Aalesund v Odd
AFK have really got the bit between their teeth at the moment. They were in serious relegation trouble but a string of three consecutive victories have now launched them out of the red zone.
In total, the western outfit have won 5 of their last 8 Tippeligaen games. Nobody really battered too much of an eyelid when they hammered Start 4-1 away from home, it was an expected success. But Aalesund used that momentum as a springboard.
The offense looked really good against Start & Godset, but then they also showed some defensive resilience last week, grinding out a 1-0 win at Valerenga. I don’t think Aalesund can rely on they their backline to keep it tight every week, but it was an encouraging sign for them.
AFK have a 4-4-4 home record and can be inconsistent here, but historically this is a fairly tough place to visit. Captain Bjorn Helge Riise returns from suspension for this match, but left back Mikkel Kirkeskov is banned.
The visitors haven’t been playing that well for a while now. In total, Odd have won just 2 of their last 10 games and both of those were against the hapless Start and Lillestrom.
They are still in a medal position but have relinquished second spot to Brann and on current form don’t look like getting it back. It’s difficult to properly pinpoint what’s been going wrong for Odd. It seems they’ve regressed in all areas of the field.
One week their defence will let them down, and then on another occasion the offense fires blanks.
Last week they produced a much better and resolute defensive performance at Godset, keeping it tight for the majority of the game. But it was noticeable how much on the back foot they were facing out of form opponents.
Injuries haven’t helped Odd of course. The midfield duo of Samuelsen & Nordkvelle have been playing hurt and promising young winger Zekhnini hasn’t featured at all of late.
Conclusion & betting analysis
It’s fairly obvious a form team is coming up against an out of form side here. Therefore, I’d say it’s a surprise that Odd are a -0.25 Asian handicap favourite It’s true that on paper they have better quality, but quite simply that isn’t shining through right now. They are limping over the finishing line and at this rate will finish out of the medal positions.
Aalesund meanwhile, are fighting for their lives and desperate for points. They have shown good signs all over the field in recent times but most importantly, their confidence seems to have returned. I’m not saying the hosts will definitely win this game but I think there’s a very good chance they can at least draw.
Therefore, I think Aalesund +0.25 has to be the bet here. It looks terrific value and the odds are priced up more on reputation than current form. This might be a fairly tight match but I’m backing AFK to get something out of it.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Aalesund +0.25 at 1.99
Tromso v Molde
The northern outfit have been all or nothing recently. TIL have won four and lost four of their last eight games.
For a large majority of the season, their form on the road was better than at home. But in recent times normality has resumed. Tromso have won their last three matches at Alfheim Stadion which is a traditional fortress.
The hosts have had all sorts of injury and suspension problems recently but finally nobody is banned and their casualty list isn’t as vast as it once was.
Performance wise, Tromso have been playing some great football ever since the summer break. They are only three points clear of the relegation zone but should be confident of avoiding the drop if they keep playing well.
The visitors had a great four match winning streak not so long ago, but have followed that up with a poor streak and are now languishing in midtable again. A really strong finish could perhaps see them threaten a medal spot but Molde don’t really look like doing it right now. Their whole season has been a bit of a flop and they can only really look forward to the next campaign now.
The defensive duo of Vegard Forren and Joona Toivio are both ruled out injured until the end of the season, but the rest of the squad should be available for selection.
There’s just no real drive about Molde right now and they feel really flat. From mid summer onwards it’s all been about transition for this club and I’m not sure if their focus is fully there on the present.
Conclusion & betting analysis
Molde are always one of the teams in this league who often get priced up based on reputation. For the majority of the last 2-3 years it’s been a realistic assumption that they are a major power side, but the dynamics have changed. Molde are still reasonable enough, but absolutely nothing special anymore.
There is no way Tromso should be an underdog in this match and I have no hesitation in backing them DNB. At this stadium and location, it’s such a difficult place for anyone to visit.
It has been profitable since mid season betting against Molde in most of their matches, especially on the road. I just feel this is yet another situation in which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are vastly overrated once again, so let’s take advantage!
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Tromso +/- 0 at 2.08
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