JJK v FC Inter

The horrible weather combined with a blasphemous pitch didn’t really hurt JJK’s odds at Lahti. Neither team is known for sexy possession football, so the game was just a tad more physical and brutish than what it had been under regular circumstances.

JJK could recover from a weak beginning at Lahti, where the hosts looked far superior during the first half an hour. Good for the foxes, however, a draw from Lahti as underdogs isn’t exactly a magic trick. The blue and red striped club need a win sooner than later, even though the table is very even so far.

Inter, who haven’t won in three games, have, in fact, made a decent run. Drawing 1-1 home against IFK Mariehamn isn’t too bad, and an identical result from HJK is probably one of the few occasions this whole season someone manages to avoid a defeat in Helsinki.

While Inter’s defense, and especially their goalkeeping, is still questionable, their offense is unbelievably immense. Not enough with their already strong arsenal, as former HJK striker Mac Kandji is expected to be published on Friday.

Three games without a win and a few draws for JJK make the odds look it way nicer for the home team than they should. Harjun kenttä is still in awful shape, but it didn’t turn out to be a problem for HJK either.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: FC Inter -0.5 at 1.769

VPS v HJK

Home side VPS have stepped up their game by each fixture. Offensively they took a huge leap from last year, scoring eight times in the first five games. Additionally, they haven’t exactly had the easiest schedule.

However, it seems to have come at a great cost. Not that it actually correlates, but VPS defense has been a mere shadow of itself, conceding 13 goals so far. But that’s actually where they’ve made the progress during the season.

HJK have been as good as they should be and better than expected, if that makes any sense. Their game is in beautiful shape, but unfortunately for them, it hasn’t turned into full points against top sides IFK Mariehamn and FC Inter.

The title favorites have struggled to seal the deal in those games and falling asleep that one moment too often. I wouldn’t be too concerned, however, as long as they aren’t losing and the players actually look like they know what they’re doing.

VPS might have better chances on home turf, but in all honesty, they’re quite marginal. As Vepsu still lack two of their three center backs, I can’t see any other solution than an abolishment served by Morelos and company.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 at 2.210

HIFK v RoPS

HIFK were so close to grab an essential win for their survival campaign away at SJK, but lost a 1-3 lead in injury time. I can’t help but thinking whether this will cost them a safe finish to the season. Neither can their fans either, I’d expect.

What made the game so exceptional for HIFK and that one point taste so bitter was Pekka Sihvola’s hat-trick. For me that means one thing; he’s not scoring in a while again. Since Juho Mäkelä seems to have lost his scoring sense completely under Muurinen and Mikael Forssell is still to prove his worth in the reds, I expect them to return to drought.

Meanwhile, RoPS made a statement by beating their Lapland rivals PS Kemi 3-1. Though weak up front, Kemi are a tough piece to chew on for most of the teams. To their mishap, RoPS are capable of playing very physical football, overrunning Kemi and stripping them from their so few strengths.

With that said, Kemi were a convenient match for RoPS, as they usually have been. There’s still things to improve in almost every part of the play, but the defense hasn’t been as awful as it was against Inter and VPS.

Two central pieces of RoPS offense, captain Antti Okkonen and the exciting talent Robert Taylor are questionable for Saturday. As if it wasn’t already difficult to see RoPS scoring plenty of goals, it has become a whole lot harder.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5 at 1.724

Prices correct at time of writing.

By Petteri Räisänen – @konformisten from @FootballUtd

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