Hearts get their Scottish League Cup campaign started with a trip to the most northerly football league ground in the UK to take on Elgin City at Borough Briggs.
Elgin City Form
League Two side Elgin had an awful start to this competition at the weekend, losing their Group B opener 6-0 at Dunfermline Athletic.
They conceded to go 1-0 down after just ten minutes and the deficit was four goals at the break. A better performance in the second half kept their opponents at bay for the most part, although two more goals were added to the score before the final whistle.
Last season, in this competition, Elgin finished bottom of their group with just three points and a goal difference of -6. Victory over Brechin City prevented them finishing on zero points.
After a twelve-match win-less run in the league to end last season, defeat in their opening game takes it to thirteen competitive games without a victory. In fact, their last win in a competitive game came on February 25 away at Berwick Rangers.
Hearts had a disappointing campaign last season, finishing fifth in the Scottish Premier League. This followed a third-placed finish the season before and highlighted a drop in form.
They only played one game in this competition, going out in the first knockout stage. After bypassing the group stages, due to their participation in Europa League qualifying, they were drawn against St Johnstone in the last-16.
Despite being 2-1 up with just over fifteen minutes remaining, they lost 3-2 and their cup campaign was cut short. The 2013 finalists will be keen to better that run this season, starting out with a convincing win over lesser opponents.
Last season ended with four consecutive league defeats, and their pre-season campaign hasn’t been great. Two wins and two defeats from four friendlies isn’t the best form to bring into a new season. Victories over Livingston and Linfield came either side of a defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic, and the warm-ups ended with a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United last Friday.
Head to Head
The only previous meeting between these sides came in this competition back in August 2010. Hearts were totally dominant on that occasion and ran out 4-0 winners in a one-sided affair.
Betting Odds and Predictions
Hearts are the obvious favourites for this match, priced at 1/6 with Ladbrokes. Elgin are 9/1, whilst the draw is priced at 11/2.
In our opinion, the home side have zero chance of getting anything out of this match and should be priced a lot higher than 9/1.
Instead of backing Hearts to be victorious at the short odds in the match result market, it would be better to back them in the half time/full time market. Its 8/13 for them to be leading at the break and win the match.
In the correct score market, a repeat of the last time these sides met (4-0 to Hearts) is priced at 9/1. A second consecutive 6-0 defeat for Elgin looks tempting at 33/1.
With Hearts needing a convincing win to build confidence heading into the new season, and Elgin pretty much ripe for the picking, there should definitely be more than 2.5 goals in this game. Over 2.5 is priced at 21/40 with Ladbrokes.
Hearts to be leading at the break in the half time result market is priced at 4/7, with a 2-0 lead after the first 45 minutes at 4/1. Dunfermline led 4-0 at half time against Elgin at the weekend, and Hearts to go in at the break 4-0 up is 33/1.
Hearts have scored six goals in pre-season, with four of those coming in the first half. Also, Elgin conceded six in their opening group game with four in the first half. Therefore, it makes sense to back Hearts to score more goals in the first half than in the second. Hearts’ highest scoring half to be the first is priced at 2/1. If you think they will score the same amount in both halves, you can get odds of 12/5.
Top Betting Tip
Our top betting tip for this match is Hearts to be leading at half time and win the match. So, back Hearts in the HT/FT market at odds of 8/13 with Ladbrokes.
A better value bet, and one we feel is just as likely to happen, is the first half to be Hearts’ highest scoring half at odds of 2/1.