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The Scottish Premiership is the top division for men's professional football clubs in Scotland. It was formed in 2013 when The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League merged to create The Scottish Professional Football League. The Premiership has been sponsored by Ladbrokes since 2015.
There are 12 clubs in the Premiership. The season runs from August to May and is divided into 2 phases. In the first phase each team plays each other 3 times, the results of these games determine the "top six" and "bottom six" for the second phase of the season. Post-split each team then play a further 5 games against the other teams in their section. Teams receive 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and none for a loss. Points gained during the first phase of the season are rolled forward to the second phase, but teams cannot move out of their section even if they then gain more points than a higher ranked team.
At the end of the season the team with the most points is crowned league champion. If there are teams that are equal on points then goal difference is used. If no winner can still be determined then the tied teams compete in a play-off game at a neutral venue.
The club finishing in 12th place is relegated to the Scottish Championship the following season while the winner of the Championship is promoted to the Premiership. The club finishing in 11th place will face the winners of the Championship play-offs at home and away. The winner of those games will play in the Premiership the following season.
Celtic, based in Glasgow, have won the Scottish Premiership in all 4 seasons since its creation. In previous incarnations the top division of Scottish Football has been won by Celtic or Rangers every year since 1985. Since Rangers demotion due to insolvency in 2012 Celtic have remained undefeated. Rangers returned to the Premiership for the 2016/17 season, and finished third, depsite being second favourites to win the league. Aberdeen placed second for the third season in a row.
Betting on the outright winner of the Premiership is popular and betting on an outsider to win could potentially be very profitable. As Rangers and Celtic have been the favourites to win for so long betting without the favourite is a popular way to bet. Bets can be placed on a winner without Celtic, or without either Celtic or Rangers, "The Old Firm" as they are known. These bets will receive a slightly lower price, but will pay out if your club wins, or if they come second and are beaten by the favourite. Bets can also be placed on the top goal scorer, as well as on which clubs will finish bottom of the Premiership and whether a team will be placed Top 6 or Bottom 6 that season.
The 2017/18 season begins on 5th August 2017. Pre-split fixtures are played until 7th April 2018. Post-split fixtures are scheduled for the following dates in 2018: