Kristiansund did remarkably well to finish 7th last season and they were a huge overachieving side. I think they will be in the fight to avoid the drop for most of this campaign, but they are a team who are extremely tough mentally and tend to play very well together as a unit. KBK haven’t really lost anyone of significance, bar striker Jean Alassane Mendy who went out of favour towards the end of last season anyway. They have added a few interesting new pieces to the squad, although on paper I would still say this is one of the weakest teams in the Eliteserien. Tonight, they face Valerenga who need to improve from last season and try to become a medal threatening force. A lot depends which version of VIF turns up. They were so inconsistent last season, but manager Ronny Deila seemed to find something towards the back end of 2017 when they won quite a lot of matches.
I can’t envisage myself backing Kristiansund that often in 2018, but this is a situation when I fancy them to win. The key to their success in 2017 was a strong home record. They only lost two matches in front of their own fans; against Molde on the opening day and then to bottom side Viking when they were strong favourites and basically bottled it. But usually they revelled in being a general underdog and played with great fight, passion and determination roared on by vocal fans. I expect this to be quite a tight game. Last season KBK home games started off 0-1, 1-0, 2-0, and 1-1. It was only towards the end of the campaign they had more high scoring games. Their natural way is to grind things out and frustrate teams. I don’t think Valerenga will enjoy coming here first up. There is some pressure on Ronny Deila to deliver this season and I think the VIF squad contains a few soft players, who won’t particularly relish travelling to Kristiansund on a cold dark night in early March.
In terms of match betting, I think Kristiansund DNB offers some value. According to my estimations, KBK should be outright favourites here, but instead Valerenga are given the accolade by the bookies. Taking the hosts on this handicap offers plenty of security. If the game ended 0-0 or 10-1 I wouldn't be surprised, but a refunded bet isn’t he worst outcome. I just think they will be really hard to beat at this stadium in a similar way to last season and I question whether VIF have the mental resolve to grind out a ‘tough away win’ I would say this is probably an under sort of fixture as well, although the goal line set at 2.25 @1.80 mark looks about fair. I am happy to stick with the Kristiansund DNB selection. I do worry they will suffer a ‘second season slump’ this year and be in the mixer towards the bottom, but in this particular game I think they’ll go well.
Recommended bet 1 unit: Kristiansund DNB @2.07