Bodø/Glimt v Viking
Bodø/Glimt’s European adventure will be continuing in the new year after they finished 3rd in their Europa League group. They lost 1-2 at home to PSV Eindhoven on Thursday and only managed to obtain four points in their six games. However, they finished ahead of FC Zurich and now drop down to the Conference League, of which they made the quarter finals last season. It has been a hectic period for Glimt since the middle of the summer and they have at times, struggled to juggle both European and domestic matches. Last week’s 2-3 defeat vs Rosenborg was their sixth loss of the season in the Eliteserien and had all the hallmarks of a tired performance after travelling to Switzerland just a few days before. This week, things shouldn’t be too bad for Glimt because they were at home and even rested some players such as Amahl Pellegrino, the top scorer in the league. Kjetil Knutsen’s men have been disappointing at home this season, only with the current 5th best home record in the league. They have drawn too many matches at Aspmyra Stadion, but only lost once and that was to the champions Molde. Bodø/Glimt’s 77 goals scored is by far the most of any team in the division. Their average xG per 90 mins is an impressive 2.32 and their attack force has looked especially strong in the second half of the season.
Viking have been in terrible form in the entire second half of the season. They have only won 3 of their last 20 Eliteserien matches, which to be brutally honest is relegation type-form. They are just fortunate that the first ten matches were strong, otherwise they would be in major trouble. There is a chance that Viking could finish as low as 13th in the table, and it is difficult to see them obtain anything here. Bodø/Glimt are 1.25 favourites to win which seems perfectly fair. Viking have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 13 matches and conceded at least two goals in ten of those games. They have had major issues at the back but also problems in attack where the departure of key man Veton Berisha to Hammarby in the summer was a massive blow. Viking haven’t yet replaced someone of his influence or goals and aren’t helped by the suspension of key attacker Zlatko Tripic for this match either.
I suspect Bodø/Glimt will win the match comfortably. There is definitely a temptation to take the home team on a -1 handicap, but I think a better bet is to take the individual team total over 2.5. Glimt should be able to score at least three goals against this terrible defence and facing a team who appears to have given up this season.
Jerv v Rosenborg
The simple equation is that both teams need to win this match. Jerv will be relegated if they don’t pick up 3 points, whilst it would be a bitter blow for Rosenborg to fail in their quest for second place. Jerv have fought as well as they can this season, but this is not a club or a squad that can realistically compete and operate long term at Eliteserien level. They have lost a massive 19 out of 28 league games this season and conceded a whopping 64 goals. That record simply isn’t good enough but at least Jerv are going down swinging. They have drawn their last couple of matches 2-2, including a come from behind result vs Tromsø last week. They were 0-2 down with only three minutes left to play but managed to equalise with the last kick of the match. Nobody can deny the spirit of the team and they will be giving it a proper go here to claim a famous victory vs Rosenborg. Jerv’s main problem is they have the worst xGA average in the league at 2.31 per 90 mins but it is worth noting they have scored at least one goal in 7 of their last 8 matches.
Rosenborg should travel here in a confident mood after beating rivals Bodø/Glimt 3-2 last week. They came from behind twice to eventually win with an 88th minute Carlo Holse goal. Finishing second in the Eliteserien might give added benefit this season. There is a chance, depending on final UEFA Coefficient, that Norway could get two champions league berths, so Rosenborg will be going all out to try and get above Glimt, who are currently one point ahead. RBKs’ destiny is out of their own hands, but all they can do is keep winning and apply as much pressure as they can. Rosenborg have now scored the third most goals in the Eliteserien (63) and their attack has been massively improved since summer signing Casper Tengstedt arrived. In 12 appearances he has scored 13 goals and also supplied 8 assists, which are phenomenal statistics. Tengstedt and several others should be able to tuck into this poor Jerv defence.
Rosenborg are understandable 1.25 favourites to win the game, but I would not be trusting them away from home where they have only won 3 matches all season. They should be too strong, but Jerv are fighting for their lives and won’t just lie down. I think the best bet for the match is to back over 3.5 goals. I think this will be the type of game which contains a lot of matches and goals. Rosenborg alone could cover this goal line on their own, but I also expect Jerv to contribute. There will be a desperation about both teams here and a draw does not suit anyone. All things point towards a high scoring encounter so I will opt for a value over 3.5 goals pick at even money.
