Sam Hendry highlights the weekend’s best football bets
Rangers and Celtic collide at Ibrox in the 411th edition of the Old Firm derby in what could be the most competitive meeting between the sides in several years.
Through a combination of an improved Rangers – particularly since the removal of Pedro Caixinha – and a Celtic team who haven’t quite hit the heights of last season, the Gers have closed the points gap from 39 at the end of last season to just six ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
With six wins and 23 goals scored in their last six games, Rangers are in their best run of top-flight form in nearly seven years and now seems the opportune moment for them to end Brendan Rodgers’ recent dominance in this fixture.
Celtic have won their last three meetings at Ibrox by a combined 9-2, but that run can’t last forever and their irresistible air has deserted them in the last few months.
The Hoops are still odds on to win this one, but at best priced 3/1 (SkyBet) available, I think it’s worth having a punt on Rangers claiming their first 90-minute Old Firm win since March 2012.
In the English Premier League, the marquee fixture of the weekend is at Old Trafford where Manchester United host Liverpool.
The last four meetings between the two have all ended in draws, and once again there looks little to separate the sides.
Liverpool carry the better form, but it’s been over two years since United lost at home to any team not named Manchester City.
The most difficult aspect of United’s afternoon will be figuring out a way to contain Liverpool’s astounding front three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Mane has rediscovered his form of last season with goals in his last two league games and a Champions league hat-trick against Porto, and at the longest anytime goalscorer odds of Liverpool’s front three, I’m backing the Senegalese to strike again at 11/4 with Paddy Power.
In the very definition of a mid-table battle, 10th placed Brighton take on 11th placed Everton at Goodison Park.
Brighton enter this in excellent form, unbeaten in their last five and flying after last week’s victory over Arsenal.
Trouble, meanwhile, is brewing again at Everton where, despite a promising start, Sam Allardyce is not ingratiating himself well with the locals thanks to just two wins from their last 11 in the league.
However, the main contributor to that has been their dreadful away form whereas at Goodison they have remained consistent.
Their only home defeats have come to teams in the top seven and, other than a draw with West Brom, they have beaten every other side around or below them.
At odds of 5/4 back Everton to claim another three points and clamber back into the top half of the table.