Tippeligaen – Sarpsborg v Start Preview (29/7/16)


Sarpsborg preview

The home team have been in great form in the last few months, winning 8 of their last 12 games. This is a team which is still fairly hard to predict due to their adaptable nature, but you have to respect their results at the moment. One week it seems they can rely on offense to get the job done, the next week a good old fashioned clean sheets nets them victory. That was the case against Molde last week when they won 1-0 on the road. I quite like how Sarpsborg are playing right now and clearly confidence is high. The have an outside chance of finishing in the medal spots come the end of the season if they keep this up. Only fullback Alexander Groven is injured for tonight, the rest of the squad is fully available. Their home record is very good this year and it’s been nearly 500 minutes since they last conceded a goal in front of their own fans!

Start preview

It’s now 32 matches since Start last won a Tippeligaen match and their misery continued with a 2-4 home defeat against Valerenga last week. Many people saw it as their last chance in their battle to avoid relegation, and it must be said their chances of survival are pretty bleak. Start won't be deterred though and have signed three recent players who could make a difference. They’ll hope midfielder Dulee Johnson can give them something alongside Chidiebere Nwakali. The latter has been impressive recently and they really missed him against VIF due to suspension. Another interesting addition upfront is Ghanaian Dennis Antwi from OBOS ligaen side Jerv. He’s been in good form this year and maybe he can adapt to Tippeligaen level well. Start have desperately lacked a striker this year so he’ll be an automatic upgrade. The visitors have been surprisingly competitive on the road this year, often pushing some sides close like Molde a couple of weeks ago when they obtained a 2-2 draw.

Conclusion & Betting analysis

Many people will presume Sarpsborg will claim victory here and you’d be a brave man to bet against that happening. The hosts have been in great form, playing well and should be good enough to get the three points. But from a betting point of view, the big question is exactly how many will they win by? Bookies have set the asian line between -1.5 and -1.25, so in this instance you’ll need Sarpsborg to win by two clear goals otherwise you lose something. It’s interesting to note that Start havent lost any of their last five away games by more than one goal, and have even managed to draw three of those fixtures surprisingly. It seems they prefer playing on the road. So I won’t take the Sarpsborg handicap, but I will nibble on the over 3 goal line. A lot of recent Start matches have been shootouts and they are very attack minded and open when they fall behind. That will likely happen here and leave all sorts of space for Sarpsborg to exploit. The hosts have a great defensive record at this stadium, but I have a feeling Start will score a goal. Perhaps Sarpsborg might switch off a couple of times due to the low standard of opposition. I’m only going to stake one unit here but I think there should be at least three goals scored and the odds are juicy enough to tempt me.

Prediction: 3-1
Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @ 2.04 (minimum odds acceptable 1.90)


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