Start v Rosenborg
Start remain bottom of the table after another defeat at the weekend, this time away against Brann 1-0. As per usual, the relegation favourites created very few opportunities and just seem way off the level of quality required to continually compete in this division. They are winless in 2016 and in total have now gone a massive 24 Tippeligaen matches without tasting victory! It’s an appalling run and the only way they are heading is down. Start have produced a few encouraging performances at home this year, scoring late equalisers to hold both Molde and Stromsgodset. But on each occasion their opponents probably should’ve been out of sight.
Molde won on Wednesday night but Odd lost, so Rosenborg have maintained their position at the top of the table. Victory here would see them move four points clear of their nearest rivals, an opportunity which you wouldn’t think they’ll let slip. RBK have won 7 of their 9 games this season and perhaps the only cause for concern was a 1-1 draw at Sogndal in their previous away match. On that occasion they were a strong -1 asian favourite but Sogndal played really well against them deserving the draw. Maybe it’s a good reminder that they can’t afford to take it easy in this match. Key winger Pal Andre Helland is still injured but the rest of the squad looks in good condition.
This really should be one way traffic. Start are easily the worst team in the Tippeligaen and Rosenberg are the best. It’s a David vs Goliath contest and I struggle to see how Start avoid defeat. Their best chance would be a 0-0 draw due to their inability to score goals, but there’s surely no way they can keep out RBK for 90 mins. The visitors will dominate possession, create most of the chances and come the end of the night should end up with a comfortable win. Start will fight hard of course, they have to in a match like this. It might even take a while for Rosenborg to break them down. But the quality of the visitors will likely shine through eventually and something like a 2-0 or 3-0 away win seems the most probable outcome. My pick for the game is Rosenborg -1.25. Worst case scenario is an away win by one goal which would yield a half loss. I think we are looking at an easy RBK success though where the gulf in class is demonstrated come the final whistle.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Rosenborg -1.25 at 1.75
Stabaek v Viking
Stabaek finished in the top three under Bob Bradley last season but it’s been a very difficult start for them this campaign. Things are so bad that they are only off the bottom of the table by virtue of goal difference having lost 7 out of 9 games. All sorts of things have gone wrong for them, keeping zero clean sheets has been one of the biggest issues. Stabaek haven’t looked too bad, in fact some of their play has been impressive. But they collapse at crucial times in matches or concede goals at the most inopportune moments. The fixture list hasn’t been kind to them, already having faced the top five in the table, but this is yet another tricky match against a quality team.
Viking have had off the field financial issues this season, but on the field they’ve generally been strong. They head into this match on the back of successive victories, and 2 of their 3 defeats this year have been to Rosenborg & Odd which is no disgrace. Viking have a good looking team on paper. The defence and midfield is generally solid, whilst in attack they have flair players like Abdullahi & Adegbenro. New striker from the Norwegian league Patrick Pedersen has been a complete bust, but youngster Mathias Bringaker is certainly one to watch. Viking are usually really strong on the counter attack away from home and are capable of causing a lot of issues with their great pace.
I would say it’s likely Viking will add to Stabaek’s woes by claiming three points here. But I expect the hosts to compete well, and probably look the better side for most of the match. However, Stabaek will probably do something stupid to blow points or produce a 20 minute period of poor play that costs them dearly. I wouldn’t want to put anyone off backing Viking DNB at around the 1.90 mark, but I feel the better option is taking over 2.5 goals. Stabaek concede too many and have yet to keep a clean sheet, whilst Viking matches have suddenly opened up at both ends. The visitors seem much more dangerous going forwards right now, but at the back they themselves have only kept one clean sheet in six games. I think this will be quite an open affair, pretty end to end. To get 1.91 on over 2.5 in this league when you consider the teams involved looks like a good price to me.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 1.91
Prices correct at time of writing.
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