Odd v Strømsgodset
It feels like each team is ending the season in completely contrasting form. Odd have been flying recently, whilst Strømsgodset give off an impression that they just want to be on the beach. There was a period during the summer where Odd looked like they were drifting towards the relegation battle, but they managed to find some form and now lost just 1 of their last 10 games. Paco Johansen’s men have especially been impressive in the last two weeks, beating both Lillestrøm and Vålerenga who are above them in the table. Johansen has a good system working here, and as a collective team Odd are an excellent unit. A young star to keep an eye on is winger Dennis Gjengaar, who has burst onto the scene recently, scoring five goals in eight appearances. He had a good knack of being in the right place and the right time and the 18 year old looks to have a great deal of potential. Odd have a mixed ‘all or nothing;’ home record with 7 wins, 6 defeats and only one draw at the Skagerak Arena this season. They have been in very good recent form at home with 4 out of 5 wins.
Strømsgodset have lost 7 of their last 9 matches and just want to get this season over and done with. They have achieved their objective to survive and have not been anywhere close to their best in recent weeks. They are not a particularly good team anyway, but it really looks like some of the players have started to mail it in and don’t really care. Strømsgodset have had massive away issues for several years now. Nothing has changed this season with the Drammen outfit only winning 2 out of 14 road games and suffering 8 defeats. They just do not travel well and can never be relied upon in away games. Godset are on a run of ten consecutive games without a clean sheet and will basically be relying on their attack force to get anything out of this match.
I strongly fancy Odd to win. They are motivated to finish as high as possible, maybe up to 5th spot and are in great form. Strømsgodset are such a poor away side, even at the best of times and I suspect they will just go through the motions here. Odd to win at a price of 2.0 looks more than generous. Considering the recent form of both teams then I feel they should be around 1.60-70 to prevail, so this looks like tremendous value.
Ham Kam v Tromsø
It was a great result for Ham Kam last week when they beat Sandefjord 2-1 away from home. It was a victory which secured their survival, and everyone associated with the club can now breathe a sigh of relief. Ham Kam have fought very hard this year upon their promotion to the top-flight. It has not been easy, and they’ve drawn a massive 13 out of 28 games. It feels like Ham Kam have grinded their way to survival and they have the most under 2.5 goals games out of any team in the league (14 out of 28). Their fixtures average the lowest number of average goals per game (2.5), and they have one of the best defensive records in the league, conceding just 38 goals. The coaching staff are astute tacticians. Ham Kam are led by Danish manager Jacob Michelsen and his assistant is young Englishman Tom Dent who is tipped to have a big future in the game. The typical Ham Kam set up has been a 5-4-1 or 3-4-3 system which can be difficult to break down when they are in defensive mode. I do wonder if Ham Kam will be as focused here though. They’ve likely been celebrating their survival this week and this game will not matter as much for them now.
For Tromsø, the result certainly means more because they are battling for a top six spot. The team from the Arctic Circle would’ve been furious last week when they blew a 2-0 lead vs Jerv despite leading by a two goal margin with only 3 mins left to play. Jerv equalised with the last kick of the game, and it was a blow for Tromso who are certainly still harbouring top six aspirations. They can still finish on 45 points and will be targeting two wins from their final two games. Tromsø’s away record has been a weird one this season. They’ve only won one road game but drawn 8 times and actually played quite well on many occasions. Their most recent road game resulted in a decent 1-1 at Sarpsborg and prior to that they beat Godset 2-1. The performances are there and to be fair, this has been a very tough team to beat in recent months. Gaute Helstrup’s men have only lost 3 of their last 15 league games and one of those was vs the champions Molde.
I think it is surprising to see Ham Kam as such a clear favourite to win. In fact, I am surprised they are the favourite at all! I suspect they could have a disappointing result after now achieving survival and they will not be as committed or motivated. Tromso should be good enough to win this match, so taking the away side on a double chance bet looks decent at 1.62. They are the better team in my opinion, and with more at stake I fancy them to obtain at least a point.
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