Stabaek v Haugesund
The hosts are still inside the relegation zone but Toni Ordinas remains unbeaten since taking charge of the team. So Stabaek haven’t lost any of their last four games and actually played some really good football during this period. They head into this contest on the back of successive 2-2 draws at Tromso & Stromsgodset. To pick up a point in both of those away trips is always highly acceptable, but Stabaek actually might be disappointed they didn’t win at least one of those games. The new manager said they are going to try and win every contest, no matter the opposition. I like his no fear approach and it seems a lot of the players are enjoying their football again. There’s a freedom and confidence in the team I haven’t seen since Bob Bradley left the club. Midfielder Kamal Issah returns from suspension for this match and Ordinas should have a clean bill of health from which to select his team.
Haugesund saw talented coach Mark Dempsey resign a few weeks ago, but it seemed to have little impact on the team as they thrashed local rivals Viking 4-1. However, since then things have taken a turn for the worst. They got thrashed 6-0 by a Rosenborg side who rested a lot of stars. Then last week they lost 0-1 at home to Sogndal. To be fair, Haugesund played pretty well in that game but snatched at chances and also came up against a goalkeeper in great form. You just sense that things are starting to go against them and that they might go through a bit of a sticky phase, with the last two results being the start of it. For this match, key centre back Vegard Skjerve is suspended. In the three games he didn’t start for them this season Haugesund conceded a whopping 8 combined goals! In midfield Sondre Tronstad is suspended as well. In recent times, someone always seems to be injured or suspended for them in the middle of the park and they can’t field the same XI in every game, leading to unsettlement.
Stabaek have been playing really well under Toni Ordinas since he took over. The only thing that’s been lacking are victories. They beat Lillestrom but since then have drawn three games in a row. But look at who they’ve played – Brann, Tromso & Stromsgodset, all of whom are fairly decent teams. Haugesund are still sixth in the table but are under a different regime now, and you sense they are still recovering from the massive beating that Rosenborg inflicted upon them. I really feel that this is the time for Stabaek to cash in and I like the idea of backing them -0.25 @ a decent price here. I like taking over 2.75 goals as well. Stabaek have been much more attack minded under Ordinas and far more threatening in the final third. Haugesund are usually involved in higher scoring matches. Last week was an exception because they faced a defensive team who dug in, but that won’t be the case here. A high scoring home win is my prediction and I’m happy to go with both bets here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Stabaek -0.25 at 1.90 & Over 2.75 goals at 1.91
Brann v Stromsgodset
SK Brann are now up to third in the table after beating Odd 3-1 away from home last week. The way some of their rivals are playing around them, I don’t see any reason why they can’t at least stay there or even sneak second spot come the end of the season. Brann have been in good form recently and have a brilliant home record this year winning seven and drawing just once in front of their own fans. Another incredible statistic is that they’ve only conceded one goal here all campaign. Brann have some great defensive strength but it’s their offense which has come to life in recent times. Their 6-0 hammering of Aalesund springs to mind and even last week they looked decent going forwards. The Bergen outfit will be without key defender Vadim Demidov & defensive midfielder Sivert Nilsen because both are suspended. This is a blow and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without them.
Godset are great at home but poor away. That’s the general theme with this team and last weekend dropped some rare points in front of their own fans when Stabaek held them to a 2-2 draw. Some might say they were even lucky to obtain that and eventually they were clinging on with just 10 men. Midfielder Francisco Junior was given an early bath and that means he’s suspended for this match. In their previous away game Godset played really poorly against Lillestrom (0-2) facing a team who have been rotten since the summer break. I guess this isn’t too much of a surprise though, Godset have routinely been a fairly poor outfit on the road. Already this season they’ve lost 5 out of 8 away from home. Squad condition is generally decent but you sense SIF need to improve upon recent showings here in order to get a result.
Brann look a pretty good price here on a -0.25 handicap and I’m surprised odds above 1.90 are available. They are incredibly formidable at home and also playing with great confidence at the moment. Some consideration has to be given to their suspended duo, but that kind of evens itself out a bit with Godset also missing Francisco Junior in the middle. I think taking Brann -0.25 is a bit of a no brainer. The chances of them losing this game are pretty low. Stromsgodset simply don’t play anywhere near as good away from home and I’m happy to bet against them here. I’m not sure if this match will end over or under. Brann do keep a lot of clean sheets at home so it’s always difficult to know with this market. Taking the hosts on the aforementioned -0.25 looks like the simplest and most profitable solution.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Brann -0.25 at 1.98
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