Take Thistle to break Hearts

  • By: Gareth Friel
  • Last Updated: December 12 2013, 19:40 GMT

Tipster Gareth Friel is using strong statistical evidence to get with Inverness and Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership this weekend.

Ryan Stevenson: Big loss for Hearts
Ryan Stevenson: Big loss for Hearts

It's not often you see two away sides in the Scottish Premiership available at odds-on and neither of them is Celtic.

That is the case this weekend though with Dundee United and Inverness both big favourites to win at Kilmarnock and Hearts respectively.

United have been on a fantastic run recently, scoring four goals in four of their last five league matches while youngsters like Ryan Gauld and Stuart Armstrong continue to pick up plaudits. Former fans' favourites David Goodwillie and Morgaro Gomis have hardly had a look in during this run with just one start between them.

They are rightly favourites to beat struggling Killie but we have to bear in mind that three of the four games in which United have bagged four goals have come at Tannadice.

Jackie McNamara's side were seconds from winning at Celtic Park a few weeks ago and thumped Motherwell at Fir Park in November so they are more than capable of performing on the road too.

Although I wouldn't be backing against United, there is sure to be a bit of interest in the 18/5 for a home win given Kris Boyd's form and the fact they've won two of their last three at home and defeated Ross County in Dingwall last week.

I much prefer the look of Inverness at Tynecastle against Hearts.

Former Hibs boss John Hughes will take full control of Caley Thistle for the first time after taking in the goalless draw at St Mirren last week.

That result ended a run of five successive wins but it was a fourth clean sheet in a row for the Highlanders.

Meanwhile, things just get worse for Hearts. Following heavy defeats to Celtic (in the Scottish Cup) and Dundee United, they are 14 points from safety - just one point better off than when they started the campaign with their points deduction.

Ryan Stevenson has also been ruled out for up to six weeks, leaving boss Gary Locke woefully short of experience.

With the visitors no bigger than 11/10 to win the match, backing them to be winning at half time and full time may be the way to go.

Hearts have lost 10 times this season and in seven of them have been trailing at half time too. Given how tight Inverness have been at the back in recent weeks and having covered the HT/FT bet in 10 of their 12 victories this season, 5/2 about them doing so again looks pretty decent.

Caley's Highland rivals Ross County aren't having the best of campaigns and were it not for Hearts' 15-point deduction would be bottom of the table.

County had a poor first half to last season too before improving greatly. It remains to be seen whether that will happen again this term but the stats say they're in for more misery on Saturday.

Motherwell make the trip north to take on Derek Adams' side on the back of a 5-0 home thumping at the hands of Celtic. However morale-sapping that loss must have been, it does fit into the pattern of 'Well's season so far.

With the exception of a 2-2 draw with Dundee United, they have won all eight matches against sides from the bottom six and lost all six against the sides in the top six, every one of them by two or more goals.

Six of their eight wins against the bottom-half sides have been by one goal. It's 13/4 they do just that again as opposed to 6/4 on the win alone.

  • Posted at 1525 GMT on 12/12/2013.

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