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Rupert Wyman 19th Feb 2011 - 18:19

Celtic v Rangers betting preview

Celtic v Rangers betting preview, Sunday 12:30, live on Sky Sports 4

It's the third Old Firm clash of 2011 this Sunday and a crucial match in the fight for the Scottish Premier League title.

Celtic have a five-point lead at the top of the table but with Rangers having two games in hand it will be crucial for both sides to avoid a defeat that would greatly dent their title hopes.

The last meeting between these sides, just two weeks ago, was a fiery Scottish Cup affair with eight bookings and two sendings off. The game ended 2-2 meaning the two will have to meet again at Parkhead on 2nd March to decide who progresses to the next round.

Following that game there is a simmering rivalry between Scott Brown and El-Hadji Diouf and that should add even more spice to a fixture that barely needs it. The two clashed on numerous occasions with the Hoops midfielder receiving a booking for celebrating his goal in Diouf's face. That should be one to watch, Brown is 16/1 to score first whilst Diouf is 11/1.

Celtic are the form side in the SPL and have not lost since November 10th when they were beaten by Hearts and that unbeaten run includes a win over Rangers (2-0 at Ibrox) in early January meaning the home team will be going into this game full of confidence.

Neil Lennon's reign got off to something of a shaky start but he's now held in high regard amongst the Parkhead faithful for the way the team is developing and a win on Sunday would further enhance the reputation of his fledgling managerial career.

William Hill, the official betting partner of the SPL, make Celtic the clear favourites to get the three points at odds of 11/10. That would give them an eight point lead at the top of the table and if they could do that they would be in the driving seat to take the title.

There is currently little to choose between the teams in terms of the title odds with Hills pricing Celtic at 4/6 and Rangers 11/10. Hearts are the only other team who are seen to have any sort of a chance, they're a long shot though at 25/1.

Rangers (2/1 to win) will be hoping their midweek trip European game will not adversely affect their chances.  A draw at Parkhead (11/5) would probably suit Rangers more than Celtic, they would hope to win their games in hand and that would mean they could take the top spot.

Walter Smith's side bounced back well following their disappointing performance in the Scottish Cup tie with a thumping 6-0 win over Motherwell last weekend.

Nikica Jelavic was the hero on the day scoring a hat-trick. He is 5/1 to open the scoring at Parkhead and a massive 33/1 to hit a back-to-back SPL hat-trick.  The Croatian striker, signed from Rapid Vienna last year, is already a hero to the Ibrox faithful and will be looking to secure his status as a fans favourite with goals against the old enemy.

Whilst Rangers were hammering Motherwell, Celtic were putting in an equally impressive performance away at Dundee United. United were on top form and on an eleven match unbeaten run but were brushed aside 3-1 with Anthony Stokes opening the scoring.

The Irish-striker has been amongst the goals this season and if you fancy him to opening the scoring against Rangers, William Hill offer 11/2.  He is 5/4 to score at anytime which looks a good bet.

Celtic have won eight of their last nine league games, conceding only one goal in the process. That could make the 29/20 odds that they keep a clean sheet worthy of an investment.

If you fancy another high scoring affair it's 11/4 that there are four goals or more and 13/2 for five or more.

There are a range of 100+ markets offered by William Hill on this match so why not check out some of the lesser known betting opportunities that are available to enhance your enjoyment of the action.

If you're a Rangers or Celtic fan and really fancy your team to dominate the match why not back them to win both the first half and second half. You can get 11/2 on Celtic to do that, 10/1 for Rangers.

You can bet on what minute you fancy the first goal to go in, it's 11/5 for a goal before the 16th Minute, if you fancy a tight affair with a late goal you can bet the first goal to be in the final fifteen minutes at 10/1.

If you're looking for some big odds bets the double result reverses are always popular for value hunters. You can back Celtic to be winning at half-time but Rangers to win at 28/1, it's 25/1 for Rangers to have the half-time lead but lose the match.

As always this fixture is sure to be an exciting affair and it's never easy to call the winner in any Old Firm game. However I think home advantage will make the difference and therefore would go for the 11/10 for them to win. In the correct score market a 2-1 home victory at 8/1 looks an appealing bet.

William Hill, is the home of betting and with 100+ markets and unbeatable value, why would you need to bet anywhere else?

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