Two Tribes Are Edin' For War
One of the oldest and most fierce rivalries in world football kicks off once again this Sunday as the two Edinburgh clubs do battle at Easter Road.
Hibernian (13/8) have had a pretty torrid start to their season, they have won just one home and one away match all season and are languishing in joint-bottom place with eight points from ten matches. This is actually Hibs' worst start to a season in the SPL in their history.
Hearts (13/8) have started slightly brighter but still suffer from inconsistency. Their performances on the road have been encouraging with three wins and one loss from their four matches but they have suffered at Tynecastle with just one win in six matches.
With derbies as intense as this one, form often goes out of the window and even home advantage becomes irrelevant as the whole stadium becomes a cauldron of noise indiscernible as to which team it is focused.
Testament to this is the fact that Hibs have picked up only one win in their last seven league clashes with the Jambos at Easter Road. With Hearts being solid on the road this season, it could be a case of both teams cancelling each other out so the draw is one to be considered at 23/10.
Easter Road is poised to host its biggest crowd in almost 17 years, which with the recent additions to the ground now means over 20,000 fans will be shouting their team home.
The home side has a new manager in tow taking part in his first Edinburgh derby, ex-Scotland international Colin Calderwood has taken the reigns and he is no stranger to local rivalries from his time at Tottenham.
The last two Edinburgh derbies have ended with three points going to Hearts, both ending 2-1 which is priced at an impressive 17/2 in this match. When you consider Hearts' away form this season it could be the bet of the day.
That result was something of an anomaly however as before those two results, none of the previous 11 encounters had produced more than two goals. If you think this match will be more of a goal-fest than previous matches then you can get 10/11 on over 2 match goals or 5/2 on over 3 goals.
If you think it will go more to form and be a tighter, low scoring affair then you can back under 2 goals or exactly two goals both at the same price of 12/5.
The spotlight is firmly on referees in Scotland at the moment after Willie Collum awarded Rangers a highly controversial penalty in the Old Firm derby a fortnight ago. When the news broke he would be referring this high-profile derby - it only served to increase the pressure on his shoulders.
If you think Willie Collum will fall to the pressure of the crowd in this match you can get 5/2 on a penalty being awarded to either side. 16/5 is available that a penalty will be awarded and scored, 11/1 on one being awarded and missed.
Derbies are usually hotly-contested affairs and with all eyes on the referee, the 2/1 on a red card being issued in the match could be a good bet. As one side tries to stamp their authority on the game, one player could try to send a message early on and get booked in the first fifteen minutes - which looks a big price at 3/1 for me.
For a first goalscorer bet, the obvious choice for the home side is Derek Riordan who, although not setting the world alight so far this season, is Hibs' top scorer with three and is 11/2 to score first.
For Hearts, Rudi Skacel has been in fine form this season, hitting four goals from midfield and s 9/1 to score first or 10/3 anytime. Striker Calum Elliot seems to finally have found some scoring form after failing to score in the whole of last season for Hearts and he has four goals already, he is 6/1 to score first.
The Edinburgh derby is always a match for the neutrals and the managers will make sure every player knows just how important the result is to their fans. The form book is out the window and it could come down to which team wants it more on the day. Let's just hope after the match, football is the topic of discussion and not a refereeing decision.