Just a few words before the previews below. May 16th is always traditionally a big footballing day in Norway, in a similar way to the Boxing Day fixtures are in the UK. Every team always plays and there are usually higher attendances than normal for this round of fixtures as fans turn out in their droves. There will be a holiday and party atmosphere in the stands. The day after on the 17th, Norway celebrates its National Constitution day so all of the teams and players will be desperate to win for their respective cities and fans.

Tromsø v Bodø/Glimt

This is a great fixture to have on such a fine footballing day in Norway. Here we have the ‘battle of the north’ between two big rivals Tromsø & Bodø/Glimt and both sides will be giving absolutely everything to win. Talking of wins, unfortunately, the home side haven’t had many to celebrate this season. Simo Valakari’s men did collect 3 points on the opening day at Ranheim but have since lost 5 of their last 6 games. TIL have had some injury concerns but something hasn’t quite been right with this team. There have been problems at the back and failure to keep any clean sheet has definitely cost them massively so far. There have of course been some rays of light, such as the first half performance against Odd at the weekend. The return to fitness of key striker Runar Espejord is also a major boost and he managed to find the back of the net on Sunday.

In complete contrast to Tromsø’s woes, Bodø/Glimt travel here having enjoyed a great start to the campaign. They have surprised a lot of people by picking up plenty of points, most notably against big sides such as Rosenborg & Molde. Glimt have only lost once so far this season which was a 0-2 defeat at Stabaek. They are unbeaten on artificial surfaces in 2019 and it’s on these sort of pitches that the team plays it’s best football. Bodø are a very nice technical side with loads of players who are very comfortable with the ball at their feet. Key performers for them this season have been wingers Armour Layouni and Hakon Evyen. But it would be unfair to single out individuals such as been the superb collective team spirit. I would expect the Bodø Glimt flame to gradually die down as the season progresses but for now they still have loads of momentum and continue to play well.

The head to head record when these two sides meet is really really weird in recent times. All of the last five meetings have been won by the away team, which in every situation was the underdog heading into the contest. Often the form book can be thrown out of the window in a local derby such as this, which can give some hope to Tromsø. The logical outcome here based on results this season would be a  Bodø Glimt win and they are priced accordingly as a -0.25 Asian Handicap favourite. I actually think this is poor value and according to my estimations, Tromsø deserve to be slight favourites on a DNB handicap. However, they are completely untrustworthy at the moment and couldn’t be backed with monopoly money. The pick I like is over 2.5 goals. Matches between these teams usually quite end to end and wild, containing a lot of chances. The way Tromsø are defending right now, in particular, makes me think they would probably prefer a shootout. Valakari knows the only way they are winning this match is by outscoring Glimt by fighting fire with fire. They aren;t going to be able to get the job done by keeping a clean sheet unless something dramatically changes. I could see a high scoring 2-2 draw being a possibility but nothing can be ruled out and if Tromsø won I wouldn’t be that shocked.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 1.800

Vålerenga v Strømsgodset 

Both teams head into this match in contrasting form. Vålerenga are unbeaten in five consecutive games and in the last round totally annihilated Ranheim 5-1 away from home. It was the sort of breakout performance that VIF kind of needed and their qualities in the final third of the field fully shone through. The team from Oslo have several playmakers who all have the X-Factor and a bit of flair that can unlock a defence at any given minute.  Playmaker Chidera Ejuke will take plenty of plaudits for his double on Sunday and he is definitely one of the top players in the league when on form. Winger Deyver Vega announced himself on the scene with a brace of his own, although he had to go off injured and could be a doubt for this game. VIF have plenty of other quality like Bard Finne & Herolind Shala. Their offence is one of the more eye-catching around.

Travelling to Oslo for this final game of the day are a Strømsgodset side in poor form. They haven’t won since the opening day of the season and on Monday night put on quite a pitiful display at home to Viking (0-0). It’s clear that this persistently underachieving side lack confidence and guidance right now. Manager Bjorn Petter Ingebrigtsen doesn’t convince me as a man capable of getting them out of this slump and I am sure at some stage this season he will be sacked, the only question is when. Should SIF keep failing to win games then his time may well be up very soon. Godset have been operating a very negative 5-4-1 system away from home this season and I expect that to continue here. They will aim to make themselves difficult to break down and try to break when possible.

It won’t necessarily be easy for Vålerenga to score against a defensive minded side but over the course of the 90 mins they should have too much quality and show their class. VIF boast a 100% home record in 2019 winning all 3/3 games at the Intility Arena. They had a good warm-up for this clash in their most previous home game beating a resolute Odd side 1-0. It showed that Ronny Deila’s men have the patience to wait for their big chance and take it. I just don’t see Godset offering enough of a threat in this game and VIF should dominate for the majority of the encounter. Unless the visitors suddenly change their form in a big way then I’m expecting a victory for Vålerenga. Backing them on a -0.75 Asian Handicap is quite an attractive proposition. If I had to suggest a correct scoreline for this game then it would be 2-0.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Vålerenga -0.75 at 1.950

Odd v Ranheim

It’s been a great start to the season for Odd who have won 5 of their 7 matches and find themselves second in the table. I don’t think anyone expected them to be this high at the moment but things have been generally going their way and this team suddenly looks like a well balanced unit. The biggest concern heading into the year was their potential lack of goals. Of course everyone knew about winger Elba Rashani but all too often he was a one man fighting band last season. The addition of Sander Svendsen on the opposite wing has been a big factor in their success. His numbers aren’t great yet this season, having yet to score a goal and only supply one assist. But I am convinced he is just waiting to explode in a massive way soon and it’s apparent on the field that the ex Molde man is creating plenty of dangerous moments for his team.

Ranheim surprised everyone by beating Viking 5-2 and then taking a 1-0 away victory at Brann. But in some games this season they have looked out of their depth, not least on Sunday when they lost 1-5 at home to Vålerenga. Ranheim know the odds are heavily stacked against them, they are after all just a part-time club from Trondheim who are still ‘living the dream’ to a certain extent. The key to their success away at Brann was effectively parking the bus, restricting the opposition and basically taking the one chance that came their way. I would expect them to operate in a similarly defensive fashion here, especially after just conceding five goals ast home.

Odd prefer sitting back and hitting the opposition on the counter-attack. They probably won’t have as much chance to do that here but I am expecting their quality to show over the course of the 90 mins. In their ranks they have the current top Eliteserien goalscorer in Torgeir Børven, a player who has suddenly become a really good hitman in front of goal. The striker is red hot right now and you’d back him to grab at least one goal against Ranheim here. It might take Odd some time to break down a resolute defence that parks the bus but they are a patient side and as soon as one goal is scored, there’s every chance the floodgates could open. Ranheim aren’t the sort of team who will offer nothing if behind. They would have a proper go at getting back into the match, potentially leaving space and gaps for Odd to exploit. I don’t think backing the hosts on a -1.25 Asian Handicap is an amazing value bet, but I think there’s a very good chance it will be a winning one. Odd should take this game comfortably in my opinion. Something like 2-0 or 3-0 is very much on the cards so this handicap certainly has its appeal.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Odd -1.25 at 1.950

Preview by: @meatmansoccer.

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