assistant from July 2007 to the time of his promotion, he has no managerial experience.
Add to this the fact that Rangers are unlikely to spend big this summer – even allowing for the Craig Whyte takeover – and it is easy to make a case for Celtic catching up and overtaking their rivals.
Whyte’s £1 deal to buy Sir David Murray’s majority shareholding means £5 million will be invested into the playing squad, although this will not go far in today’s market.
As such, Rangers transfer rumours have centred around budget deals, with McCoist apparently interested in signing free agent Neil Danns and making a cut-price move for Marcelo Estigarribia.
Maccabi Haifa’s Tomer Hemed is also set to arrive on a free having just finished the Israeli season as the top division’s most prolific goalscorer.
But will these bargain signings be enough to keep Rangers ahead of the chasing pack? Those placing Celtic bets will be hoping the answer is negative.
New customers can register here to claim a £25 free bet.