Start v Valerenga
The hosts nearly ended their long winless streak in shock circumstances last week, pushing Molde all the way. Eventually, they managed to obtain a 2-2 draw but for a while it looked like they might pick up an unlikely three points. Start haven’t won a Tippeligaen match for over a year and well over 30 matches now. But they are fighting very hard at the moment and it’s clear they are putting forth a lot of effort into games. I like the team spirit that Start are showing, and in attacking midfielder Nwakali they actually have an individual who has a bit of quality about him. Sadly, he’s suspended here though. Sooner or later Start will surely end their horrible run and this is one of the best chances they’ll get. I fully expect the hosts to throw the kitchen sink at Valerenga here.
The Oslo club have struggled all season. Off the field everyone knows Ronny Deila will be taking over at the start of 2017, but will he be in charge of a Tippeligaen club? He should be, but the way VIF are going there’s no guarantee they’ll survive! ‘Enga are winless in seven matches and find themselves second bottom of the table with only three wins and ten losses to their name this campaign. They’ve had problems all over the field and with Deshorn Brown now left the club, perhaps lack a focal point upfront who can convert chances. In their last away game they even allowed Brann to score four times which is rather worrying against a team not renowned for its ability in front of goal. Valerenga have to see this match as a ‘must win’ and if they lost it then Kjetil Rekdal might be relieved of his duties earlier than expected.
This is a basement battle between bottom and second bottom of the table. This reminds me of the Start v Bodo Glimt match a few weeks ago which eventually ended 1-4. I have personally always had a theory that when two poor teams face each other both usually ‘fancy’ themselves getting the victory. Neither side has any real concern about playing negatively because it’s the sort of fixture in which to push for victory. Especially at this stage of the season I think both teams will really see this as a must win. If Start got three points they’d be back in the race to avoid relegation, whilst Valerenga will feel like they need to cash in against a team like Start. I’m not sure which way this will go because both are pretty crap. But I think there will be goals in an end to end contest. I just don’t see it being a tight encounter; it makes sense for both to ‘go for it’. In this sort of fixture I’m always happy to go with the overs and the line is set at 2.75. I think there’s a good chance this bet will at least half win and should cover fully if the game is as open as I anticipate.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 2.06
Sogndal v Bodo Glimt
Eirik Bakke’s men are unbeaten in nine matches approaching this contest. That is an excellent return for a promoted team like themselves and they now seem likely to have a comfortable season in midtable. Sogndal are clearly playing with great confidence at the moment and are really relaxed. There’s hardly any pressure on them right now and the team is very stable and playing for each other. A couple of months ago they were quite a defensive side, hard to break down but offered relatively little going forwards. Now it’s much different and Sogndal have found their scoring boots. They still work very hard to win the ball back and played some excellent stuff in their last game here, beating Molde 4-3. Sogndal have only lost once at the Fosshaugane Campus in 2016 and it’s a difficult place to visit.
The northern outfit had a sticky spell but have come back from the summer break in good form. Bodo have picked up seven points from three games which is an excellent return when you consider they’ve faced the likes of Odd & Rosenborg. The team is clearly now playing with more confidence at the moment and seems to have found its scoring boots. The trio up front, Olsen, Jevtovic & Azemi have a pretty good chemistry with each other. Bodo have won two of their last three on the road and I think they’ll be quite positive in their approach. Traditionally, this is a strong counter attacking side who like to catch teams out with their pace.
This is a nice midtable battle between a couple of teams in good form. It’s difficult to know which way it’ll go but in general I think that Sogndal are priced too short with the bookies. Bodo have the potential to be really dangerous here and I think they’ll create enough chances to threaten. Because both sides are confident and feeling good about themselves I think this will be a pretty open encounter. The goal line catches my eye at 2.75 and this might be generous the way each team is operating right now. Sogndal have a reputation of being a boring tight team but I actually think they are much more comfortable going forwards now. I think this’ll be a good game of football, on a surface both sides are used to. Hopefully it’ll yield at least three goals with the possibility of a few more.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 2.0
Prices correct at time of writing.
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