Morton have been flirting with the relegation places for most of the season and come into this match in 9th, only 4 points ahead of Alloa in the automatic spot. They took until December to get off the mark away from home, but have been solid at Cappielow considering their league position (5-1-3) and the only teams to take maximum points are Champions-elect Dundee Utd, 3rd placed Ayr and a resurgent Partick Thistle. Only 3 teams in the league have amassed more points at home this season, so I’m struggling to pinpoint why they’re outsiders for this match.
Their opponents have the 2nd worst away record in the league, are coming into this game off the back of 4 straight defeats and have lost 4 loan players back to their parent clubs. Josh Coley and Anthony McDonald have been used sparingly, but Harry Cochrane made some useful contributions and Greg Kiltie will be a loss; directly involved in 7 of the 27 goals scored during his time at the club (25%). Ethan Ross has joined from Aberdeen to soften the blow, but it’s hard to be confident on his impact given the lack of first team football to date. Despite the firepower of Kevin Nisbet, goals have also been an issue recently with only 1 in their 3 games over the festive period. Their away record to date reads 2-2-5 and they’re only 3 points clear of Morton with a stark difference in home form versus away.
There’s currently 3.20 available on the Morton win which is very generous since they’ve only gone off longer at home against the top 2. Conversely, 2.20 is the shortest Dunfermline have been away from home aside from a trip to bottom side Alloa. All things considered I can’t have Morton so long and will be siding with them on the +0.25 Asian line to ensure some profit if the game ends level.
Inverness are 2nd in the table and that looks well deserved as they’re top for shots taken (12.35 per match), 3rd for shots on target (4.95) and 2nd for shot ratio (58.8%). At home they’re the most dominant side for shots at 65.4% and that has helped them to an impressive 6-1-3 record with their only defeats coming against Dundee Utd, Partick on a new-manager bounce and an out of character showing last time out versus Arbroath. They only managed 8 shots in that – their joint-lowest of the season – so I’m hoping for a return to form against the lowest away scorers in the league.
Matches involving Queens this season have generally been tepid affairs, averaging just 2.16 goals combined and going over 2.5 in just 37%. Despite having the star quality of Stephen Dobbie – 58 goals in the last 3 seasons – they’re struggling to find the net. Their tally of 20 is the 2nd worst behind newcomers Arbroath and they’ve failed to score in 56% of matches, the highest in the division. Furthermore, they’ve failed to score in both matches v Inverness this season, 2/3 against Dundee Utd and 1/2 against Arbroath. That’s 5/7 against the 3 most stubborn defences excluding themselves. Inverness control the shot count I think they could struggle again here.
The clincher for me is on price. Inverness have only been longer than 1.80 in 4 home matches and 3 of those were the other teams in the top 4. Their average closing price excluding top 4 is ~1.65 and they were 1.72 in their previous encounter with Queens here, so I think the 1.80 could be gone by kick-off.