Sogndal v Brann
Brann are the runaway leaders of the OBOS Ligaen, and it is just a matter of when, not if they are going to be crowned champions. They have an incredible 16 point cushion at the top of the standings and only need 8 more points to be officially promoted. They will easily surpass that mark and a bigger question is whether they can go the whole season unbeaten. Brann have won 17 out of 20 league matches this term and only once since 23rd April have they dropped points. Their away record is a sensational 100% with ten out of ten victories. It is no surprise to see Brann lead pretty much every meaningful statistical category. They have scored the most goals (58), conceded the fewest (11) and they also lead all of the xG and xGA numbers. Goalscoring has been spread more evenly throughout the team with Mathias Rasmussen leading their charts with ten goals. The whole team has chipped in with several goals and assists. This is such a strong unit and far too good for OBOS football. There have been no signs of Brann slipping up and they have won 4 of their last 6 games by at least a three goal margin.
Sogndal head into this match on the back of a 4-0 win vs Mjøndalen. They are situated in 6th place and right on the cusp of the playoffs. You could argue that this is a more important match for them considering how close that part of the table is congested with teams. Sogndal matches have been full of goals this season. 13 of their last 16 league games have all contained over 2.5 goals and 10 of those fixtures have ended with over 3.5. The clean sheet obtained vs Mjøndalen was a rare one and this is a team which conceded six goals vs Sandnes just a couple of weeks ago. Manager Tore Andre Flo, best known for his days as a Chelsea player, has generally stuck with a 4-4-2 formation this season and is an offensive minded coach. Icelandic attacker Jonatan Ingi Jonsson leads their scoring charts with 8 league goals and is one to watch. Sogndal have recently signed Mexican striker Alejandro Diaz who comes from Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC. He has been in rich goalscoring form this year, netting 13 goals in 18 appearances. If he can adapt to Norwegian football, then he could be lethal and already scored on his Sogndal debut vs Mjøndalen.
Brann should win the match, but a better selection is probably to take over 2.5 goals. The price is short at 1.40 but really does look like an absolute banker. Brann could cover this line on their own, but Sogndal do have some scoring power as well. For those who are after a better price then over 3.5 goals are available at more generous odds of 2.10. I prefer the more straightforward bet though and to keep it as simple as possible here.
Åsane v Mjøndalen
The big story heading into this match is the sacking of Mjøndalen manager Vegard Hansen. This is no ordinary sacking. He was the second longest current serving manager in the world having been in charge for nearly 17 years! This is a man who would bleed the club colours and even lives at an apartment inside the stadium! Mjøndalen have been desperately underperforming this season though and have lost 9 of their last 12 league games. They had a fantastic start to the season but totally fell apart in the last 2 or 3 months. This is a club who were relegated from the Eliteserien, so expectations were high, with at least a playoff spot being the minimum objective. They are currently five points off that objective, so the board decided the time was right for a manager change. Things will feel weird and be different without Vegard Hansen. The players might either totally lose motivation or be inspired and want to put in a serious performance. Emotions will be running high with everyone connected to the club after this sacking.
They travel to face an Åsane side who are very unpredictable and capable of anything on the day. The home team are down in 12th place but do have an 8 point gap to the relegation zone. They have only lost 3 of their last 10 games, the most recent of which was a surprise 0-2 defeat to struggling Skeid. Åsane are obviously a team who can’t be relied upon but equally you don’t want to oppose them too much either. At the heart of their problems is the shambles of a defence which has conceded a massive 44 goals in 20 league games. They have the worst xGA out of any team in the league (40.20), so they are legitimately bad at the back. Åsane have yet to keep a clean sheet all season in any league match. They won their last home fixture 4-3 vs Fredrikstad and have been reliant on their offense bailing them out all year.
Mjøndalen have the lowest xG in the entire division, averaging just 1.06 per 90 mins. That might be one of the reasons that the club decided to sack Vegard Hansen. Things might change now though, and the team might be unleashed to be more offensive minded. They will certainly get their chances facing such a terrible defence. The odds for over 2.5 goals to be scored here are as big as 1.60, which for the OBOS Ligaen is incredibly generous. 8 out of 10 Åsane home games have contained at least three goals and I sense this will be an offensive type of match where both teams go for it. This sort of price can’t be missed and offers a lot of value.
KFUM Oslo v Sandnes
The obvious bet for every KFUM Oslo fixture is either over 2.5 goals or both teams to score. An incredible 17 out of 20 of their league games have contained at least three goals. They have only kept three clean sheets all season but also only failed to score in a match on one solitary occasion. Last week they claimed an important 3-2 victory at home to promotion rivals Sandnes. They are certainly in the hunt for the second automatic promotion spot and from this stage it is likely they will at worst finish in the playoffs. KFUM have strong attacking metrics and have the 3rd best xG in the league of any team (1.97 per 90 mins). They have several players throughout the whole squad who chip in with goals and aren’t reliant on one main individual to find the back of the net. As a collective, this team is dangerous and also very good at exploiting set pieces. Their home record is mixed this year with 4 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats. It is understandable they are odds-on favourites facing an out of form Fredrikstad though.
The visitors continued to underachieve but did at least rescue a point at home to Ranheim last week (1-1). They scored very late to perhaps save the job of manager Björn Johansen who has been under continual pressure recently. Fredrikstad are on 22 points and comfortably clear of any relegation trouble, but it has been a misfiring campaign where expectations were a lot greater. Fans were hoping to finish in the playoffs again but a really poor run of just 2 wins in their last 14 games has totally stalled their campaign. Fredrikstad have the fifth best xG in the OBOS Ligaen with 36.50 but at the other end the heart of their problems have been in defence. They have conceded 32 goals and it could have been worse considering their overall xGA is 36.60. FFK do not appear to be in good form, and I would favour KFUM Oslo to win this match if I had to pick a side.
With KFUM Oslo matches though the best thing to do is to keep things simple and just back over 2.5 goals. I prefer that to taking both teams to score here because Fredrikstad appear unreliable and might get beaten to nil. There is still a good chance that FFK can also contribute towards this bet though as their offensive statistics show. It is likely to be quite an offensive game of football and contain at least three goals.
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