Sandefjord vs Stromsgodset
It might be that the last third of the season is a difficult period for Sandefjord. They have overachieved for a lot of the campaign and done well to obtain 21 points, but they still remain at major risk of dropping down into the relegation playoff position. Sandefjord have conceded a massive 42 goals this season which the second worst of any team. They have a legitimately poor defence with an xGA average per game of 2.02. When you are expected to concede two goals every time you take to the field then there are major problems. Sandefjord also have the second worst xG at the other end of the field (21.66) but they have fortunately overachieved this metric by 10 goals and netted 31 times. The main reason why is the form of attacker Mohamed Ofkir and striker Alexander Ruud Tveter. If you can keep those two quiet, as Lillestrøm did last week then you can usually shut Sandefjord out entirely.
Strømsgodset will certainly travel here full of confidence after absolutely battering Jerv 6-0 last week. It was expected they would win the game but to put in such a dominant and controlled performance was quite impressive. Godset were so good last week they could have legitimately scored 9 or 10 goals; such was their superiority. It helped of course that they faced the worst defence in the Eliteserien, but the good news is that Sandefjord are hardly much of an upgrade. It was noticeable that striker Fred Friday got on the scoresheet twice. He is very much a confidence player and when things start going right, he can be very dangerous. Now that Lars-Jørgen Salvesen has left the club he needs to step up and make himself the indisputable starter again. Godset do not have a great away record and are known for travelling poorly. But they should fancy taking the victory here and adding to their two road wins this year.
The first place to look in any Sandefjord back is the goals market. An incredible 17 out of their 19 Eliteserien fixtures have ended with over 2.5 goals. This isn’t a surprise considering their shocking defensive record. Godset matches average 3.10 goals per game and at whichever end they come then there looks a fantastic chance of at least three goals being score here. I suspect Godset will win, but they can’t be trusted on the road and Sandefjord often surprise when you least expect them to do well.
Lillestrøm v Kristiansund
Last week was a good one for Lillestrøm. They easily beat Sandefjord 3-0 and moved back up to second place in the table. They had a wobble during the middle of the summer but now that they are out of Europe and able to focus on the Eliteserien then it should result in a strong last third of the season. LSK have a fantastic home record this season winning 7 out of 9 matches at Åråsen Stadion. They have remarkably only conceded three goals in front of their own fans and have the best defensive record in the entire Eliteserien. Goalkeeper Mads Christiansen has been the key man at the back and made some exceptional saves this season. He wasn’t called into action much last week though because Lillestrøm totally dominated. They outgunned Sandefjord 3.40 to 0.40 on xG and the margin of victory should have been even more than 3-0. The recent injury to key striker Akor Adams has rocked them a bit but the club have acted in the transfer market by bringing back last year’s top scorer Thomas Lehne Olsen. He will probably be lacking match fitness but having netted 26 times in the previous campaign he is a proven performer at this level of football.
Kristiansund are rock bottom of the table on just six points. They have a game in hand, but the situation looks hopeless for Christian Michelsen’s men. KBK are a massive 13 points adrift of the relegation playoff position and it would take a remarkable set of results for them to survive now this season. They will keep fighting and this is the sort of club which has a lot of pride, but they must surely be thinking long term and about their campaign in the second tier OBOS Ligaen next season. Kristiansund have an appalling away record losing 9 out of 10 matches on the road and scoring just five goals. Their lone away win was at Ham Kam 1-0, but this is a much more difficult fixture. Left back Christoffer Aasbak has been ruled out for the entire season due to a knee injury and midfielder Sebastian Jarl is suspended for this clash.
Taking Lillestrøm to win and over 2.5 goals in the match was a successful bet last week and I’m going with the exact same pick again. They are a short price to win straight on the nose but should comfortably have enough to prevail. Kristiansund on average concede more than two goals per game so the home team could cover the over part of the bet on their own. Just in case of a 2-1 or 3-2, which would scupper a handicap pick then the value again appears to be with LSK & over 2.5.
