We have a Scandanavian focus for us this Saturday, with 10 games across 6 leagues being brough to us from our League Scouts, who have pulled together some of the best betting tips across world football. As well as the European fixtures, we have a return to league action in the Bolivian Primera Division as Atletico Palmaflor look favourites to keep out an up-and-down Real side.
We have you covered with the best bets today for leagues across the continent, and to take advantage of these you can sign up to Betfair via the offer below. Sign up to Betfair, deposit £5 on any game and get £20 in free bets:
Atletico Palmaflor v Real Santa Cruz
Palmaflor and Real Santa Cruz open the return to league action after a couple of weeks rest, during which Palmaflor did face Aurora last weekend in the League Cup. The much-publicised move to the Tropics has not given the club the immediate success expected, with one win and two draws in the last ten games. This shortfall has been compounded by the lack of goals, barely three in that period. If there is one cause for hope it is that their defence has tightened up, they have kept clean sheets in the last two games.
Real, having started the season off with four draws in their first five, have since gone 10 games of mixed fortunes, with five wins and five defeats. They are, by their standards, having a successful season and are currently sitting sixth. This is based on a solid home record with six wins and two draws (no defeats) to their name. They seem to be intent and set on qualifying for an international cup, quite a feat for a side that has only played internationally once and who recently returned to the first division after a 15-year absence. Expect a closely fought game, but with Palmaflor’s tight defence, they should come out on top.
HJK v Lahti
The annual HJK pre-Europe wobble was in full swing last week against Honka, a shaky performance requiring an injury-time penalty from Bojan Radulovic to secure a point. With a Champions League qualifier at home to Larne on Wednesday, Klubi can little afford to drop points here despite being overwhelming favourites. The experienced Joona Toivio is still suspended but the injury list is improving and there are likely to be further signings arriving. Lucas Lingman is back in the side after a frustrating lay-off, his performances over recent seasons have shown a real guile in midfield that saw international caps – he should have plenty of opportunities to provide assists and dangerous dead balls this weekend against a porous defence.
Against KuPS last weekend, Lahti did incredibly well in scoring three goals, with returning hero Matheus Alves bagging a brace. Unfortunately for them, they conceded four goals and lost the match and slipped to eleventh and only a point off the bottom. Another pain for them is the suspension of their own Mikko Kuningas, almost an ever-present since returning from the USA. One feels that Lahti will get at least a couple of really good chances in this fixture and HJK aren’t the force they can be. They conceded so many chances in their last fixture and form suggests they’ll probably accrue a few more bookings in the process.
The two sides met a month ago in the return fixture and Lahti actually took an early lead – but even a tepid HJK should still get back into the goals and winning form on Saturday.
GIF Sundsvall v Vasteras
GIF Sundsvall would have expected to challenge for automatic promotion this season, especially as one of the sides that fell out of the Superettan. They began the season impressively with back-to-back victories, but they have since drifted down and now sit firmly in the middle of the table.
Brian Clarhaut’s side went into the mid-summer break on the back of back-to-back defeats as they drift into the bottom half of the table. Their inconsistency and general underperformance is underpinned by poor defensive numbers. The 22 goals that they have conceded so far this season is the second most in the league with only bottom-of-the-table Skovde conceding more often.
In 12 matches, Vasteras have collected 24 points and are the closest challengers to current runaway league leaders, Utsiktens, at the top-of-the-table. Their final match before the mid-summer break was a 4-0 hammering of rock-bottom Skovde.
The visitors have been exceptional defensively with just, remarkably, eight goals conceded. Alongside newly promoted GAIS, that is the best record in the division. That form on the field is reflected by their underlying data, too, where they have performed well.
Ahead of the season, GIF Sundsvall would have expected to be the stronger of these two sides and challenging for automatic promotion, but it is in fact the other way around. Given that, there is still value to be found in backing the visitors.
AIK v BK Häcken
AIK have, somewhat surprisingly, decided to sack manager Andreas Brännström, in the days following their first league victory in 10 games. The sacking itself is not a big shock, but the timing makes little sense, with the summer break having just passed. It can partially be explained by the sudden appointment of his replacement, Henning Berg, but this sort of lack of planning and rash decision-making has marred the club for years.
On the pitch, they looked fairly solid in their return to action, beating Brommapojkarna 2-0 away from home. While Brommapojkarna should have scored at least one goal, AIK can be happy enough with their performance. With new management comes a new approach though, leaving the cautious nature of Brännström’s 3-5-2 for what is expected to be a more forward-leaning system. At his last two clubs, he has preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation, and that could be an option with this squad too. Two signings have already been announced – Dino Besirovic and Mads Tychosen – and should compete for starting spots right away.
