I think it’s fair to say Valerenga had a nightmare first half of the season compared to what they expected. Things got off to a bad start with problems both on and off the field. They lost their first four league games and although things improved a bit, manager Kjetil Rekdal will be the first to admit they’ve underachieved. Maybe things have settled down for the Oslo side during this summer break. They are winless in four league games, although showed some promising signs during that period. One big problem for VIF all season has been player selection. A number of injuries have hit the side and Rekdal seems unsure what his best XI, or even formation actually is. The treatment table is less loaded now with only key midfield Christian Grindheim ruled out for this match. His loss is a blow, but at least there’s a clean bill of health in all other areas. Valerenga have won three and lost three matches at home so far, with no draws.
The visitors are currently the closest challengers to Rosenborg in the table, albeit are five points behind the defending champions. It’s generally been a very good season for Odd, although some silly dropped points have cost them in unexpected matches. Without doubt, the key to their success has been a really solid defence. Odd have the second best record in the whole league, with only RBK conceding fewer goals. Fagermo’s side have kept an impressive 8/13 clean sheets thus far. Goalscoring has been more of a problem for Odd compared to other big sides and they can sometimes struggle to break down opponents.
But there’s no doubt Odd have to be respected because they are a good all round package. Key midfielder Jone Samuelsen will miss this match which is a major blow, but they are otherwise at full strength. It’s worth noting Odd played in the midweek Europa League qualifying on Thursday night, so might not be quite as fresh physically as Valerenga.
I personally think this is one of the hardest games of the weekend to predict in Norway. Valerenga have had a poor season but I have a feeling they’ll be better after the summer break. Here at home I’m sure everyone will be really up for it against one of the medal contenders. Odd are a very efficient team and may well find a way to win here. But a trip to ‘Enga is never easy on paper, especially just three days after a Europa League qualifier. I trust the Odd backline but I have a feeling this will be closer than some people might think. In terms of goals, I don’t see it being a particularly exciting contest. Both teams have at times struggled to find the net this year and of course the excellent Odd defence also has to be considered. Overall I’m going to predict a draw, but I don’t say that with too much confidence. In all truth, no result would surprise me here.
Obviously, when I find the match so hard to predict then it’s going to be a struggle to offer any betting tips for the game. In terms of asian lines, the bookies are offering both teams on a DNB handicap, with Odd being the slight favourites. This is pretty fair IMO and I’d say there’s more chance of this match ending a draw than anything else. If I had to choose a side then I’d pick Valerenga, but only because they are the home team. Over 2.5 goals is priced @ about the 1.85 mark, which might actually be a bit short when you consider that Odd are playing. Just two of their six away matches this season have ended over and that’s because on the road they can set themselves up really hard to break down. I personally think this is a clear no bet fixture and there’s no need to get involved.
Recommended bet: None