The Bergan club have a remarkable home record in that they’ve only conceded one goal in front of their own fans all season. That one blotch occurred in their previous match here against Valerenga, but it made no difference because they won 4-1. Brann have won 6 of their 7 games here in 2016 and only Odd managed to leave with anything, which was a 0-0 draw early in the campaign. The amount of clean sheets that Brann have kept is incredibly high for a league of this nature. They do however have a couple of doubts at the back. Ruben Kristiansen (LB) and Vadim Demidov (CB) might not play because of injury and personal reasons (wife expecting child) respectively. Nevertheless, Brann have shown they can cope without losses to their backline and backup guys coming in have performed well. It’s clear their system really works and there’s great discipline amongst the troops. Brann are at full strength in midfield and attack. Surprisingly, the attack looked extremely dangerous against Valerenga a couple of weeks ago.
The visitors have had a really tough run of fixtures recently. Since the summer break AFK have faced Godset & Odd away, followed by Rosenborg at home. They lost both away fixtures heavily 4-2 and 4-1, but did manage to eek out a 1-1 draw against RBK last week. They were second best for most of the match against a weakened Rosenborg XI but a last minute equaliser rescued a point. It feels like a difficult period for Aalesund right now and they won’t be helped by the absence of two key attackers here. Striker Franck Boli and winger Edwin Gyasi are suspended and this takes away a big part of their offense, especially from a pace point of view. AFK have the second worst away record in the entire league, losing 6/8 on the road this year. It’s clear they are going to have to rely on defence to get them a result here, but it’s been a while since it looked secure. Centre back Oddbjorn Lie is doubtful because of injury and this might push Daniel Gretarsson into featuring again, even though he’s a natural left back.
What we have here is a good home team against a poor away one. The result on paper looks simplistic and most people will predict Brann to win. They have only conceded one goal at Brann Stadion all year which is a phenomenal record. With Aalesund missing two key attackers to suspension, it’s highly likely Brann will only need one goal to win tonight. I’d expect Aalesund to set themselves up hard to break down and aim for a 0-0 draw. Their best chance of a goal will come from set pieces. There have been occasions this year when AFK have demonstrated an ability to keep things tighter at the back, their 1-0 win at Bodo Glimt springs to mind. But they just don’t look solid at the moment. It’s true facing the likes of RBK, Godset and Odd is a much tougher task, but let’s not forget how hard it is to travel here too. Brann don’t score many goals but their offense has looked much better in recent weeks and should be confident after the 4-1 win against Valerenga last time out here. I think the most likely scoreline is 2-0 or 3-0. Brann do win a lot of matches 1-0, but all things considered I think this should end up a fairly comfortable home win.
The bookies aren’t giving anything away here and have priced Brann up on a -1 asian handicap about 1.95. This is the shortest price they’ve been all season, even against Start they were on a -0.75 line. It’s understandable why the bookies are being so tight though because there’s a good chance Brann will at least win the game. The question is by how many goals? Six of Brann’s eight wins this term have been by exactly one goal and as aforementioned, the 1-0 scoreline has been extremely popular with them. Ultimately, I’ve decided to back the -1 asian handicap. I don’t think this is a massive value bet but the most important thing in betting is to have winners (or at least don’t have losers). I would say there’s about a 50% chance of this bet resulting in a push. Brann just have that knack of winning 1-0. But if Aalesund are trailing 1-0 with 10 mins left they usually go ‘gung ho’ looking for an equaliser which should result in good chances for 2-0. The over/under line is set at 2.5 and I have no interest here. That all depends on how well the Brann attack is working. I don’t personally see Aalesund scoring. I’ll take this -1 handicap and hope Brann prevail 2 or 3 nil.
Recommended bet: Brann -1 (asian) @ 1.96 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)