Norway Tippeligaen – Haugesund v Start Preview (2/7/16)

FKH-START

Haugesund preview

FKH have been one of the surprises of the season and have generally impressed many people with their unusual style of play. Manager Mark Dempsey uses a 3-5-1 formation, which you don’t see much of in any league, let alone Norway. So they are a breathe of fresh air in many ways but have actually managed to pick up results. FKH sit seventh in the table and are unbeaten at home so far this season. They managed to come from 0-3 down to draw against Molde and then really pushed Rosenborg (1-1). So clearly this isn’t a side you can underestimate and they seem to have a good mix of defence and attack. At the time of writing I can’t be sure if they have any significant injuries or not, but the indication are that there isn’t too much to worry about in that department.

Start preview

The visitors haven’t had a Tippeligaen win for nearly a whole year now. It’s been a horrible run but it simply shows they aren’t good enough to be playing this level of football. They’d have been better off getting relegated via the playoff instead of staying up. Key man Kristoffer Ajer has now left to Celtic, although his influence this season wasn’t as much. I just look at this squad on paper and it’s a complete mess, lacking ability, a proper system or any confidence. Such has been their lack of quality upfront, the coach has even been using midfielders as strikers in some matches. Start are the lowest scoring team in the league (8 goals) and have conceded the most out of anyone as well (25 goals). Start did at least show some improvement on the road in their last two fixtures managing to draw against Aalesund and Sogndal. Those results were undone by the subsequent 0-5 hammering at home to Sabaek though.

Conclusion

Haugesund really should be winning this match. Start have generally been very poor this season and for most people the question isn’t if Haugesund will win, but by how many? I agree this should be a comfortable victory but I think it might be dangerous to get involved betting in the match considering we’ve just had a long summer break. Maybe Start will be more motivated and managed to recharge their batteries. If they could play like they did in their last two away games then Haugesund won’t have it easy. Nevertheless, all of FKH’s home wins this year have been by at least a two goal margin though and I have to predict Dempsey’ men to claim victory because it’s the most logical outcome.

Prediction: 2-0

Betting advice

Haugesund are generally on a -1.25 or -1 asian handicap line here. Some might say taking the hosts -1 @ about 1.75 is a risk free bet because surely at the very worst they’d win by one goal, right? It’s worth remembering that Start have drawn nearly half of their matchers though and in this situation there’s a lot of expectation and pressure on Haugesund to deliver. I don’t think the value is there on the hosts, who would quite happily win by just a small margin. I’m fairly confident they should get the job done but not massively convinced enough to actually place a bet on them. In terms of over/under, the line is set really high at 3.0. This smells of an under because I’m not at all sure Start will score a goal. If you are backing the overs here you might need FKH to score three goals for a push and to win 4-0 or more in order to actually have a winning bet. All things considered, I think the best option in this instance is to swerve betting.

Recommended bet: None

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