Tippeligaen – Sarpsborg v Valerenga Preview (7/8/16)


Sarpsborg preview

The hosts have been in delicious form. In total, they've won 9 of their last 13 games and have been one of the best teams in the Tippeligaen since the early exchanges. Sarpsborg are eyeing up a medal spot and considering the form of some others around them, there’s every reason to think they might finish in the top three. Their home form has been exceptional. Since the opening day of the season, no team has managed to beat them here and they've only conceded one goal in that period. In fact, we are nearing the 600 minute mark since they last conceded a goal in front of their own fans. One of the main reasons they are so tight defensively is because they control the ball well, rarely giving possession away cheaply. Their positioning is also usually quite good. Offensively, they usually just do enough to ‘get the job done’. One goal will often mean three points for them here. Left back/midfielder Alexander Groven is injured, and captain Ole Hansen is suspended. The latter hasn’t started too many games this season though and might not be missed as much as some might think.

Valerenga preview

The Oslo side actually come into this contest on the back of two straight wins, so for once their tails will be up. In general it’s been a very poor season for Kjetil Rekdal’s men and they currently sit third bottom in the relegation zone. It looks like they might have turned the corner. But I say this with a whisper because they've only beaten Start, and then a Molde side who were atrocious defensively. Maybe Valerenga have got their mojo back a bit though. Rekdal has understandably kept faith with the same squad which won so comfortably last week. This is in itself a rarity and the squad seems to have chopped and changed so much this year. Only centre back Jonathan Nation is injured. Valerenga recently added some new signings a couple of weeks ago who look to have improved the team as well. I still don't rate them that much, but if they could deliver a good result along with performance here then I’d say it’s time to take them more seriously again.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I really like Sarpsborg a lot and actually rate them pretty highly. I’m still not convinced by Valerenga either and I have to admit there’s a big dangling carrot potentially backing Sarpsborg -0.5 @ around the 2.0 mark. But my gut feeling and instinct is to leave the match alone from a betting point of view. Valerenga might have improved their confidence and morale from their recent victories and could potentially deliver a decent performance here. This is a very difficult place to come and I’d say a 1-0 or 2-0 Sarpsborg win is the most likely outcome. The goal line is set at 2.75 and it looks like an under to me in this instance. I am maybe missing out on a winner by over respecting Valerenga in this game but the price isn’t quite juicy enough for me to get involved. I really wouldn't want to put anyone off backing the hosts, but there’s a nagging feeling in the back of my mind VIF might get something out of the match.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet: None

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