Brann vs Ranheim
The top two teams in the OBOS Ligaen heading into the round meet in Bergen but Brann are the clear favourites to prevail. This absolute juggernaut of an express train have won a massive 18 out of 21 matches this season and remain unbeaten. The big question now is whether they can complete an ‘invincible’ campaign because promotion and winning the league is all but assured. Brann only need another 9 points to be mathematically assured of lifting the OBOS Ligaen crown, something they should manage with considerable ease. There have been no signs of them letting up recently and recent victories vs Raufoss 3-0 and Sogndal 4-0 have been regulation and routine. This club is simply far too strong for this level of football. More than half their team is of Eliteserien quality, and this squad would probably be comfortably midtable in Norway’s top tier. Mathias Rasmussen and Bård Finne continue to get all of the goalscoring plaudits, but this is a great team overall which has no weakness.
Ranheim travel here very much in the conversation to finish in the second automatic promotion spot. As many as four or five teams can realistically harbour hopes of finishing second, although Ranheim have dropped some points in recent weeks and are showing some slight signs of stuttering. They were a big favourite to beat Bryne at home in the previous round but actually needed a very late goal to rescue a 1-1 draw. The team from Trondheim have only won 1 of their last 5 away games and that is part of the reason why they are such a big underdog here. Ranheim have the 8th best xG in the league (34.86) and they have managed to overachieve that metric slightly by netting 38 times. At the other end of the field, they have the 3rd best xGA but at an average of 1.50 per match that does not necessarily represent a solid defence. This is such a high scoring league that only Brann can really be relied upon to keep things tighter at the back.
Brann are as short as 1.10 to win this game and obviously that sort of price represents no value. I think it is best to investigate the goals market and over 3.5 stands out as a decent bet. Brann can cover that line on their own. The reverse fixture earlier this season ended in a 4-0 Brann victory and something similar is to be expected again. Ranheim have goals in them as well though and could maybe contribute towards this total. Only three times this season have they failed to find the back of the net and Brann are due a match where a team scores against them again. Odds of 1.83 look generous for over 3.5 when you consider the two teams who are featuring.
Mjøndalen vs Sandnes
The big story last week in the OBOS Ligaen was the sacking of Mjøndalen manager Vegard Hansen who had been in charge for nearly 17 years! It was an emotional exit for Hansen, but Mjøndalen had endured such a poor run of results that even he agreed with the decision to fire him. Things did not change for the better without him though and MIF lost 1-3 away to Åsane. They have now lost five consecutive games and have slid down to 10th place. Their playoff hopes are hanging in the balance, and they absolutely must start picking up points again to come back into the reckoning for the top six. Mjøndalen have been involved in five consecutive over 2.5 goal matches and have struggled to defend very well. Their own goalscoring metrics have been really poor and their xG average per game of just 1.08 is the worst of any team in the league. A lot of that was down to the previous manager though and probably one of the main reasons why he was sacked. Kevin Nicol, who was the assistant manager under Vegard Hansen has been given the job until the end of the season.
The visitors Sandnes are in strange form. Their last six matches have contained two 6-0 wins but also two 0-0 draws. It is worth noting that both of the 0-0s came at home vs lower ranked teams who simply parked the bus and restricted them. The onus is more on Mjøndalen to come out and play here with a new manager trying to impress and get his first victory. That should suit Sandnes and give them more space in behind. Sandnes have the fourth best away record in the OBOS Ligaen and are probably better suited to road football anyway, winning 6 out of 10 times on their travels. They are situated in 5th place overall but only two points adrift of the second automatic promotion spot, so definitely have everything to play for. The loss of defenders Fredrik Palerud to Sandefjord and Stale Saethre to HJK Helsinki could definitely weaken their defence and they will likely be looking to reinforce before the end of the transfer window.
I think all things are pointing towards quite an offensive match and both teams to score looks like a great bet. Mjøndalen simply must attack and impress their own fans after such a poor run of results, whilst Sandnes need to push for a victory themselves. Over 2.5 goals could also be considered here but just in case of a 1-1 draw then I think BTTS is the smarter option. Sandnes have kept four clean sheets in their last six matches but if you pick the right moment with this team then they get involved in some shootout type of fixtures. I think this will be one of those occasions.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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