After a short break we’re back with Asian Handicap betting previews on Veikkausliiga. The top of the table has become even tighter than before, and we have an exciting last third of the season in front of us at Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage. Everything from the title to European spots are up for grabs, so stability is required more than earlier this season.

PS Kemi v RoPS

The previous derby of Lapland was just two fixtures ago, and this will be the last of the season. It’s been quite clear who sits on the throne of Lapland, not only when it comes to the league table, but also the derby results. The last clash especially exhibited a sound difference between the two clubs, professionals against amateurs, as RoPS slaughtered Kemi with 5-0.

The home side doesn’t have much quality to put against their rivals. Star striker Billy Ions who’s been having a tough timing finding the net was sold to title challengers SJK. Other than the Englishman, PS Kemi hasn’t had anyone truly worth an extra focus to keep on.

However, Kemi does have a good team chemistry and their collective game worked well enough to grab a win home against Inter like they did last week, or pull off a draw against a top side like VPS.

Unfortunately for Kemi, RoPS has proven to be a too big bite to chew on. Though one of Veikkausliiga’s best strikers, Aleksandr Kokko, left for Australian side Newcastle Jets, RoPS offense won’t be too much weaker. Rising star, midfielder Robert Taylor scored a hat-trick in the previous derby and has taken rapidly a vast share of RoPS goal scoring.

RoPS signed an Estonian striker Albert Prosa from FC Flora Tallinn. The expectations aren’t too high on the new signing, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fits into Malinen’s highly energetic strategy.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: RoPS -0.5 at 2.50

 

FC Lahti v FC Inter

 

FC Lahti was probably the team that anticipated the most for the transfer window. After losing their only solid goalkeeper to a season long injury, and their biggest offensive weapon Ivan Solovyev’s loan contract ran out, Lahti were at the end of an alley.

As soon as August started the first thing Lahti did was get rid of the most disappointing signing of the year, goalkeeper Tomi Maanoja. The replacement came from partners in East, when they loaned Alexander Vasyutin from Zenit St. Petersburg. He proved his worth in a rather special way, when he equalized the score at PK-35 Vantaa in stoppage time. Pavel Osipov was loaned from the same club to bring back some fantasy to Lahti’s offense.

Speaking of fantasy, there should be no lack of it in Inter. To put in short the past few weeks, Inter’s done a lot of crazy stuff that the Inter as we used to know wouldn’t do. A huge circus of coaches and players mostly coming but also going has wasted the club’s professional image.

Inter has had a lot of problems in their structure on field because, well, there is no structure at all. Wallenius who took the step up from assisting coach to head coach failed completely in his effort to make a change, which is why John Allen was brought from Pori Jazz as Wallenius’ assistant. He barely got a chance before Shefki Kuqi was appointed as the new head coach, i.e. trying to find a sense in Inter’s game is a forgotten plan.

The chaos is most likely the reason why offensive force Sebastian Mannström left once again for the German third tier. Mannström didn’t fit at all in a team without a strategy, can’t really blame him for that.

Wherever Kuqi goes, all hell breaks lose. Lahti isn’t a solid and strong enough team to take a clear advantage of that, so I’m expecting a headless game.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 at 2.16

 

IFK Mariehamn v HIFK

The islanders are back in pole position after HJK’s short stint up in first place. Unfortunately for IFK Mariehamn, they have 6 games left on home soil. Yes, really, it is unfortunate to them, since they are only the eighth strongest home team! Meanwhile, they are by far the best team on the road.

In Vaasa IFK Mariehamn continued both their good away statistics of the season as well as their good run away against VPS. Despite Steven Morrissey’s second booking early on the second half, IFK couldn’t seal the game, but gave VPS a surprisingly good chance to get even. In the end, IFK’s central lock was too big and subbed Thomas Mäkinen finalized 0-2 on stoppage time.

Visitors HIFK’s renaissance has turned out positive. Finnish coach legend Antti Muurinen has brought a more relaxed atmosphere to HIFK, which has given them vital points, including a brilliant 5-2 away win at IFK Mariehamn. It was one of the season’s most impressive performances in the whole league, as IFK M had before that game conceded by far the least goals in Veikkausliiga.

HIFK didn’t either show a weakness in the Helsinki derby against a lot stronger HJK, when they pulled off a goalless draw. The biggest impact of Muurinen’s positivity and relaxed approach has been on striker Pekka Sihvola, who has had a very tough season.

IFK Mariehamn are a poor home side, and I feel confident with an Asian Handicap profit on HIFK.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: HIFK +0.75 at 1.83

Prices correct at time of writing.

By Petteri Räisänen – @konformisten from @FootballUtd

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