In the exploration of the best bets today, we have games across multiple continents for you. Whilst the Premier League is nearly awakening from its summer slumber, European football is still alive and well.
In Scandinavia, we have found the best bets in the Swedish Superettan, Norwegian Eliteserien and the Finnish Veikkausliiga whilst across the water there is both the League of Ireland First Division and Premier Division with the Scottish League Cup commencing as well. If that is not enough to quench your thirst for football, don’t worry. We also have best bets gems to be found in the Bolivian and Paraguayan Primera Divisións.
Our League Scouts have been hard at work in the diamond mines to find the most precious jewels of betting tips for all the football being played throughout the world on Saturday.
Saturday’s League Scout Football Best Bets
J-Sodra v GIF Sundsvall
After 13 matches of the 2023 Superettan season, which has just returned from the mid-summer break, these have been two of the most entertaining sides in the league and the neutral could well be in for a treat this weekend.
Jonkopings Sodra finished the 2022 campaign just outside of the bottom four and the relegation playoff places, sitting a point and a place above OIS in the relegation playoffs. With 51 goals conceded, the second most in the division, the issues were clear.
Those defensive issues haven’t necessarily gone away, despite now, remarkably, sitting at the opposite end of the Superettan table in fourth place. They are three points off GAIS in the promotion playoff places. With 21 goals conceded so far, only three teams have conceded more than them. Their 13 matches this season have consisted of 48 goals, under the management of Andres Garcia, who was appointed at the start of this year.
Following relegation from the top-flight last season, GIF Sundsvall began the campaign how they were expected to continue: dominant. They won their opening two matches against seemingly stiff opposition but have since drifted into mid-table mediocrity.
The visitors come into this on the back of a 3-1 defeat at home to title challenging Vasteras in their most recent outing, last weekend. They have now suffered three successive defeats on either side of the mid-summer break and actually sit just outside of the bottom four and the relegation playoff places ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures.
This one is expected to be an entertaining encounter, regardless of who does prevail. Whilst J-Sodra are favourites, especially with their home advantage, backing goals looks the way to go for this one.
Ilves v IFK Mariehamn
A fairly mediocre season for Ilves so far took a huge turn for the worse on Thursday when the club announced the departure of captain and top scorer Petteri Pennanen. At 32, securing a fee (from India) is great business but perhaps the most one-man team in the league has lost that one man and even the top half of the table looks like a challenge.
The next top scorer has two goals (Adam Larsson) and keeping any positive momentum going from their cup run will be crucial. No wins in six isn’t great and now the teams below them have started picking up points. Defender Mohamed Umar misses this game through suspension. With the transfer window now open, it’s a vital period as their new stadium inches closer to completion.
Mariehamn has dropped to the bottom of the table, despite their recent win at KuPS and is also in desperate need of a goalscorer. The much-hyped signing of Abdulfattah Asiri failed and selling a free transfer for six figures is great but attracting a goalscorer is hard.
Striker De is banned after two yellows in three minutes last week in the loss to AC Oulu, where again scoring first merely woke up their opponents and they lost 1-2. They have the worst disciplinary record in the division and unless they can keep their heads, they’re in serious danger of dropping out of the league for the first time in over a decade. The fairytale title win in 2016 feels like a long time ago.
OIS v Helsingborg
Despite both sides languishing down at the bottom end of the Superettan table, these two sides will come into this one in very different moods on the back of very different recent runs of form.
Orgryte IS come into this on the back of a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Brage in their most recent outing, at the weekend, on their return from the mid-summer break. That was their third successive defeat in the league as they languish in the bottom half of the table.
They only avoided dropping into the third tier in 2022 after the end of season relegation playoffs in which they managed a two-legged victory over Sandviken, despite losing the home leg of that tie. Another nervy and tense season is in store for the hosts.
After being relegated from the top-flight last season, Helsingborg would have expected to mount a serious and more sustained challenge for promotion this season, rather than languishing down in the bottom half and the relegation places as they currently do.
After being appointed as Technical Director in the off-season, Stuart Baxter eventually became manager after just a few weeks of the campaign and performances have improved with results beginning to show progress, too. Back-to-back 1-0 victories either side of the mid-summer break, against Ostersund and AFC Eskilstuna mean they come into this on the back of a five-match unbeaten run of form but do remain inside the bottom four and the relegation playoff places, a point below OIS in the table.
The fact that Helsingborg has started so badly, and does remain down towards the bottom, means there is value in backing them in this encounter. They are a big club that would expect to challenge for promotion playing against an out-of-form side that is set for back-to-back seasons of relegation battling.
Vasteras v Utsiktens
As we approach the halfway stage of the 2023 Superettan season, these two sides are sitting in first and second in the Swedish second-tier with both teams coming into this on the back of impressive form on both sides of the mid-summer break.
