Bodø/Glimt v Sarpsborg

Along with Viking, there is no doubt that Bodø/Glimt are the big shock of the season so far. Many pundits expected them to struggle mightily and be relegation fodder, but based on the first three games they are anything but that. Wins against Rosenborg and Molde have been no fluke, whilst sandwiched in between was the wild 5-4 victory at Mjøndalen. Bodø/Glimt had been playing very well in pre season and have continued that momentum into start of the Eliteserien. The team is playing with a lot of confidence and seem to have this ‘no fear’ attitude/approach which is serving them extremely well. It has been noticeable how good they look physically. It’s almost as if they have stolen a march on most of the other teams in terms of conditioning and it still might be early enough in the campaign for them to maintain that advantage.

The tough fixtures keep piling up for Bodø/Glimt though. At least they are at home again but now they face up to another potential title challenger in Sarpsborg. The visitors remain unbeaten and have played pretty well so far. The best part of their game has probably been the amount of chances they’ve restricted the opposition to. Yes, Sarpsborg have conceded two goals but for the most part opposing teams have barely been given a sniff and both goals they conceded originated from set pieces. Perhaps a bigger concern has been a lack of clinical touch in front of goal. They have created a lot of dangerous moments in matches but don’t have as many goals to show for their dominance as they would like. The strike partnership of Steffen Lie Skålevik and Jørgen Strand Larsen does show signs of promise though.

Sarpsborg are the only team in the entire league to have 100% under 2.5 goals matches so far this season. Their ability to restrict opponents to relatively few chances is one of the main reasons for this but I think this Glimt team can cause them issues. Their attacking unit looks in great form at the moment and I think they have the pace and skill to create problems for Sarpsborg here. If they can open up the likes of Rosenborg and Molde with relative ease then I believe they can do the exact same again. This match will be played on an artificial surface which will suit both teams. There could be an open feel to proceedings, similar to when the two teams faced off in this fixture last season (3-1). I think over 2.5 goals is worth a shot and the best bet overall. I would personally have this over line set at over 2.75 or even 3. Sarpsborg are a +0.25 Asian Handicap underdog and that might also represent some value. Despite such a great start to the season for Glimt, in terms of raw power numbers Sarpsborg are still a better team and the third strongest on paper in the Eliteserien really. However, the hosts are in such great form that it would be foolish to bet against them right now so I will just stick with the over 2.5 pick.

 Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 1.850

Mjøndalen v Tromsø

It was a dramatic win for Mjøndalen last week as they beat bitter rivals Strømsgodset 3-2 away from home. I correctly advised over 2.75 goals in that fixture and it was a much needed victory for MIF. It could be the boost they need to propel them forwards. There is no doubt that the newly promoted outfit are one of the worst teams in the Eliteserien and it’ll be a desperate struggle for them to survive. But MIF will fight for all they are worth and have the ability to cause sides problems, especially in a physical way. Probably the big concern for Mjøndalen is the amount of chances and goals they’ve conceded. Every single team they’ve faced has been able to have an offensive feast against a defence that was so tight in the OBOS Ligaen last season. The very same thing happened when Mjøndalen last graced the Eliteserien in 2015. It seems that manager Vegard Hansen either doesn’t have to tools or tactics to be defensively sound at the top level.

This is definitely a winnable match for the hosts because Tromsø have looked very inconsistent thus far. The team from northern Norway haven’t looked that bad, but something isn’t quite right with them at the moment. There have been periods in every match so far, especially in the first half when they have been on the back foot all too often. Tromsø aren’t helped by a bad injury situation, which is probably the worst of any team in the Eliteserien at the moment. Starting keeper Gudmund Kongshavn and right back Artem Sokol are both rated doubtful at the moment whilst in midfield and attack the likes of Robert Taylor, Bakenga and key striker Runar Espejord have all been on the sidelines of late. The fitness of playmaker Mikael Ingebrigtsen has been dubious as well. He didn’t even last an hour last week at Vålerenga during the 1-4 loss.

Mjøndalen are -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites for this match and this line is very fair and probably just about accurate in my opinion. The home team do have a good chance of winning because it looks to be a great time to be facing Tromsø. There is no way I can trust such a porous defence though and the visitors have the technical trickery and pace to create plenty of opportunities themselves. Mjøndalen are likely to present a considerable physical challenge in this game and they can be deadly from set pieces. They certainly have an edge in this department and I think this game could be littered with chances from mistakes, breakaways and set plays. The goal line here looks a very generous 2.5 and the overs have to be taken in my opinion. I would say over 2.75 or over 3 goals would also be a strong option here and I see no reason why defences will be on top. The most recent MIF home game ended in a wild 4-5 vs Bodø/Glimt. That sort of scoreline is a pure freak but there should be enough about both teams to see the back of the net bulge at least three times.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 1.800

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