The winless run continues for Start but they can take a lot of pride out of last week’s 1-1 draw with Stromsgodset. Everyone (including me) expected them to get absolutely smashed but they actually produced a pretty good performance in all areas of the field, deserving their late equaliser. They comfortably covered the massive +1.5 asian handicap. Their overall prospects this season remain bleak and relegation seems a virtual certainty. But based on last week’s display they want to gain some sort of self respect, at very least actually win a game of football and generally give their fans something worth watching. They'd dearly love to end this record breaking Tippeligaen winless streak which stretches to nearly 35 games now. Start have absolutely nothing to lose and will only be targeting victory in a fixture like this. I expect them to be proactive, positive and try to put on a show for the fans. If they are as committed as they were in Godset, a victory might be obtained.
The visitors went on a great 11 match unbeaten run but have since come down to earth thanks to back to back defeats facing Viking & Rosenborg. The writing was maybe on the wall before that anyway and it’s been a while since Sogndal played really well. You just sense that their window of good football has passed (for now) and they have dropped down a level or two. This naturally happens with all promoted teams at some stage every season and it appears to be happening with Sogndal right now. A big blow for them was losing influential midfielder Babacar Sarr to Molde and they don't have the same driving force in that area of the field without him. Manager Eirik Bakke has built a good side here but if they aren’t careful their season could fizzle out. If they go on a really poor run then they might even get sucked into the relegation battle.
Conclusion & betting analysis
The next three games Sogndal have to play are all against sides below them in the table. This is their chance to completely cement their survival, not that there’s much doubt anyway. The problem is that Sogndal aren’t in particularly great form now and need to pick themselves up a bit. They are the understandable favourites to win this match but there’s a lot of pressure and expectation on them to deliver. In terms of players on paper there’s probably not an awful lot of difference between these two teams. It just happens to be that Start have little to play for and Sogndal have become a well drilled side. I think this will be an open fixture and both teams will fancy their chances. Start have no reason to be negative whilst Sogndal will still get plenty of opportunities even if they are protecting a lead. I think the best bet here is over 2.5, which is quite generously priced for a Tippeligaen match. A lot of Start home matches have recently been going over and a price of 1.90 is simply far too big when only three goals are needed for the bet to win fully.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.90 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)