Rosenborg v Lillestrøm
This is a battle between 4th and 2nd in the table. The result of this fixture could be crucial determining the medal positions this season and who qualifies for Europe. Rosenborg had a great run of form during the summer and went on a nine match unbeaten run, winning seven of those contests. They have stuttered a bit recently though, losing away matches to Tromsø & Haugesund. Rosenborg definitely have some defensive vulnerabilities which have been exposed in those matches. RBK have a very strong and solid home record, the best in the Eliteserien with 8 wins, 2 draws and no defeats. The Lerkendal Stadion is suddenly a fortress again and Rosenborg can be confident in front of their own fans. The home side have not been lacking goals recently, netting 23 times in their last 8 games. Defender Sam Rogers is doubtful with injury.
Lillestrøm are in mixed form. They beat Strømsgodset 2-1 last week to climb to second place in the table. They are the closest challengers to Molde in the title race but are a huge 10 points adrift with only 8 matches remaining. A more realistic target for LSK is to finish in the medal sports as high as possible. They have struggled to maintain their early season form and only won 2 of their last 6 league games. Despite having the third best away record they are not as reliable on the road. Geir Bakke’s men lost their most recent away match 1-3 vs big rivals Vålerenga and they also lost 0-1 at rock bottom Jerv. The injury to striker Akor Adams was a blow, but he might be due back from a shoulder problem soon. Thomas Lehne Olsen, last year’s top scorer was re-signed at the end of the transfer window and should start to make a difference soon.
Rosenborg matches have been a magnet for over 2.5 goals and both teams scoring recently. Their last 8 consecutive league matches have all contained at least three goals. With the strike duo of Casper Tengstedt and Ole Christian Saeter they certainly carry a massive threat right now. I suspect this game might become a shootout, in a similar fashion to the reverse fixture which resulted in a 3-1 win to Lillestrøm. Both teams to score is an option to back, but I think over 2.5 goals is the best bet at 1.60. There is enough attacking firepower on both sides to contribute towards this bet.
Sarpsborg v Jerv
The home side are a very short-priced favourite to win this match at 1.22 and are expected to comfortably prevail. Sarpsborg’s season has been very topsy-turvy. They started the campaign brilliantly under the new management of Stefan Billborn but then hit a terrible run of form during the summer which saw them lose 8 consecutive league games. A freak late turnaround vs Ham Kam got them back to winning ways a couple of weeks ago though, and they backed it up with a convincing 3-1 success away to Aalesund last week. Sarpsborg’s big strength this year has been their attack force which has seen them score 38 goals, the most of any team in the bottom half of the table. They have the third highest xG per 90 mins in the entire Eliteserien (1.92), the problem is at the other end of the field where they have conceded far too many goals. A total of 42 goals have been conceded which correlates exactly with their xGA of 42.46. They have a legitimately poor defence, but Jerv are so poor that it shouldn’t matter if Sarpsborg don’t keep a clean sheet.
The rock bottom visitors only have 14 points and look set for an immediate relegation back down to the OBOS Ligaen. They simply aren’t good enough for this level at either end of the field. Jerv have now lost 9 of their last 10 games and just look cannon fodder now. Last week they nearly caused an upset by coming from 0-2 down to draw 2-2 vs Molde. However, two very late goals ensured they yet again succumbed to defeat by a 2-4 margin. Jerv won’t lack effort and have given it a good go this season, but they have only scored 17 goals in 22 games which simply isn’t going to make you very competitive unless you have an elite defence. That’s something which they sadly don’t possess, in fact it is quite the opposite. Jerv have conceded a massive 52 goals which is obviously a terrible record. Their xGA numbers of 2.35 per 90 mins totally backs up those numbers. Jerv have an appalling away record which has seen them lose 9 out of 10 road fixtures with a 6:30 goal differential.
Sarpsborg look an absolute banker to win this game, but you won’t get rich backing them at 1.22. The reverse fixture ended 5-0 and I am expecting something similar. There are several betting angles to approach this game to add value. Sarpsborg HT/FT could be considered in addition to the home -1 handicap. I think taking Sarpsborg to win and over 2.5 goals make the most sense though. Their defence cannot always be relied on but equally their offense could cover this on their own too.
Vålerenga v Sandefjord
Vålerenga lost for the first time in ten games last week when they suffered a surprise 2-3 away defeat to Kristiansund. They failed to impose themselves on the match facing an opponent fighting for their lives. This is perhaps a similar situation but at least VIF will be at home for this encounter. A sublime run of 8 wins in 9 league games propelled Vålerenga up the table and has put them in the hunt for a medal. Let’s not forget how poorly they were situated mid-way through the campaign and manager Dag Eilev Fagermo was close to losing his job. He has managed to turn things around, helped by some great individual performances from some of his players. Midfield playmaker Osame Sahraoui has been especially brilliant, scoring 6 goals and supplying 2 assists in the last 8 games. He has looked like one of the best players in the entire league for the last couple of months and completely terrorised defences. Vålerenga have a strong 7-1-2 home record at the Intility Arena and have been strong in front of their own fans.
Sandefjord are in some trouble. They are now situated in 14th place which is the relegation playoff spot and are winless in seven consecutive games. For over half of the season, they regularly overachieved but now seem to have fallen back down to earth. Statistically, only Jerv have worse metrics in this division at both ends of the field. Sandefjord have an xG of 25.08 but have managed to net 35 times this season, 10 more than those numbers. At the other end of the field their 50 goals conceded does correlate to their xGA numbers, which average out at 1.97 per 90 mins. They key towards keeping them competitive and out of the automatic relegation zone has been the form of attackers Mohamed Ofkir and Alexander Ruud Tveter who have combined to score 18 goals between them. If you can keep those two guys quiet, then Sandefjord have little else to offer in the final third.
Vålerenga should be winning this match but their price to prevail is just 1.22. The obvious bet when Sandefjord always play is to back over 2.5 goals, but even that price is on the short side at 1.36. If we combine both plays and back Vålerenga to win and over 2.5 goals we can bump that price up to 1.53. The home team could cover this line on their own, but a 2-1 score is possible and nice to have on our side. The logical outcome is for a home win in a high scoring match.
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