The Veikkausliiga continues today with three games, RoPS vs Honka, KPV vs Ilves and FC Lahti vs KuPS.
RoPS vs Honka 14:00 Keskuskenttä, Rovaniemi
Bethard odds: 3.30 – 3.20 – 2.25
This is already the 2nd match this season for RoPS who drew their opener on Wednesday 2-2 with KuPS. Honka has been ranked this season as HJK´s biggest challenger and even a possible title candidate. Last season RoPS finished 2nd and Honka was 4 points behind on 4th position. Last season both teams won 2-1 once in Rovaniemi. The match in Espoo ended in a 2-2 draw.
RoPS team news
RoPS started their season with a 2-2 away draw against KuPS. This was a very good achievement considering that they had several players out injured and their bench only had a couple of first team players. KuPS dominated the game but RoPS was able to hit from set pieces to earn that valuable point. The expectation for RoPS this season is that they are maybe.. maybe slightly weaker but not too much.
In the KuPS match it was obvious that they need to improve the defense. As they played just a few days ago, this most likely will not show yet in this match. RoPS should get a couple of players back from injury but still the team will lack depth.
Honka team news
Honka will get into this match fresh. They are one of the favourites this season and it is understandable. From their team last season they lost their top scorer Kandji, but other than that, they have gotten many good new players and are definitely stronger. Luis Silva, Juha Hakola, Gideon Baah and Abel Suarez are all good players at this level. They also managed to keep Javi Hervas in the club so they are strong. Their only weakness might be in the left back position where Levänen is injured and new player Mikko Sumusalo might not be the type of player they are looking for.
Honka has played a very good pre-season. They won their group in the Finnish Cup but in the quarter finals Ilves beat them in penalties. Honka and Ilves have been by far the best teams during the pre-season. Honka will miss Jonas Levänen from this match.
Honka is the favourite, but its difficult to bet them with these odds as RoPS was one of the best home teams in the league losing only 4 times. They are the northern most team in the league and Honka will have a long trip ahead of them. Last season each of their games had BTTS so lets go for that option. Bethard having 1.95 odds for this.
KPV vs Ilves 15:00 Keskuskenttä, Rovaniemi
Bethard odds: 4.10 – 3.35 – 1.90
This match is not played in Kokkola, but in Seinäjoki so it is not a really home game for KPV. KPV just got promoted to the Veikkausliiga for the first time in 30 years. Ilves finished 5th last season but look to improve on that position this season. Both teams are in good form at the moment as both made it into the Finnish Cup semifinals. Ilves especially has been performing well as they are still undefeated this pre-season.
The teams met in the Finnish Cup in the group stage with Ilves winning 1-2.
KPV team news
KPV has surprised many by getting into the Finnish Cup semifinals as they beat RoPS away from home 1-2 in the quarterfinals. They are a very well coached team who focuses on the defense and set pieces. They are ranked to be in the relegation fight but could easily even sneak into the Top-6 if everything goes right for them. They will take points from the big teams who risk on trying to attack too much against them. They are a fighting team who are well organised.
Ilves team news
Ilves has been the best performing team so far in the pre-season as they have played 6 friendlies and 7 games in the Cup and are still undefeated. They are well organized and the team at this moment is the most ready out of any of the other teams. They have gotten some good foreign players who could take the team to the next level. At the moment they are ranked in the Top-4 among HJK, Honka and KuPS. They lack stars but are extremely well coached and that can take them far in this league.
Ilves will be without Mikael Almen and Matias Riikonen in this match. Samuel Afum is a doubt.
KPV can surprise many teams but Ilves at this points is not one of them. Away win Bethard having 1.90 odds for this.
FC Lahti vs KuPS 17:00 Kisapuisto, Lahti
Bethard odds: 4.10 – 3.35 – 1.90
This is he first match of the season for FC Lahti who go into this season with a new head coach and new players. KuPS already started their season with a 2-2 home draw with RoPS. Lahti finished 8th last season and they are predicted to be around those positions also this season. KuPS finished 3rd and they are also expected to be fighting for a top-4 position also this season.
FC Lahti team news
This is a re-building year for FC Lahti who had a lot of changes since last season. Over 20 players left the club and they have been replaced with some decent players but the club lacks depth. There are a lot of questions marks about how good they actually are and where their potential is. We actually rank them as one of the relegation candidates whereas many pundits put them between positions 7-10.
Despite the question marks, they have had a decent pre-season. They went through from their group beating Honka, HIFK and Inter. In the quarterfinals though, IFK Mariehamn was better after extra time which just showed the lack of depth the team has especially with their offensive option.
Lagerblom is a doubt for this game.
KuPS team news
As said earlier, KuPS did not have a good pre-season but still they are a team who continue with the same core group with a couple of additions to the team. There is still a lot of work to be done before they are reaching their potential but slowly they are getting better. They already dominated RoPS in their opening game, but poor defending in set pieces cost them the two points.
KuPS will miss Issa Thiaw and Jiri Nissinen from this match.
Under 2.5 goals is the main pick. Bethard having 1.74 odds for this.