Sep 18 2009 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
HIBS suffered an unexpected 2-0 defeat at Hamilton last Sunday, the day after St Johnstone ground out another determined draw – yet it's the Edinburgh men who are the bookies' overwhelming favourites to register maximum points when the sides take the field at Easter Road tomorrow.
Saints lost three and drew one of their four fixtures when they last faced Hibs in Scotland's top flight. But the pair have not met since 2002.
Interestingly, in seven of their nine meetings up to that point, only one side had managed to get on the scoresheet, while another encounter ended goalless.
Victor Chandler appear convinced that Hibs will bounce back from their reverse last weekend, pricing them as 4/6 odds-on favourites. By contrast, St Johnstone are Ladbrokes' colossal 7/2 underdogs to record their first victory of the campaign, while Coral post an attractive 11/4 against the draw.
With the league table still so tightly bunched, St Johnstone are just three points adrift of Hibs and given their propensity to draw, another stalemate cannot be ruled out. Accordingly, Sportingbet's 8/1 for it to finish goalless is worthy of consideration.
Punters who concur are expecting a tight, low-scoring affair, which adds to the appeal of the 6/5 posted by online firm Jaxx.com against the opening period ending in stalemate. In fact, the prospect of a goalless first period appears very real – such an outcome is priced at 3/1 by bet365.
Few punters anticipate a goalfest and Stan James' 5/6 for the match to produce fewer than three successful strikes has proved popular.
In the correct score markets, Betfred chalks a seductive-looking 9/1 against a 1-0 away win and Blue Square offer a colossal 22/1 for a 2-0 Saints success.
Odds supplied by Betrescue.com