HIFK v RoPS

HIFK’s boulevard of broken dreams, which has lasted for the past two seasons, is a rather fascinating one. At one point their defense was solid, but their offense lacked idea. At another point, like now, they are suddenly scoring but suffer from leaks in defense. It’s a long time ago we’ve seen an HIFK playing well on both ends. Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time.

RoPS have taken two surprising, very much needed, victories against IFK Mariehamn on home turf (3-0) and HJK (1-0) on the very same pitch they will face HIFK. Though HJK is a much tougher side to beat, especially on Telia 5G Arena, than HIFK, it’s not a guarantee for RoPS success this time.

Under Juha Malinen, RoPS have generally played well and with good results against HJK, while HIFK has proven to be a challenge. From the eight earlier encounters in Veikkausliiga, RoPS have won only twice against HIFK, five have ended in a draw.

So, although RoPS positive trend might be tempting, their history against HIFK is telling us to stay away from a bet on RoPS. What I found value in is an under bet, as seven out of the eight earlier clashes have seen under 2.5 goals.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5 at 1.780

SJK v FC Lahti

About a month ago many of us declared VPS as the becoming runner-ups, although FC Lahti was only a point or two after the Vaasa club. Now it’s Lahti’s turn to be the ‘safe’ choice as a runner-up, but we have a third of the season to go and in Veikkausliiga, all teams collapse at some point.

Forget SJK’s second heavy defeat against HJK, they’ve pulled themselves back to the podium race. Since their early European exit, SJK has won four, drawn once and lost 0-6 to HJK. Not that their game would be in a terrific shape, but SJK truly have the squad quality to pull off a podium finish, especially when almost everyone else is goofing around.

Lahti is in an amazing 15 games long run being undefeated, and although it includes eight draws it truly justifies a second position in the table at the moment. Their active pressing and distinctly high block defense were poison against VPS, their prime opposition for silver.

Sure, it worked efficiently not only against VPS, but I’m not convinced that it’ll prove to be as bad for SJK. All things do come to an end, and although SJK under Valakari grabbed only one win in nine Veikkausliiga games, it’s a whole new thing with a new coach. This time, I’m not going for the history, but for an end to a run.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: SJK DNB at 1.970

VPS v Ilves

Remarkable. That’s the first word that pops up in my mind when thinking about VPS post-Euro exit. Remarkable, as in remarkably bad. A remarkable collapse. Vepsu can barely be recognized as the same team that beat Brøndby IF at home and Olimpija Ljubljana home and away, both teams that operate on a multiple larger budget.

At the end of July, when VPS met Ilves in Tammela, I cannot blame VPS for not winning the game, however. The home side was fully focused on defense in quite the fashion, which reminded more of a bottom La Liga side visiting Camp Nou. Not that that bottom La Liga side has anything to be ashamed of when doing so, but Ilves, a top six side in Veikkausliiga, facing another Veikkausliiga team that is not HJK? Absurd.

Generally, Wiss chosen tactic in the home game didn’t differ that much from the one he used in the 0-2 away win at VPS. VPS defense just didn’t offer goal chances on a silver plate that time.

Which is something VPS have done more or less in every game since captain Veli Lampi has been sidelined due to an injury. Passing along the defensive line has turned out to a nightmare, that looks like VPS from Vuorinen’s early days at charge.

Ilves new signing from Portugal, Marius Noubissi, made an excellent debut assisting a goal and scoring two himself. It’s too early to say whether he can continue his hot start, but Ilves offense feels a lot more dangerous than VPS.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ilves +0.5 at 1.632

By Petteri Räisänen – @konformisten from @FootballUtd

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