Tippeligaen – Odd v Sarpsborg Preview (14/8/16)

ODD-SS

Odd preview

The Skien club turned around a potentially embarrassing situation last week when they beat Start 2-1. Shockingly, they trailed until near the hour mark in that contest and needed a late winner to secure all three points. Odd are still second in the table but haven't been playing that well recently and were in danger of being caught by some other sides. Brann’s defeat on Saturday has eased some pressure but should they lose to Sarpsborg today then a number of sides will be back on their tail. A combination of things have caused Odd’s reduction in form. Things weren't helped by a string of Europa League games, whilst injuries were also a problem. I don’t think a victory at lowly Start can suddenly signal the end of a poor run but at least it’s a start in the right direction. Only key midfielder Jone Samuelsen is doubtful here. He’s had injury problems all season and rarely been seen much since early May.

Sarpsborg preview

The visitors suffered a surprising home reverse last week, going down 0-2 against Valerenga. It was a match they should never have lost but they constantly missed chances throughout the 90 mins. Nevertheless, Sarpsborg still travel here having won 5 of their last 7 games and if they can keep playing well until the end of the season they have a chance of finishing in one of the medal positions. The only main injury that Sarpsborg have today is to left back/midfielder Alexander Groven. Everyone else is available for selection and they welcome back centre back and captain Ole Hansen from suspension. I would imagine the visitors will set themselves up quite hard to break down and their main objective will be to try and keep a clean sheet. I don’t expect they'll be too adventurous unless they fall behind and are chasing the game.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I think this will be a tight game and might not contain many goals. Odd matches have recently been more open and ended with a surprising amount of overs. But I think a number of factors have been the cause of that, factors which Sarpsborg won't be coming here looking to entertain. Odd will probably enjoy a lot of possession and have to work hard in order to break down their opponents. Sarpsborg will be dangerous from the occasional break and set piece. In terms of the final outcome I’m not sure. Part of me would like to back Sarpsborg @ a big price here. I feel like the bookies are really underrating them. But my head says that Odd will sneak over the line. If they can avoid individual mistakes at the back then this will probably end something like 1-0 or 2-0. I don’t see any real value although you could do worse than have a dabble with Sarpsborg at big odds. I just think it's a really tough ask overall though to actually come here and win.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet: None

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