Viking vs Vålerenga
This is a top half matchup between 6th and 5th in the Eliteserien table. Just one point separates the two teams although Viking have a game in hand which is against rock bottom Kristiansund. That match was postponed last week because the Norwegian FA allowed Viking to concentrate entirely on their midweek Europa Conference League tie vs FCSB of Romania. It has been fairly obvious that their minds have been very focused on that competition recently but in general the form of Viking has been poor for a while, winning just 2 of their last 10 league games. They have only lost one match at home but drawn quite a lot of fixtures at their own stadium. The loss of key striker Veton Berisha was a massive blow when he transferred to Swedish club Hammarby. The hole he has left upfront has yet to be filled because he was such an important player and individual to the club. Since 10th July Viking have only played 3 Eliteserien matches and most of their action has been in European qualifiers. To lose 1-3 vs FCSB on Thursday night to a late goal was gut wrenching for the team.
Vålerenga are in brilliant form and won 6 of their last 7 games. The only time they dropped points during that run was when Ham Kam scored a 93rd minute equaliser, a match resulting in a 1-1 draw. It is difficult to know exactly how things have improved so much for Vålerenga because they looked in a bad way just a couple of months ago. Manager Dag Eilev Fagermo was close to the sack, but he used his experience, tactical acumen and clear man managing skills to improve the situation. It might have been they just needed to grab a couple of wins to improve their confidence. Vålerenga are led by star man Osame Sahraoui who is one of the best attacking players in the entire league. They have reinforced the squad by adding some new guys in the last couple of weeks. Defender Stefan Strandberg scored the winning goal vs Tromsø and striker Torgeir Børven has a proven goalscoring record at this level. This team is one of the primary candidates to finish the season strongly because they aren’t under a lot of pressure and clearly enjoying their football.
I think it is a massive surprise that Viking are such a clear favourite for this game. They are at home, but it is clear Vålerenga are in far better form and probably the outright better team anyway. Factor in that Viking are playing this match just 3 days after a massive European match and it would be understandable for there to be some sort of mental and physical fatigue. Taking Vålerenga on an X2 double chance looks like a terrific value bet and one which really needs to be grabbed because this match looks to have been priced up all wrong.
Tromsø vs Rosenborg
The late evening kick-off in the Eliteserien this Sunday sees Rosenborg travel far north to face Tromsø. This should be an intriguing game of football and a good atmosphere at Alfheim Stadium is to be expected. The home side are 10th in the table but are only 2 points clear of the relegation playoff position. They are just a few bad results away from being sucked into major trouble again and still have a massive problem converting draws into wins. Half of Tromsø’s matches this year have ended in draws with six of those ending exactly 1-1. TIL are a difficult side to judge sometimes and are capable of anything on the day. They actually have the second best xGA average in the league (1.41) yet have only kept two clean sheets all season. They tend to make several individual mistakes and have sloppy moments in matches. It is difficult for Tromsø to stay switched on defensively for the full 90 mins. One big positive for Gutan is their much improved home record this season which has only seen them suffer defeat once here at Alfheim Stadion.
Rosenborg travel here in fantastic form. They are unbeaten in 9 consecutive Eliteserien matches and won 7 of those contests. This is a purple patch for Kjetil Rekdal’s men and it feels like everything is going their way right now. Last week they beat Aalesund 2-1, but it was a fortunate success. For large parts of the game, they were surprisingly outplayed, and their 3-5-2 system was exposed. Rosenborg can be ‘got at’ defensively and have actually only kept two clean sheets in their last 10 games. However, at the other end of the field RBK have looked excellent recently. The summer signing of new striker Casper Tengstedt looks like an inspired piece of business already. The former Horsens man has scored 5 goals in his first 3 starts, including a brilliant late winner vs Aalesund. With another striker Noah Jean Holm now back from injury it gives Rosenborg some more options in attack, although Ole Christian Saeter is currently doing a great job in the pressing forward role.
Tromsø are slight favourites for this game which is possibly a fair price. The actual match result is difficult to predict but the obvious bet that stands out to me is both teams to score. I mentioned before how Tromsø have only kept two clean sheets all season and generally tend to be a BTTS magnet. It is now the same with Rosenborg who have really opened up in the last couple of months and have sacrificed defence for more offensive strength. The 1-1 draw must be covered when Tromsø are involved so I would always lean BTTS rather than over 2.5 in their fixtures. This looks like a good price in what should be an entertaining game of football.
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