Vasteras finished the 2022 campaign firmly in the middle of the table with ten victories, ten draws and ten defeats in their 30 matches. They finished with three successive wins, though, and have continued that good form into the 2023 season, under the management of Kalle Karlsson.
Their captain, Simon Johansson, had earned a lot of plaudits for exceptional performances throughout this season. He has four goals and four assists in 12 starts from out wide on the right.
They come into this on the back of an impressive 3-1 defeat of GIF Sundsvall last weekend and are now unbeaten in their last four matches. They begin this weekend’s round of fixtures sitting second in the table, five points off the top spot, which is occupied by Utsiktens.
After finishing in the bottom half of the Superettan last season, Utsiktens have surprised many with their dominant performances and results in the 2023 campaign. They sit comfortably at the top of the table with just one defeat in their opening 13 matches, scoring 27 goals, which is the most in the league, and conceding just nine.
Their 3-0 demolition of Trelleborg last weekend, following the break, was their seventh successive Superettan victory and they are in danger of pulling away from the pack, especially if they can win here as they will extend their points gap at the top to eight points.
Given that Vasteras will be keen to not, as mentioned, let Utsiktens stretch their lead at the top to eight points, they might be inclined to be relatively negative. The two teams have conceded just 18 goals between them and a tense, nervy, low-scoring encounter is to be expected.
VPS v AC Oulu
After spending most of the year looking destined for an impotent relegation, something has clicked with VPS as they put together a run of three wins in three, six goals and none conceded, beating Inter twice and away to KuPS.
Young winger Roni Hudd has been a revelation, a fine goal in midweek reminding everyone of his potential and also what VPS will lose when he moves abroad. If he remains until the end of the season; then they could just do enough to escape the real peril before the league splits. But they will play this game without the suspended midfielder Evgeniy Bashkirov – the Russian’s signing was controversial but he has almost played as two players, hustling and chasing everything.
Oulu’s amazing transformation continues, after last week’s win in Mariehamn they are now just 4 points off the top with a game in hand. Free-scoring and fearless, they will absolutely fancy winning here and making it a four-horse race for the title.
Rasmus Karjalainen is in the goalscoring form that won him a move to Holland as a youngster while Otso Liimatta, 19 this week, seemingly cannot put a foot wrong. As always, the defence is the issue, with only the bottom two sides conceding more goals. But it’s an exciting ride and there is a dream in the north that this could be a return to the glory days of Oulu football in the early 1980s. Coach Ricardo Duarte describes his side as “collective dynamism” which is very apt indeed.
Airdrieonians v Dumbarton
Airdrie finished last season in spectacular form and have shown little relent in their pre-season friendlies, which have been marked by big victories in the three matches they have played to date. Most notable amongst these successes was a 4-0 win over Motherwell at home, and while that was against a young opponent, this is a team that is ready to go.
Certainly, the strong home form was a bedrock of their promotion last season, with 10 wins coming from 18 home matches, in which the Diamonds tallied an astonishing 50 goals. This form continued into the playoffs, with victories over Falkirk (6-2) and Hamilton (1-0) at home.
Dumbarton, meanwhile, are in a rut. The Sons feel like they threw away the League Two title last season and then crumbled in the playoffs, leaving manager Stevie Farrell clinging on to his job.
Over the summer, they have failed to address their issues in attack, where they constantly failed last season. Although they retained a strong defensive corps, despite losing key figure Gregor Buchanan to Stenhousemuir, they will find themselves up against a very powerful attacking unit on Saturday and will have to put a new-look rearguard up to the test against an offensive line far more powerful than they are used to dealing with.
Dumbarton struggled in the League Cup last season, and it would be a significant upset if they were to even draw against a very dangerous Airdrie team.
Forfar v Cowdenbeath
Forfar narrowly missed out on the League Two promotion playoffs last season and will be seeking to go better this time around. Ray McKinnon’s side enjoyed a good pre-season campaign, which saw them pick up a couple of victories in their three friendly matches, with their most recent success coming against an accomplished League One opponent in the form of Montrose.
While there may be fears that the Loons might struggle to score goals this season, these have not been evident in their summer matches, with 11 goals arriving in their three fixtures. Incidentally, they have only conceded two goals in these encounters
They forged a reputation as a strong home team late in 2022/23, winning five of their last eight home matches, picking up two draws and losing only once.
Cowdenbeath, meanwhile, are in a rebuilding process after relegation from the SPFL and struggled badly in the Lowland League last season, finishing 15th of 19. Although their squad does appear to have been strengthened in the summer, there is a significant deficit in the quality of the two sides, and that should be evident in this encounter. Indeed, Blue Brazil are only in this competition on an invitational basis which has not been made clear by the SPFL.
