The hosts are still inside the relegation zone but Toni Ordinas remains unbeaten since taking charge of the team. So Stabaek haven't lost any of their last four games and actually played some really good football during this period. They head into this contest on the back of successive 2-2 draws at Tromso & Stromsgodset. To pick up a point in both of those away trips is always highly acceptable, but Stabaek actually might be disappointed they didn't win at least one of those games. The new manager said they are going to try and win every contest, no matter the opposition. I like his no fear approach and it seems a lot of the players are enjoying their football again. There’s a freedom and confidence in the team I haven't seen since Bob Bradley left the club. Midfielder Kamal Issah returns from suspension for this match and Ordinas should have a clean bill of health from which to select his team.
Haugesund saw talented coach Mark Dempsey resign a few weeks ago, but it seemed to have little impact on the team as they thrashed local rivals Viking 4-1. However, since then things have taken a turn for the worst. They got thrashed 6-0 by a Rosenborg side who rested a lot of stars. Then last week they lost 0-1 at home to Sogndal. To be fair, Haugesund played pretty well in that game but snatched at chances and also came up against a goalkeeper in great form. You just sense that things are starting to go against them and that they might go through a bit of a sticky phase, with the last two results being the start of it. For this match, key centre back Vegard Skjerve is suspended. In the three games he didn’t start for them this season Haugesund conceded a whopping 8 combined goals! In midfield Sondre Tronstad is suspended as well. In recent times, someone always seems to be injured or suspended for them in the middle of the park and they can't field the same XI in every game, leading to unsettlement. Their final new absentee is a vital one - CB William Troost Ekong is on Olympic duty with Nigeria.
Conclusion & betting analysis
Stabaek have been playing really well under Toni Ordinas since he took over. The only thing that's been lacking are victories. They beat Lillestrom but since then have drawn three games in a row. But look at who they've played - Brann, Tromso & Stromsgodset, all of whom are fairly decent teams. Haugesund are still sixth in the table but are under a different regime now, and you sense they are still recovering from the massive beating that Rosenborg inflicted upon them. I really feel that this is the time for Stabaek to cash in and I like the idea of backing them -0.25 @ a decent price here. I like taking over 2.75 goals as well. Stabaek have been much more attack minded under Ordinas and far more threatening in the final third. Haugesund are usually involved in higher scoring matches. Last week was an exception because they faced a defensive team who dug in, but that won't be the case here. A high scoring home win is my prediction and I’m happy to go with both bets here.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Stabaek -0.25 @ 1.85 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @ 1.90 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)