It is an action packed Saturday in the Veikkausliiga with three big games; HJK vs SJK, FC Honka vs VPS and KPV vs FC Lahti
HJK vs SJK 15:00 Telia 5G Arena, Helsinki
Bethard odds: 1.86 – 3.15 – 4.65
The two biggest budget having teams meet in Helsinki. Normally this should be an easy game for HJK as SJK has failed to score against them in 9 consecutive matches, but now HJK has several players out suspended and even with them their season has started poorly. SJK is thus 1 point ahead of them having played 1 game less.
The teams met earlier in the season and the match finished 0-0 in Seinäjoki with the home side the better team.
HJK team news
As said previously HJK is missing several players as Obilor, Kairinen, Elderson and Dahlström are all suspended from this game. Also their best offensive option Riku Riski is still out injured. Their season has not started that well so missing all those players wont help.
At home HJK has been really strong as last season they lost two games in the Veikkausliiga but since then they have gone 18 matches in the Telia 5G Arena without a loss (14 wins). Still their odds now are probably highest they have been in years for a home match in the Veikkausliiga.
SJK team news
SJK on the other hand have started their season surprisingly well. Despite them having the second highest budget together with Honka, no one expected them to be fighting for the title this season. Now after 7 rounds they are second tied in points with leaders Ilves. Their success has been based on good defense as they have only conceded 4 goals in those seven games and lost only once.
Now they will get back Moshtagh Yaghoubi who returns from suspension. Also Billy Ions is getting better each day and might play a few more minutes. With him in the line-up their offense is stronger.
With the current HJK form and their missing players the main pick has to be SJK X2 Bethard with 1.90 odds .
KPV vs FC Lahti 15:00 Keskuskenttä, Kokkola
Bethard odds: 2.70 – 2.95 – 2.85
KPV finally gets their first home game in their city this season and its is starting to be a must win game for them. They have only 1 point to show for their opening 6 games. FC Lahti only has 1 win but also only 1 loss from their opening 6 games. Both need a win and a draw wont do.
KPV team news
KPV has struggled offensively all season and that needs to improve if they wish to remain in this league. The return to their home pitch should give them motivation as they were excellent there in the Ykkönen last season. That was though one level below so not sure if they can repeat it in the Veikkausliiga.
In their last game they gave a good fight against KuPS but despite leading 0-1, they lost 3-1 thanks to two added time goals. Still it was a sign that things might be improving. It will be interesting to see what kind of boost would it give to play again on their home stadium that has gotten a face lift during the winter to match Veikkausliiga requirements.
They have all other players available except Isaac Shaze.
Lahti team news
Lahti has been poor in the first halves of each of their games as they are still without a goal during the first half. They are actually the worst first half team as out of their 6 games, they have gone into half time behind 4 times and never in the lead. Still they are a team that hangs around and is not beaten easily as their only loss has come against league leaders Ilves in Tampere.
FC Lahti had a good game against SJK where they created plenty of chances but just could not put the ball into the net more than once. They will want to change that here.
They will have all other players available except Drilon Shala.
We will go with two picks here. First of all FC Lahti draw no bet with odds 1.86 (Bethard) and then over 2.5 goals. The odds for over is quite high as neither team has not been too defensive this season. Lahti can create chances and KPV should also be able at their home stadium where emotions and support will be high.
FC Honka vs VPS 15:00
Bethard odds: 1.74 – 3.55 – 4.90
VPS was the team that last season ended Honka´s unbeaten home record that had lasted for 5 years (Ever since Honka was relegated to the lower divisions). The matches between the teams were tight and both earned 4 points by winning one, drawing one and losing one. Honka is now currently 7th but they are still only 2 points from the top of the table, that is how tight the league is. VPS is looking for their first win of the season but also they have only lost 1 game and are currently on a 5-game draw streak.
Honka team news
Honka now returns to their home pitch after playing two games away from home where they lost to HIFK (2-0) and drew with Ilves (1-1). They seem to struggle a bit against well organised teams who defend well. Jury is still out if VPS is one of those teams. Honka has had problems with their own defense as they have had several injuries there. They have conceded in average 1.5 goals per game which is too much for a team that is supposed to be challenging for the title.
Gideon Baah is close to returning and if he does, that will give a boost to their defense. They will still miss from this match Luis Silva and Jonas Levänen due to injury and Henri Aalto due to suspension.
VPS team news
VPS has a good playing system and the team knows it well but still they need to start changing those draws into wins if they wish to get into the top-6 this season. They are a difficult team to beat and they seem to always have a chances to score but only once this season they have managed to score more than 1 goal in a game. They came from behind to draw with HJK in their last game and that has given them a morale boost. They expect though that this game will be different as Honka has more dangerous offensive players than what HJK had so VPS will not play so high pressing as they did in that game.
VPS will still miss Juho Lähde, Jesper Engström and Aatu Kujanpää but all of them are close to returning.
This is another tight game. Main pick is both teams to score 1.95. If Gideon Baah does not start, then also VPS X2 double chance