Norway Tippeligaen – Sarpsborg v Brann Preview (3/7/16)


Sarpsborg preview

The hosts started the season poorly but have since improved to a comfortable midtable position. They actually went into the summer break having won 5 of their last 8 games, which is a fairly good return. Home form has been strong with their only defeat here coming on the opening day. Sarpsborg can be a very difficult side to predict, you never really know what you’re going to get with them. I don’t often get involved with their matches because consistency isn’t one of their traits. Left back/midfielder Alexander Groven is suspended for this match, I’m not fully sure about their injury situation at the moment but it would appear to be favourable.

Brann preview

Brann are one of the surprises of the season so far. I don’t think anyone really expected them to have 23 points at this stage of the campaign. The key to their success has been an extremely solid defence which doesn’t concede many goals. Brann have actually kept seven clean sheets which is a really impressive number. At the other end goalscoring has been at a premium but they are efficient when they need to be. The Bergan outfit have won five matches by an exact 1-0 scoreline thus far, which rather sums them up. For this match a few players are rated doubtful, but at the time of writing I can’t confirm who is exactly ruled out.


This looks set to be the tightest and potentially lowest scoring Tippeligaen match of the round. Brann are the #1 under team in the league and a whopping 10 of their 13 games have contained less than three goals this season. That’s pretty staggering in a league like this which is more known for higher scoring games. Brann build their success around a solid backline which is extremely difficult to penetrate. I don’t think Sarpsborg have enough dangerous weapons to create many chances. The only source of goals in this game might be from set pieces. I’m expecting a really cagey affair in which neither team takes too many risks. I suspect both would be relatively satisfied with a draw. If someone is to win then a 1-0 scoreline has to be the favourite. But the way both teams set up, this fixture is a massive 0-0 runner in my opinion.

Prediction: 0-0

Betting analysis

Sarpsborg are maybe a bit short on a -0.25 handicap @ 1.80. They are deserving favourites but the bookies are clearly giving nothing away. If I had to choose a side then I’d pick Brann because there’s probably a good chance they won’t lose the game. But I have no interest in getting involved. It’s exactly the same with the over/under market which is priced up @ about 1.85 on a 2.25 line. That line is staggeringly low for a Tippeligaen match, it’s more like what you’d expect in French football! But that is the realistic state of affairs when two teams meet like this. Sarpsborg can get sucked into shootouts but are naturally more defensive IMO. Brann are incredibly boring and under 2.25 is probably a fairly safe bet. But I have no intention of taking this in the Norwegian league.

Recommended bet: None


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