Häcken struggled somewhat in their return to action last weekend, losing steam as the game went on and conceding too easily against a resilient Norrköping side. Häcken, who finally have the Gustafson twins both healthy, were the better side but looked too susceptible to get countered. Despite this, they should have won, and always pack a punch in attack. Tobias Sana being back after missing the whole season to date could not be timelier, with the creative Lars Olden Larsen having departed this summer. Sana is getting older but should still be able to provide them with enough creative spark in the second half of the campaign. Nonetheless, they will be looking to reinforce the squad in the coming weeks with a UCL qualifying campaign looming.
With AIK’s new manager looking to make a good first impression, and Häcken both scoring and conceding freely, goals are to be expected here.
Ranheim v Sandnes
Both teams have been disappointing this season compared to what was expected. Promotion or at least playoff aspirations were what fans were counting on but certainly in the case of Sandnes that looks increasingly unlikely. The team from southwest Norway are only one point clear of the relegation zone and are averaging just one point per game this year which is well below par. Sandnes are a fully professional club and this sort of league position at the midway point of the season is far from acceptable. They’ve only won twice since the opening match of the season and most recently have conceded a glutton of goals; 12 in their last four games which has constantly held them back. Their average xGA of 1.46 shows that they have legitimate problems at the back.
Ranheim have an even worse xGA per 90 mins (1.51) and only bottom of the table Skeid have conceded more goals than them this season. The team from Trondheim have 20 points but have dropped off form in recent weeks. RIL have lost 5 of their last 7 games and the most recent defeat was a 0-4 drubbing away to Fredrikstad last week. They were 0-3 down by half time and the game was over as a contest quite early. Ranheim have only kept three clean sheets all season and their backline is resembling a leaky sieve right now. Experienced manager Kare Ingebrigtsen was a big name hire in January but for the first time is starting to come under some pressure.
Sandnes boss Bjarne Berntsen will also be feeling the heat and both teams really need a win here. The obvious bet is to take over 2.5 goals considering how poorly each defence has been performing of late. The last five consecutive fixtures for both teams have all contained at least three goals. Over 2.5 is priced at 1.44 but it looks like one of the safest picks of the round. Both teams will have to score themselves out of trouble because they cannot be relied upon to keep things tight.
Raufoss v Kristiansund
Kristiansund are only third in the OBOS Ligaen table but there is a case to be made that they are the best team in the division. Come the end of the campaign it would be a surprise if they didn’t finish in the top two automatic promotion spots. Kristiansund have an average xG of 1.78 per 90 mins which is significantly clear of anyone else. They pack some serious firepower led by top scorer Benjamin Stokke. The only real problem for KBK this season has been at the other end of the field where they’ve conceded 19 goals and only kept two clean sheets all season. One of those did come last week when they comfortably beat Hodd 4-0, and the signs are that Kristiansund might soon kick on to dominate this league.
KBK are 2.15 favourites to beat Raufoss away and this looks like an excellent price due to the potential gulf in class between the two teams. Raufoss are inside the relegation zone and got heavily beaten 1-4 away to Bryne last week. That was always a tough spot for them on the back of an energy-sapping Norwegian Cup tie, but their overall form of 5 defeats in their last 7 games is very worrying. Raufoss are the lowest scoring team in the OBOS Ligaen, netting just 12 goals in 14 games. This is an unusually low mark in a league known for high-scoring teams and matches
Kristiansund are not as reliable on the road and have only won 1 out of 6 away fixtures this season. But looking at the quality in their squad and underlying metrics then they should improve in this department as the season develops. I am of the belief that Kristiansund are the best team in the OBOS so to get odds of 2.15 on them beating a side in the current bottom three looks too big to pass upon.
SJK v Honka
After the SJK juggernaut drifted to a halt at home to Oulu, Joaquin Gomez’s side could only manage a 1-1 draw in a feisty visit to Ilves on Saturday, Jaime Moreno equalising from the spot before a late red card for an off-the-ball elbow. This match is being advertised as a “Tango Saturday” with an Argentine theme, although it’s likely there’ll be plenty of dancing on the pitch. This will be the final appearance in Finland (for now) of goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri as his loan from Arsenal ends, but the exciting wing-back Terry Yegbe returns from U23 international duty, his long throws and driving runs have been sorely missed. Without Moreno (banned), there will be less penalty box panic but it’s a fast and young side with a lot of direct running se expect plenty of attacking play.
