The Scottish Professional Football League season kicks off with the first match in the first-round group stage of the League Cup, now known as the Betfred Cup for sponsorship reasons, with Ayr United welcoming Kilmarnock to Somerset Park.
Ayr United vs Kilmarnock
Scottish Betfred Cup – Friday 14th July 2017 – 7:45 pm
Best Odd of: 3/1 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 11/4 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 4/6 at Ladbrokes
Ayr United Form
Ayr had a poor 2016/17 season, finishing bottom of the Scottish Championship and ending the campaign on a run of seven games without a win. They are preparing for life in League One, but have the chance for a confidence boost with a victory over a top-flight side.
They did well to make it through to the knockout stages of this competition last season, finishing second behind Hamilton and advancing as one of the best runners-up. In the knockout stage, they put up a valiant fight but lost 2-1 at home to eventual finalists Aberdeen.
It was a better story in the Scottish FA Cup, where they got through to the Quarter Finals before losing to Hibernian.
Kilmarnock finished last season in eighth place in the Scottish Premier League, but they didn’t make an impact in cup competitions.
They were knocked out of this tournament at the group stage, despite finishing second in their group behind Morton. Unfortunately, there were several second-placed sides in the group stage who had more points.
In the Scottish FA Cup, they failed to win a game as they lost in their opening match to Hamilton.
They have won this competition in the past, beating Celtic in the final to lift the trophy in 2011/12.
Head to Head
These sides have never played in the same division at the same time, so have been restricted to four meetings in cup competitions since 2009.
Ayr have never beaten Kilmarnock, losing three and drawing one of the previous meetings.
The first match between the two came in January 2009, where a Scottish FA Cup tie ended 2-2. Kilmarnock won the replay 3-1.
They then met in the Semi Finals of the 2011/12 League Cup, where Kilmarnock won 1-0 After Extra Time before beating Celtic in the Final to win the competition.
Most recently, Kilmarnock won 1-0 in another League Cup tie in August 2014.
Betting Odds & Predictions
Despite being away from home, Kilmarnock are rightly the favourites to pick up the victory in this match. Bet 365 have the visitors priced at 4/6, with Ayr at 3/1, and the draw is 11/4.
With Ayr having never beaten their opponents, and the fact they’re two divisions apart in the Scottish League, it’s impossible to back them to win here. However, they do have a chance of nicking a draw. It’s still a long way before the actual league season starts, so fitness and motivation may be against the higher-ranked side.
With that in mind, we think a Double Chance bet on Kilmarnock or the Draw could be the way to go here, with Bet 365 offering odds of 2/9. Obviously, it doesn’t provide much value but it gives you more chance of winning than just backing the visitors to win.
Another way to do it, which provides a little more value, is the Draw No Bet option. Kilmarnock are priced at 1/3 in this market, with your stake money back if the game finishes level.
If you truly believe Kilmarnock will run away with this, we recommend backing them to be leading at half time and win the match. This is priced at 13/8.
Kilmarnock won the most recent meeting 1-0 and it’s priced at 15/2 for the same result here. However, we are tempted to have a little wager on a 0-0 draw. It has happened before between these sides and is priced at an extremely good-looking 14/1.
If you like to bet on the over/under market, it’s 13/20 for over 2.5 goals, and 6/5 for under. With previous meetings being 50/50 when it comes to this market, it may pay to leave this particular bet alone.
Top Betting Tip
Despite the temptation to back a 0-0 draw, our top tip is a simple one. We think Kilmarnock will win this game, at odds of 4/6 with Bet 365.