Kristiansund v Tromsø
It has been a miserable campaign for Kristiansund so far. They have lost 6 out of 7 matches and only have one point in the table. On Saturday they lost 1-2 away to Molde and were largely outplayed. They were outgunned 1.62 to 0.97 on xG and the one goal they scored was only a consolation right at the end of the match. Manager Christian Michelsen has worked miracles with this team in recent years, regularly overachieving with some high finishes which were unexpected. It seems like this is finally the season in which they have a poor year. KBK haven’t been helped by a terrible injury situation at the back with several defenders such as Andreas Hopmark, Dan Peter Ulvestad and Aliou Coly all missing a lot of matches.
Tromsø are one of the draw specialists of the Eliteserien right now with 4 of their last 6 games ending all square. Three of those fixtures ended exactly 1-1 and the team nicknamed Gutan have only kept one clean sheet all season. It has been noticeable how much tighter they have looked at the back recently though. Consecutive 1-1 draws vs some very good teams Bodø/Glimt & Viking were legitimate. Their overall xGA in those fixtures was a combined 2.42 which is quite impressive facing such strong attacking teams. Tromsø have yet to win on the road this season but drew 3 out of 4 fixtures and last season they generally travelled well.
Eventually, Kristiansund will probably find some form but after the start they’ve had it would be a surprise if they aren’t bottom of the table at the halfway stage of the campaign. Whilst they have so many defensive problems and conceding so many goals, I think it is a good idea to bet against them. Tromsø on a draw no bet handicap @1.73 makes the most sense. It would be a surprise if the visitors lost this game, and they are definitely the most likely to win.
Bodø/Glimt v Strømsgodset
Bodø/Glimt struggled as they went four domestic matches in a row without a win. They bounced back by beating Haugesund 4-1 away from home at the weekend though, with striker Amahl Pellegrino bagging two goals. It was a convincing victory and the Glimt attack force especially looked in much better form. Their underlying numbers are still strong this season, averaging an xG of 1.51 per 90 mins. At the other end of the field, they have the best xGA (0.89 per game). In their title winning 2020 campaign Bodø/Glimt won all 15 matches here at Aspmyra Stadion. Last season they won 10 out of 15 here, suffering only one defeat. It has been a surprise to see Glimt draw 3 out of 4 contests in front of their own fans so far this year, but I am sure their win percentage will increase.
Travelling here are a Strømsgodset side who have suddenly found some red hot form. They have picked up 10 points from their last four games and kept clean sheets in three of those contests. Their weekend victory vs Vålerenga was however quite fortunate. Godset were lucky enough to profit from some really poor mistakes by their opponents and were actually outgunned 1.02 to 2.49 on xG. From a 3-0 lead they very nearly blew that advantage and in the end were very fortunate to take victory. A similar sort of defensive display here would not yield a good outcome. The recent form and results of Godset do need to be respected though. They have momentum which can be crucial in football.
It is likely that Bodø/Glimt will easily win this fixture. They have a history of smashing Godset and this fixture last season ended in a huge 7-2 victory. Something to that extreme again is unlikely but I would expect plenty of goals in this match. Glimt are just starting to find their attacking mojo again and Strømsgodset have scored 9 goals in their last 4 games. Over 2.5 is a slightly short price at 1.47 but really does look like an excellent bet. Glimt should cover this line on their own but something like a 2-1 victory either way would also ensure this bet is a winner.
Lillestrøm v Vålerenga
The standout fixture of the round comes from Åråsen Stadion where two huge rivals meet in a local derby. This is without doubt one of the biggest matches of the season in the Eliteserien calendar and a capacity crowd is to be expected. Lillestrøm are the only remaining unbeaten side in the Eliteserien and their arch-rivals would love to be the first side to beat them. Manager Geir Bakke has done a great job with LSK, and they sit joint top of the table on 20 points with 6 wins out of 8. Lillestrøm have the best defensive record in the league conceding just five goals so far this year. Key performers such as goalkeeper Mads Christiansen and defender Igoh Ogbu have been central to their success. Lillestrøm only have mid-range xGA statistics with an average of 1.32 per 90 mins. This would suggest they are over performing in this department. When you consider their fixture list which has contained matches such as Molde & Bodø/Glimt away from home, to still be unbeaten having conceded so few goals must be hailed as a success.
Travelling here are a Vålerenga side under some pressure after picking up just one point from their last three games. They are languishing down in 10th place and manager Dag Eilev Fagermo has taken some criticism recently. Their defeat at the weekend 3-2 to Strømsgodset was in many ways unfortunate. They outgunned their opponents 2.49 to 1.02 in that fixture, but a succession of mistakes saw them concede three goals in the space of five first half minutes. Enga did well to reduce the deficit to 3-2 and they probably should have equalised eventually, but the damage was done. VIF have underachieved for far too long and Fagermo was meant to be the answer to propel them into a regular medal contender. There has been some talk in the Norwegian media that he might be the favourite in the Eliteserien sack race to next lose his job.
The old saying for derby games is that you should throw the formbook out of the window. These two sides absolutely hate each other and will be giving it absolutely everything to prevail. This really does feel like a good time for Lillestrøm to face Vålerenga though. They are in great form and with home advantage should have an extra edge. The feeling around the visitors is quite negative with doom and gloom. I worry that they could continue their poor run of results so the idea of betting on Lillestrøm to win is quite appealing. They are definitely the better side right now, so despite this being a derby match the best option may well be to take the hosts straight in the nose.
Rosenborg v Haugesund
It has been a solid enough start for new Rosenborg manager Kjetil Rekdal. With just one defeat in their first seven matches, RBK have been difficult to beat. However, they are not the most enterprising side to watch and at times they have lacked penetration along with a cutting edge. Most of their problems have come away from home though. In three home fixtures they beat Odd 1-0, Sandefjord 3-0 and obtained a creditable 0-0 draw vs Molde. From a defensive perspective, Rekdal must be happy that they’ve yet to concede a goal in front of their own fans at the Lerkendal Stadion. Rekdal, who was a defender back in his playing days with over 100 Norwegian caps is known for being a more defensive minded coach who prioritises organisation, discipline, and strong mental resolve. They have the 4th best overall xGA in the league with an average of just 1.14 per 90 mins.
Haugesund are at the other end of the spectrum with defensive statistics. The 16 goals they have conceded is the joint most leaky defence in the Eliteserien. With an average xGA of 1.72 per 90 mins it is legitimate how poor their backline has performed. Haugesund started the season with five consecutive defeats. They bounced back to beat Kristiansund 2-0 and then hammered Odd 4-0 in their most recent away match. However, a return to losing ways 1-4 vs Bodø/Glimt at the weekend might have set them back again. Haugesund have the 4th worst xG stats in the division with an average of 1.06 per 90 mins. Rosenborg are only slightly higher in this department with 1.08 per game. In theory, these are two teams with struggling attacks facing each other, the difference being that Haugesund have a much worse defence. This is a small squad that has struggled with some injuries. Key attackers Martin Samuelsen and Sondre Liseth have yet to play a single minute this season.
I would expect Rosenborg to get the job done here and find a way to get the 3 points. It might not be fantastic football but something like a 1-0 or 2-0 home win looks likely. Rosenborg are capable of keeping things tight at the back and there is a strong chance of them collecting another clean sheet at home. Backing Rosenborg straight on the nose to win at 1.47 looks like the best bet. There is no need to over-complicate things by taking a handicap because an exact one goal win is quite possible. It would be a surprise if RBK dropped points in this fixture because Haugesund are not a good team.
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