Honka were unfortunate in conceding late to HJK last weekend, but the recovery after their bad start continues. Roman Eremenko’s composed lay-off set up their goal on Saturday, his experience proving vital to a rebuilding side. They won their midweek cup quarter-final at SalPa, aided by a comedy own goal and two from the inconsistent striker Juan Alegria – who impressed sufficiently to sign for Glasgow Rangers but didn’t get anywhere near the first XI before coming back to Finland. Edmund Arko-Mensah also returns after the U23 AFCON and while on the opposite flank to Yegbe, is one to watch as well. Luis Ortiz will be missed in midfield with a suspension, but Eremenko will be pulling those strings and taking plenty of long shots. This in mind, both teams looks like a strong option for this fixture.
KuPS v VPS
After such a strong run under Honkavaara, it has been a choppy week for KuPS with a haphazard 4-3 win over Lahti sandwiched between defeats. It was a fairly strong KuPS XI and there will be few changes against VPS. Urho Nissila’s future is still unclear, his contract expires this month and talks on an extension are ongoing. While their European opponents are still to be determined, this will present a challenge of a different kind. A month ago, this would have been a routine win against the bottom team. But still, without an out-and-out striker, this will be a good test of the Nissila-inspired attack.
One of the surprise results of the season last weekend saw VPS beat Inter in a very comfortable 3-0, with well-taken goals and making it look easy. Yet they remain bottom of the table with the fewest goals scored to boot. The return fixture four weeks ago saw KuPS stroll to a 0-2 victory, it’s hard to see what has changed. The 18-year-old winger Roni Hudd is the key, providing two assists last week and attracting interest from clubs in Germany.
VPS will need to get an early goal here (one of their few positives in 2023 is they can do fast starts) to have any chance, but it’s unlikely they’ll get much here. KuPS to win here is the best bet.
Gefle v AFC Eskilstuna
After the mid-summer break which has lasted around three weeks, both of these sides will be hoping and expecting to improve upon their results in the first half of the season.
Following promotion last season, Gefle will be content with their start as they sit outside of the bottom four and the relegation places. Under the management of Mikael Bengtsson, though, they have been inconsistent throughout the season with six defeats and four victories in their 12 matches so far. The hosts’ most recent Superettan outing was a much needed, but very surprising, 3-2 win against an Osters side that will be aiming for promotion to the top-flight. That victory ended a three-match losing streak.
AFC Eskilstuna began the 2022 season with four successive victories before quickly fading into mid-table mediocrity and, without those four wins, may well have found themselves in trouble at points. The visitors come into this on the back of a 1-0 loss at home to a Helsingborg side that, despite only just being relegated from the top-flight last season, have badly struggled at the start of this year. That loss extended their winless streak to five matches, and they have failed to score in four of those matches.
A theme that these two sides have shared, again to two different extents, is a lack of scoring expertise. With both sides sitting in the bottom five of the table, they have combined for just 22 goals, and a low-scoring encounter appears extremely likely for this one.
Viking v Haugesund
This match is a Rogaland derby between two local rivals on the west coast of Norway. Both enjoy beating the other and the most famous encounter in recent years was the 2019 Norwegian Cup final which Viking edged 1-0. Their fixtures last season were wild encounters with Viking winning this match 5-1 and Haugesund getting revenge in the other game 4-2. Passions run high and the atmosphere can get electric when these two teams meet, often leading to frantic end to end type encounters. Haugesund have done well to win 3 of their last 4 games to climb into the safety of midtable. They still have some horrible metrics though with the worst average xG of any team (0.87) and a terrible 1.75 xGA per 90 mins.
Viking have been one of the pleasant surprises of this Eliteserien season. After they tailed off so badly in the 2022 campaign nobody really knew what to expect from them and the pressure was on their head coach duo. They have been one of the most exciting teams to watch and scored the second most goals in the division (28) from just 12 games. Viking signed the attacking duo of Nick D’Agostino and Lars Jorgen Salvesen and there has been a clear hunger and competition for places in the squad. In captain Zlatko Tripic they have one of the best technical players in the league, whilst Sander Svendsen has also managed to chip in this year. They don’t rely on one player to score goals and the whole team provides as a unit.
Over 2.5 goals stands out like a sore thumb here. The last seven Viking matches have all contained at least three goals with their last 10 straight fixtures all being BTTS yes. Viking could cover this goal line all on their own. As mentioned, Haugesund have an appalling xGA and have only managed to keep things respectable due to their goalkeeper Egil Selvik. His form has been so good that he earned a spot in the recent Norway squad. Haugesund have a knack of nicking goals so could contribute as well. All things are leading towards a high scoring match so over 2.5 goals at 1.44 is definitely worth snapping up.
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