Rosenborg vs Heart of MidlothianUEFA Europa League Conference, KO: 18:00 Aug 10, 2023, Lerkendal Stadion
HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN are desperate to return to the group stage of the Europa Conference League and will fancy their chances of seeing off a struggling Rosenborg side in their first qualifier.
The Jambos dropped straight into the groups last term after losing in the Europa League play-offs and had some glamour games against Fiorentina and Istanbul Basaksehir as well as beating Rigas FS home and away.
That has whetted their appetite for another group stage adventure but they face two qualifiers this time after only managing to finish fourth in the SPFL Premiership last term.
A slump towards the end of the campaign lost Robbie Neilson his job, with Stevie Naismith securing fourth place ahead of city rivals Hibs after taking the reins. But the former Scotland striker doesn't have the UEFA qualifications to manage the side in Europe so it's Frankie McAvoy who is officially calling the shots in the dugout this season with Naismith as ‘technical director'.
It remains to be seen if that strange situation will unsettle the squad but the signs so far are promising, with Heart of Midlothian winning 2-0 at St Johnstone in their Premiership opener to bring up one of my weekend super singles.
While the Tynecastle side have just one competitive game under their belt, Rosenborg are already almost midway through their domestic campaign. The fallen Norwegian giants made a miserable start to the season, winning just three of their first 14 games.
Their form has picked up since then, with four successive domestic wins, but they only just squeezed past Northern Irish side Crusaders in the last round of Conference League qualifiers.
That tie went all the way to extra-time and the Norwegians only secured a 5-4 aggregate triumph with a late Leo Cornic strike after Crusaders had gone down to 10 men.
How the bookies view it
Home advantage gives Rosenborg the edge in this one and they're a best 23/20 at Betfred. That looks pretty good value, even though they've been struggling this season, with Scottish sides outwith the Old Firm having a terrible away record in Europe of late. Heart of Midlothian are 2/1 with most firms while the draw pays 12/5 at McBookie.
Head to head
These sides have never met in Europe before but Rosenborg have enjoyed plenty of battles with other Scottish clubs and the Jambos will take heart from their poor record in those fixtures. Rosenborg have faced Celtic 10 times, winning just once and losing seven, and lost 2-1 on aggregate to St Johnstone in a Europa League qualifier in 2013.
Players to watch
Rosenborg boss Svein Maalen has been chopping and changing his strikers so their best bet for a goal could be playmaker Carlo Holse. The Dane scored in the away leg against Crusaders and has three goals to his name this term. He's 29/10 at William Hill for another against the Jambos.
Lawrence Shankland was a goal machine for Heart of Midlothian last term, netting 28 times, including three strikes in Europe. He delivered when I backed him to score at the weekend and is 13/8 at Bet365 for anytime scorer in Norway.
Anything else catch the eye?
Rosenborg's games have been thrillers of late, with BTTS and over 2.5 goals landing in their last four outings. Hearts aren't renowned for parking the bus in Europe so it bodes well for an entertaining game here. Over 2.5 goals is a best 5/6 at StarSports while BTTS is shorter at 7/10 with QuinnBet.
McBookie are offering 21/20 on over 1.5 Rosenborg goals and that looks pretty good value given that bet has landed in their last four matches and also their last three at home. Over 1.5 first-half goals also stands a chance and that's bigger at 7/4 with Betfred.
Card bets are going to be a good option early in the season, with refs told to crack down on plenty of things. I've yet to see any prices for that market though.
This UEFA Europa League Conference match between Rosenborg and Heart of Midlothian will be played on Aug 10, 2023 and kick off at 18:00. Check below for our tipsters best Rosenborg vs Heart of Midlothian prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.