Norway Eliteserien – Molde v Start Preview (5/8/20)

Match Preview

Molde suffered a shock 2-1 defeat away against Sandefjord on Saturday. I still can’t believe that happened because the gulf in class should’ve been way too much. Molde took the odd liberty by resting the likes of Magnus Wolff Eikrem and John Kitolano but that XI which took to the field had such an abundance of class. Probably the bigger concern was how poorly they played. The first half red card to Fredrik Sjolstad can be used as an excuse to some degree but even at 11vs 11 they didn’t look great. In terms of creating raw chances from open play Molde were very toothless and flat. Some credit has to be given to Sandefjord of course but I was concerned with what I saw. MFK have had problems defensively all season and they’ve been dealt another blow by the news that key centre back Martin Bjornbak is probably injured for a month or more. He has been the one true mainstay for them in defence this season and they continue to look vulnerable in this area. 

Travelling here is a Start team who should be full of confidence after beating Mjøndalen on Sunday (3-0). It was their first league victory of the season and gives them great relief. Start are now 3rd bottom of the table and look in better shape than the likes of MIF and Aalesund. It’s also worth noting that they’ve picked up some impressive draws this year vs teams such as Brann & Rosenborg. In the previous fixture against Molde only a last gasp winner from the defending champions saw then steal a 3-2 road victory. With their tails now up, Start could be formidable opposition and a dark horse.

Molde are a short priced favourite to win around the 1.30 mark which is totally fair. They have a 100% home record and have been awesome here at the Aker Stadion in the last 18 months. The Sandefjord loss could be the wakeup call they need and they need to play catchup after Glimt extended their lead at the top to 6 points on Sunday. I think the best bet here is over 3.25 goals. Molde can score plenty but defensively could be too shaky. Start will get their chances and it’s just a question of whether they take them. Molde will likely cover the handicap and win something like 3-1 or 4-1 but I just feel over is the better bet in their fixtures whilst Bjornbak is out injured.

Prediction: 4-1

Recommended bet: Over 3.25 goals @1.84