This Saturday has the honor to carry the title of a Super Saturday, and for a good reason. Besides secondary matches like the Rome derby, Chelsea v Liverpool, and the Madrid derby, we are looking most forward to some Veikkausliiga action.
FC Honka v HJK
So, there will be derbies played in the Spanish and Italian capitols, however, the most exciting derby of Super Saturday is played way up North in Espoo. Third-placed Honka from Espoo will host HJK Helsinki in the so-called Metro derby.
HJK secured the league title Wednesday, as they beat Ilves in Tampere. Congratulations for that, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi, but it was not a too hard job to do. What their fans should be excited about is the new times ahead, as at least director of football Juho Rantala leaves the club for a job in the national FA and assistant coach José Riveiro signed for FC Inter. Perhaps it is time for a new head coach as well?
With that said, HJK have nothing to play for in this match, save for the rather modest rivalry. Honka, on the other hand, have high stakes on the board, as both KuPS and Ilves are only two points away.
Now, if we take a look at the market, you might ask yourself ‘why so little faith in Honka?’ I do think there’s a solid value in a draw-no-bet, however, I am spooked off by the head-to-head history.
HJK has been the winning side in all four derbies (two in the national cup) this year, although Honka has put up for a good fight in every defeat, to say the least. It is easy to fall for the ‘their season is over’ -thinking towards the end of the season when what we actually see is the true difference in quality between teams.
Every team has met each other twice by this point and know each other thoroughly. There’s no room for surprise and every team has reached – or if they ever were to, which Kemi did not – their ceiling for the season. As newcomers, Honka will make a brilliant season, even though I do not think they will finish in the top three. HJK are a too big obstacle, despite they have already won the title.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: HJK DNB at 1.130
VPS v KuPS
As FC Lahti lost to Inter this Wednesday, VPS are starting to look stable in the sixth position, which grants them an additional home game – that is, additional income – for next season. Although there are still four rounds to play and as many points between the two teams, Lahti’s form is so poor that it would require four losses for VPS to screw it up.
The home side took a 0-2 win at dead-last Kemi last weekend. It may sound like the most natural and expected result, however, VPS had gone for a while without a win. The pitch was poor, and the football was possibly even worse, but they did get the job done.
Meanwhile, KuPS could, once again, not get their job done. They drew 1-1 home against Honka after drawing also 1-1 at RoPS. KuPS dominated at Rovaniemi and took a lot of shots from all over the pitch but could not get the full result but the same cannot be said about their home draw against Honka. On the contrary, KuPS had one lousy shot inside the box, whereas Honka’s shot map looks like a beauty. A weird drop from such a prestigious performance away. Nevertheless, KuPS did get that one goal, and it was from outside of the box by Reuben Ayarna.
Despite the dip against Honka, who are a better version of this year’s VPS, I see KuPS as big favorites here. VPS defensive line is a mess and the guests win easily in overall quality. Besides, only Inter and Kemi have been worse at home this year than VPS.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: KuPS -0.50 at 0.980
RoPS v SJK
Second-placed RoPS took a rough beating as HJK’s guests last weekend but I would not be too hard on them. League-leading goal scorer João Klauss made the absolutely stunning opening goal and HJK were determined to drop RoPS off the title race. This put RoPS in a position where they suddenly have a lot left to play for, especially if even one of Honka or KuPS win on Saturday.
Meanwhile, SJK have failed to get themselves to safety. They played an absolute snoozer home against Lahti last weekend, and trust me, even though there has been plenty of extremely boring games this year – which is a huge issue for Veikkausliiga – this was among the absolute worst.
So, despite having Mariehamn only one point behind and TPS only two points after, SJK cannot get their system to work well enough against a hopeless FC Lahti. Ukrainian winger Denys Oliynyk looked to be way too good to Veikkausliiga when he demolished VPS during their derby weeks but even that source of inspiration has died off in Seinäjoki.
RoPS defense could be prone against better sides, as Jems Geffrard is suspended and Leo Väisänen’s departure to Holland has been inevitably irreplaceable. However, this SJK side struggles to find their way to the opponent goal, while RoPS offense is an immense arsenal.
Although RoPS have two weaker games behind them, their guests’ trend is by no means any better. I see the home side as weirdly unfavored by the market, which is why we are going for a home win.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: RoPS -0.50 at 1.130
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