Last season, the three non-league sides picked up just a single point between them, losing 11 of 12 matches outright and the other on penalties. Cowden was among this number, suffering defeats in all four matches, failing to score a goal and conceding 11. They are unlikely to be much more competitive.
Kilmarnock v Annan
Kilmarnock achieved survival in the Premiership last season based on their home record. In 19 home matches, they picked up an impressive nine wins, suffering only five defeats – three of which came against Rangers and Celtic – in the process.
Killie also made good progress in the League Cup, in which they reached the semi-finals, showing that they are a club that knows how to make a good start to the season. Certainly, they beat their lower league rivals in the group stage of that competition without any concerns. Highland League Fraserburgh, League One outfit Montrose and League Two’s Stenhousemuir were all beaten by at least two goals.
Certainly, the home side should have too much for an opponent that finished fourth in League Two last season but won promotion through the playoffs. Since then, Annan has not strengthened, with the arrival of Josh Dixon from Carlisle United their only signing. Conversely, five players have left the club, leaving Peter Murphy’s side short of numbers.
They did show some early season form in the League Cup last season by battling through a group that contained Premiership side St Johnstone – against whom they picked up a shock win on penalties away from home – but overall they struggled on their travels last year and their lack of quality will surely tell against superior opposition who are more than comfortable playing at home.
The only previous meeting between these clubs was a League Cup group stage match in 2017, which was won 2-0 by Kilmarnock away from home. A similarly comfortable success should be anticipated here.
Valerenga vs Molde
The big sensation in Norwegian football this week has been the new managerial hire at Vålerenga. They sacked Dag Eilev Fagermo a few weeks ago after a poor run of results and ‘Enga are situated only just outside of the relegation zone.
The Oslo-based club have now sensationally appointed Geir Bakke as their new head coach, who moves directly from their arch-rivals Lillestrøm! This was shocking and unexpected. It is perhaps the equivalent of moving from Celtic to Rangers or Arsenal to Tottenham and an incredible decision from Bakke to switch to Vålerenga.
He is a very good manager though and should improve things here. Already, Vålerenga have been given a boost by coming from 0-2 down to beat Brann in the Norwegian Cup on Wednesday evening. They are in the semi-finals of that competition now.
Goals look likely to flow in this game. Molde travel here on the cusp of some very good form and you just sense they could explode any time soon. Last week they battered Brann 2-0 at home and could have easily scored 4 or 5 goals on another day such were the sheer number of chances they created. They continued their good form in the midweek Norwegian Cup seeing off Sarpsborg 3-1.
Molde averages 2.07 goals per match and can back it up with a strong xG of 1.83. Despite having some of the better defensive metrics in the division, Molde have only kept 5 out of 14 clean sheets in the league and just one of those was away from home.
Molde are the favourites to win this match but taking over 2.5 goals is my preference. 9 of their 14 league games have contained at least three goals and this matchup should generate plenty of chances. Geir has already beaten Molde 2-1 twice in his last three meetings against them whilst in charge of Lillestrøm.
Both teams have scored in 8 of the last 9 contests when Vålerenga have faced Molde, and this will be a match in which both teams give everything to win. Over 2.5 goals at 1.53 looks like a perfectly acceptable price.
Longford Town v Kerry FC
Having been forced to assemble an entirely new squad under a new manager, Longford Town endured an incredibly difficult start to the season as many expected. With many of the few senior players Stephen Henderson did have in his squad injured for large parts of the first half of the season, Longford’s hopes of finishing in the play-off places looked dead and buried quite early in the campaign.
However, the return of some wiser heads in recent weeks combined with some very shrewd signings has breathed new life into the Town’s season.
Manager Stephen Henderson deserves credit for making the best out of the limited chips he had to play with earlier in the season with Longford boasting the fourth best defensive record in the league despite currently sitting third from bottom.
Scoring goals has been the issue but the arrival of Benion O’Brien Whitmarsh and the return of Jordan Adeyemo has given the Midlanders a very threatening look in the final third. With Whitmarsh, who’s brother is reportedly being looked at by a number of top English Premier League clubs (currently at Cork City), netting 5 goals in his first 6 matches for the club.
Adeyemo won a penalty during last week’s thrilling 2-2 draw away to Waterford with Whitmarsh converting from the spot. Adeyemo scored 9 goals in 14 matches to fire Longford into the play-offs last season before a move to Wexford where he failed to make an impact hence the move back to Bishopsgate in recent weeks.
Longford Town have won both of their games against Kerry this season (2-0, 2-3) and now that Stephen Henderson has the players to play a more expansive game this looks an ideal opportunity to encourage such playing style and try to blow the opposition away as opposed to just trying to stay in games as they had to do so often earlier in the season.
