Sarpsborg v Stromsgodset
The hosts have only picked up one point from their last two games but have deserved much more. They lost against Valerenga 0-2 (somehow) despite dominating but it was one of those days when they were destined not to score. Then last week they dominated Odd but couldn’t breach 10 men and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Sarpsborg were extremely tempting to back on a +0.75 asian handicap last week but I bottled it and decided to refrain from betting. They have generally been a covering machine in recent months. The aforementioned defeat to Valerenga was their first at home since the opening day of the season and also the first time they conceded in front of their own fans for over 500 minutes! Performance wise, Sarpsborg have been playing well though which is encouraging.
Something clearly isn’t right with Godset at the moment. They are winless in their last four games and simply aren’t playing well enough. Some of their results and performances were understandable, and almost excusable. However, they have nowhere to hide after only drawing with Start last weekend (1-1). The truth is they deserved no better than a point either. They look the lead from a penalty but generally struggled to add to that advantage, creating little, along with poor finishing. Start actually put them in trouble on numerous occasions and the final outcome didn’t mask anything. I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with Godset but they can’t be trusted right now and seem in a huge rut. The whole team seems flat and this will be a tough fixture for them.
The visitors aren’t great travellers at the best of times. So when they are in poor form like they are now then it’s a bit of a no brainer decision to bet against them. Sarpsborg are generally very strong at home and if we ignore the loss to Valerenga which was extremely unlucky, they haven’t really done a lot wrong recently. Quite frankly, at the moment I rate them as the better team and at this rate will finish above a Stromsgodset side who are clearly struggling. The visitors will always be rated highly by the bookies because on paper they have a decent amount of quality. This ensures Sarpsborg are a nice price on a -0.25 asian handicap, generally around the 2.0 mark. This is more than acceptable in my opinion and at very worst they should draw the fixture.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sarpsborg -0.25 at 2.00
Start v Sogndal
The winless run continues for Start but they can take a lot of pride out of last week’s 1-1 draw with Stromsgodset. Everyone (including me) expected them to get absolutely smashed but they actually produced a pretty good performance in all areas of the field, deserving their late equaliser. They comfortably covered the massive +1.5 asian handicap. Their overall prospects this season remain bleak and relegation seems a virtual certainty. But based on last week’s display they want to gain some sort of self respect, at very least actually win a game of football and generally give their fans something worth watching. They’d dearly love to end this record breaking Tippeligaen winless streak which stretches to nearly 35 games now. Start have absolutely nothing to lose and will only be targeting victory in a fixture like this. I expect them to be proactive, positive and try to put on a show for the fans. If they are as committed as they were in Godset, a victory might be obtained.
The visitors went on a great 11 match unbeaten run but have since come down to earth thanks to back to back defeats facing Viking & Rosenborg. The writing was maybe on the wall before that anyway and it’s been a while since Sogndal played really well. You just sense that their window of good football has passed (for now) and they have dropped down a level or two. This naturally happens with all promoted teams at some stage every season and it appears to be happening with Sogndal right now. A big blow for them was losing influential midfielder Babacar Sarr to Molde and they don’t have the same driving force in that area of the field without him. Manager Eirik Bakke has built a good side here but if they aren’t careful their season could fizzle out. If they go on a really poor run then they might even get sucked into the relegation battle.
The next three games Sogndal have to play are all against sides below them in the table. This is their chance to completely cement their survival, not that there’s much doubt anyway. The problem is that Sogndal aren’t in particularly great form now and need to pick themselves up a bit. They are the understandable favourites to win this match but there’s a lot of pressure and expectation on them to deliver. In terms of players on paper there’s probably not an awful lot of difference between these two teams. It just happens to be that Start have little to play for and Sogndal have become a well drilled side. I think this will be an open fixture and both teams will fancy their chances. Start have no reason to be negative whilst Sogndal will still get plenty of opportunities even if they are protecting a lead. I think the best bet here is over 2.5, which is quite generously priced for a Tippeligaen match. A lot of Start home matches have recently been going over and a price of 1.95 is simply far too big when only three goals are needed for the bet to win fully.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 1.95
Prices correct at time of writing.
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