SJK v OPS (Saturday, 3pm)

OPS have seemingly been written off by the Betfair markets ahead of their clash in the Finnish Ykkonen with SJK.

SJK finished as runners-up last season and that's exactly where they are after four games of this campaign. They won their opening three matches but fell to a defeat last time out at Oulu and although they had a man sent off in the 38th minute they were 2-0 down at the time.

Back on home soil this afternoon, victory for Simo Valakari's side would take them above KooTeePee at the top of the table – a psychological boost even at this early stage of proceedings.

They were strong in Seinäjoki last term but it is interesting to note two of their three losses came against today's opponents – the first one 2-0 and the second 3-2 (they were 3-0 down by half-time).

OPS made a slow start to their season with a home draw against Ilves and defeat at Haka. They've kicked into gear since though and back-to-back victories over Viikingit and PK-35 Vantaa will have the players brimming with confidence again.

Luiz Antônio's men were pretty solid on their travels last year – avoiding defeat in more than 60 per cent of their fixtures – and as mentioned beat SJK twice from two attempts in their own backyard.

The victory at PK-35 on Monday was testament to their resolution as they trailed going into the final 20 minutes and the three goals they scored increased their run of netting in their last four away from the Raatti Stadium.

SJK are the worthy favourites but don't warrant odds as low as 1.62 and that's why I'm making them my lay of the day.

Recommended Bet

Lay SJK v OPS @ 1.62

Milesey (Betfair)

1 Comment
  1. Milesey 9 years ago


    Empoli host Novara in a semi final 2nd leg in Italy Serie B. The 1st leg finished 1-1 but Empoli were clearly the better side, all to play for though and plenty of betting opportunities.

    Empoli are in very good form and will be clear favourites to progress in this tie after the 1-1 draw. They have a huge advantage as the higher finishing team qualify if the overall result is a draw. They are in good form with 6 wins and 3 draw and 1 defeats from their last 10 Italy Serie B games. With 15 goals scored and just 5 conceded (with six clean sheets in that time) The team from Tuscany are a very strong all round side. They finished the season in 4thand ended up 9 points ahead of rivals Novara, with a record of 20 wins, 13 draws and 9 defeats. Empoli have a very strong attacking squad and have two of the deadliest strikers in Serie B. Veteren duo Massimo Maccarrone and Francesco Tavano have 39goals between them with fellow frontman Riccardo Saponara chipping in with 11 in what is a fearsome front three.

    Novara go into the playoff in decent form, of the last eight games they have 4 wins, 3 draw and 2 defeats. They are not in a good moment defensively with 16 goals scored and 12 conceded so will need to tighten up if they want to qualify. Novara finished in 5th position in Italy Serie A with a record of 19 wins, 10 draws and 13 defeats. They have been particularly strong at home with 10 wins, 5 draws and 6 defeats at Stadio Comunale Silvio Piola. Novara key man this season has been midfielder Flavio Lazzarri who will face up to his old club. Bruno Fernandes will be important as will striker Pablo Gonzalez. Novara will hope their Argentine hitman finds some of the goalscoring form he has for most of the season. However he has not been prolific over the last few months.

    I take Empoli to reach the final after the 1-1 draw at Novara. Empoli are such a strong side the visitors have their work cut out. Novara must attack in the game as they can only progress with a win. This falls into Empoli’s hands as they are such a strong home side. I am taking the draw again here which may be a surpise, but with Empoli just needing to avoid defeat I believe its the best value. 3.30 is a big price and if the game is level towards the end Empoli will just keep it tight and their defence is particularly strong.



    Livorno host Brescia in a semi final 2nd leg in Italy Serie B. The game stands at 1-1 but due to the rules of Serie B if the tie is drawn after 2 legs the higher finishing side prevails.

    Livorno were undone one the final day of the season as they went down to Serie B winners Sassuolo. Livorno are clear favourites to progress in this tie and also to get promoted to Serie A. Livorno are in good form with 5 wins and 2 draws and 2 defeats from their last 9 Italy Serie B games. With 17 goals scored and 8 conceded the team from Tuscany are playing well at the moment. Livorno went into the last game of the season with a tough match and ended up losing in a very tight affair. They finished the season in 3rd and ended up 18 points ahead of rivals Brescia, with a record of 23 wins, 11 draws and 8 defeats. Livorno have a very strong attacking squad and key players are Brazilians Paulinho and Emerson, with strong support from livewire striker Federico Dionisi.

    Brescia go into the playoff in decent form, of the last nine games they have 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats. They are not in a good moment defensively with 15 goals scored and 13 conceded so will need to tighten up if they want to qualify. Brescia have been particularly strong at home with 10 wins, 9 draws and only 2 defeats at Stadio Mario Rigamonti. Brescia will again rely on their impressive front three; their two mainline stikers Daniele Corvia and Andrea Caracciolo with Luigi Scala in behind.

    Livorno are taken here in a very difficult game for the visitors. With a two legged fixture and the advantage of finishing higher Livorno will be happy to take Brescia back to Tuscany on level terms. They will expect to win at home were they triumphed 13 times from 21 this season. Brescia have not beaten Livorno in 10 recent matches with 5 draws and 5 defeats in this one sided fixture. This season at Brescia the match finished 0-0 with Livorno triumphing at home. Livorno are huge value at 1.85 (bet365) and indeed the price is shortening all the time.


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