Kerry FC are officially the worst team in the entire country as they sit bottom of the second tier with just 1 win from 22 games (18 losses) whilst they also hold the record for the most goals conceded in both divisions this season (61).
Sligo Rovers v Cork City
This is a difficult game to predict the outcome of, as both sides have been very inconsistent this season. Cork beat Sligo in Turners Cross, while the sides played out a 2-2 draw in the Showgrounds in March. Despite their lack of consistency there’s usually plenty of goals in their games and we expect that to continue.
Cork have been playing more of a swashbuckling style of late, with Ruairí Keating, Tunde Owolabe, and Joseph O’Brien Whitmarsh part of an attacking trio.
Sligo’s form has also improved. After a good home win over Bohemians, they were unfortunate to lose late on in the Brandywell, going down to an injury time penalty. They’ve added to their attacking options this week with the addition of Portuguese striker Pedro Martelo.
He has been named in the squad for the game, pending international clearance. If he plays, and links up well with New Zealander Max Mata, Sligo could take all three points and put some pressure on Cork’s manager Liam Buckley.
One thing’s for certain, both these sides need to start getting results quickly, or they could end up in that dreaded relegation play-off spot come the end of the season.
Libertad Gran Mamore v Always Ready
Always Ready aim to continue their slow but steady climb up the table in Trinidad, a town where they have never played before, against a Libertad Gran Mamore side which after a reasonable start to the season finds itself slipping into the relegation mire (they are currently one point ahead of bottom team Blooming).
While Always have won seven of their last nine games, Mamore have failed to win in their last five, although to be fair they did manage three straight wins before that. More telling is their goal tally of 2-10, compared to that of Always which reads 8-8 for the same period.
In their midweek League Cup games the performance of these teams mirrored their recent league fortune, Always were comfortable winners against a gritty Vaca Diez side, while Libertad Gran Mamore got off lightly in a 4-0 defeat away to big-guns Bolivar.
Vital for Always is the presence of striker Romero who has scored 13 all season, although tellingly only one in the last six, while top scorer Mendoza for Libertad has scored seven all season but none in the last four.
Expect Always to do enough for a win in this game and to keep their challenge on the leaders to continue unabated.
Resistencia v Olimpia
Relegation threatened Resistencia begin Week 2 against another winless side after the opening day, Olimpia, the game will be played in Ciudad del Este. For the Triangulo Rojo they will be looking to pick up their first win since May while Diego Aguirre’s side want to shake off the surprise defeat to Tacuary.
Resistencia gave up plenty of chances in the opening game and will have been happy to have rescued a point via the penalty spot. Milton Maciel is suspended for this match following his red card but the other new signings such as William Candia and Jorge Moreira are expected to continue.
El Decano had been on a great run until their bubble was burst at home to Tacuary in a game where they suffered defensively against the physical presence of Jorge Ortega.
One notable absentee was Brian Montenegro, out injured, who might return for this match. Club captain Richard Ortiz only appeared from the bench as has been his role recently, but there will be a temptation for him to start and lead the side from the off.
Historically Olimpia have won, and won comfortably, in this fixture – in fact these teams met on the final day of the Apertura season which saw the three time Copa Libertadores champions cruise to a 4-1 victory. That followed a 3-0 win and there have been two 6-1 triumphs in the last five meetings.
Sportivo Ameliano v Cerro Porteño
Sportivo Ameliano have a wonderful opportunity to beat Cerro Porteño for the first time in their history with the Barrio Obrero club in crisis following their opening day defeat to Guaireña. Ameliano lost their opening game to Trinidense and have just one win in six matches. However, Cerro have tasted victory just once in 10 matches.
Humberto Garcia was disappointed at his side who went into the break 2-1 up only to lose 3-2 as they couldn’t cope with their opponent’s tactical shift at halftime. Defender Franco Ortellado also managed to get himself sent off in stoppage time for a silly second yellow card. The positive news is that Elvio Vera continues to impress while Silvio Torales registered his first goal for the club from midfield.
Cerro Porteño’s board were so disgusted with the 3-1 home defeat to Guaireña that they have relieved Facundo Sava of his duties and put several players on the transfer list. The lack of spirit but also defensive frailties have been the major cause for concern at the club. Fans invaded the pitch last week and despite the game being played in Encarnación we can expect a hostile atmosphere.
Four of the six meetings have seen BTTS land, including the last three with Cerro winning 2-1 twice and a 1-1 draw in that period. Given Cerro’s struggling defence and the fact this game is at a neutral venue where Ameliano have fared well before (they won the 2022 Copa Paraguay and 2023 Super Cup in Encarnación) it is a good value bet.
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Written by an Andy verified content writer
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