Sarpsborg v Mjøndalen

Sarpsborg remain unbeaten this season, although have drawn 3 out of 4 matches which has somewhat slowed their progress. It has to be of slight concern that they’ve failed to score more than one goal in any game thus far, but everything else about their performances have been impressive. Sarpsborg perhaps lack individual star players, but that might be a positive thing. They combine very well as a unit with a great morale amongst the players. Coach Geir Bakke is an excellent tactician, knowing when to keep things simple perhaps being his greatest strength. The club also have an excellent recruitment department and a massive squad from which to pick players.

The one problem that Sarpsborg have is scoring goals. The duo of Steffen Lie Skålevik & Jorgen Strand Larsen have offered some promise, but yet to properly bear the fruits that were promised. There must be a temptation for Bakke to bring in Lars Salvesen, who came off the bench on Monday to rescue them a draw at Bodo Glimt (1-1). This is a nice matchup for Sarpsborg because Mjøndalen have been terrible defensively in 2019. They have conceded a massive amount of goals and in truth have perhaps been lucky not to let in some more. They somehow only conceded one vs Tromsø on Monday, but were fortunate that their opponents missed a couple of huge occasions to win, not least an open goal close to the end of the match. There have been positives for MIF such as their strong physical play and an ability to score goals themselves but the porous nature of the backline is very worrying.

The pick I like here is to take Sarpsborg on a -1 Asian Handicap. I expect them to totally dominate the match from start to finish. They have done that in both home games so far vs Molde & Lillestrøm . Now they are facing weaker opposition so shouldn’t have too many problems as long as they actually convert their chances. This is a team that wastes too many good opportunities, but sooner or later they will turn their full dominance into more goals. Mjøndalen might offer a sporadic threat but they are nowhere near the same class as Sarpsborg. The proper Asian Handicap line here should be -1.25 really, so to grab a -1 offers some value. I would also take over 2.75 but I still can’t fully trust the Sarpsborg strikers to rack up the score. I am expecting a comfortable enough win, but something like 2-0 or even 1-0 if they miss loads of chances again can’t be ruled out.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sarpsborg -1.00 at 1.800

Molde v Rosenborg

The big match of the round, and indeed one of the biggest of the whole season in the Eliteserien comes at the Aker Stadion on Sunday. Pre season, the gold medal race was predicted to be between these to hated rivals, but so far only Molde have lived up to the hype. They currently have 10 points on the board and despite having played an extra game more than most other teams, are very well situated. MFK just look to have quality all over the pitch and have all bases covered. The attacking trio of Ohi Omoijuanfo, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Eirik Ulland Andersen seem in especially good form. The defence has mostly looked quite solid as well.

Rosenborg on the other hand are just in a real funk. New manager Eirik Horneland is under all sorts of pressure. He has tried to implement his own coaching philosophies at the club but they simply haven’t worked. He has recently admitted defeat and switched back to the Rosenborg familiar 4-3-3 formation. RBK did put in an improved performance against Strømsgodset  on Monday but could still only draw 0-0 at hone. For a club the size of Rosenborg to have just 2 points after the first 4 games is absolutely shocking and the players were booed off the field on Monday. There is definitely a realistic chance they could lose here and be out of any title race before it begins.

The positives for Rosenborg here are that they will for once be an underdog. This is something they could perhaps enjoy and new coach Horneland can implement a defensive strategy making them hard to break down,. RBK have at least looked fairly stable at the back this season and could be difficult to penetrate here. Horneland also has a wildcard up his sleeve in the form of star winger Samuel Adegbenro who is finally back from injury. He might not start but could cause all sorts of problems off the bench if he’s in the mood. In terms of betting, according to my estimations Molde deserve to be a favourite between the -0.5 & -0.75 Asian Handicap mark. That is pretty much what their odds currently are, perhaps with them slightly on the short side. I think Molde will probably win and if I had to predict a scoreline I’d say 1-0 or 2-0. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend betting on this huge game though. Perhaps the best bet is under 2.5 but you would be guessing how the game flows. This one is best watched and enjoyed from a neutral point of view.

Lillestrøm v Haugesund

This looks to be a difficult betting card in the Eliteserien on Sunday. Not a lot stands out in terms of value and a lot of matches are hard to predict. Perhaps a fixture with more potential comes here in the suburbs of Oslo where two strong physical teams clash. Anyone who has recently seen a match at Åråsen Stadium will know the pitch is not in particularly good condition. I have seen more grass on an Indian cricket wicket than on this surface! In fairness, the football played here has probably been better than expected. But there is no doubt that it will be long ball tactics on show as the players aim to take the surface out of the equation as much as possible.

In terms of results, Lillestrøm have had a mixed bag so far. They haven’t been too bad and certainly been competitive but have yet to do anything to set the world alight. They have been missing key playmaker Arnor Smarason who once again is rated an injury doubt. This will be a tough test against a Haugesund side who have a lot of big men and a backline that is very fierce and physical. None of FKH’s matches have been particularly open, although surprisingly a few goals have flowed at times.

I don’t personally see many goals being scored here though on Sunday. The style of both teams should lead to quite a closed game which will naturally be very start/stop due to various fouls. Each side, especially Haugesund will be taking loads of time out of the game with their long throw tactics. Lillestrøm are priced as -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites here and that is probably about fair. The bet I like is taking under 2.25 goals. I don’t usually take many unders to be honest and it’s not my natural sort of pick. But this one stands out like a sore thumb as being a 0-0 candidate that won’t contain many chances from open play.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.25 goals at 2.010

Preview by: @meatmansoccer.

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