It is an action packed Sunday in the Veikkausliiga with three big games; RoPS vs Ilves, IFK Mariehamn vs FC Inter and HIFK vs KuPS
HIFK vs KuPS 18:30 Telia 5G Arena, Helsinki
Bethard odds: 3.95 – 3.40 – 1.95
This would be an ideal time for the home side to beat KuPS but you have to worry about fatigue with them. This is already their 4th game in 14 days. KuPS has enjoyed a bit of a lucky run and have won their last 3 games. A win here now could move them top of the table as long as Ilves does not win their own game.
HIFK knows KuPS very well as the KuPS head coach Jani Honkavaara used to be the head coach of HIFK when they originally came back to the Veikkausliiga 5 years ago.
HIFK team news
HIFK might be on 11th position right now having earned 5 points from their opening 6 games. The standings do not tell the whole truth as HIFK has only let in 5 goals in those 6 games. The team has had a solid defense and they are difficult to beat. Their problem has been in scoring goals as they have only found the net 4 times with only KPV scoring less.
HIFK will miss from this game Tero Mäntylä who is out suspended.
KuPS team news
KuPS started their season with 4 games without a win. Since then they have won three in a row but all of those wins have been somewhat lucky. They beat RoPS with probably their only good chance in that game 0-1. They then did an amazing comeback against IFK Mariehamn where they were down 3-0 at half time only to win 3-4. In their last game against KPV they scored two added time goals to win 3-1 in a match which was normally quite even.
They are not playing well right now which makes me think that they could eventually maybe win the league. They have the potential to play so much better, like they did with the same team at the end of last season. If they reach that level, they could be champions by the end of it.
HIFK playing style could be really poison to the shaky KuPS defense but I do worry about fatigue with them. Still main pick is HIFK double chance Bethard with 1.83 odds .
IFK Mariehamn vs FC Inter 18:30 Wiklöf Holding Arena, Mariehamn
Bethard odds: 2.60 – 3.15 – 2.80
This is one of the top games this round with both teams standing on 10 points at the moment with IFK Mariehamn having played 1 game less. Mariehamn is dangerous at home on their natural grass on a pitch which is a bit smaller than normal but FC Inter is playing good football right now having won their last two games. This could be a great game.
Last season FC Inter won at home and away and one of the matches in Turku ended in a draw. This season FC Inter beat IFK Mariehamn in the group stage of the Cup 2-1 despite eventually IFKM progressing all the way to the semi-finals.
IFK Mariehamn team news
The islanders played already one game this week as they visited HIFK and drew 1-1. They are a team who can play good football but they do have some slumps in form even in the middle of the game like when they let a 3-0 lead against KuPS go and lost 3-4. They are capable of scoring many goals as in their 6 games they have scored 14 goals. Their strength is in the fact that they can score in many different ways and they have many who can score. So far they have 7 different goalscorers.
FC Inter team news
FC Inter has played really well in their last two games where they beat HJK 4-1 and then RoPS 3-0. Both of those games were at home and it was a strong performance. But with Inter you never know what you can get. Either you get this great performance where they press the ball aggressively and dominate the game or it is the Inter who makes a lot of defensive mistakes and lose the match. With Jose Riveiro, they do look like a different team than the previous seasons so there is hope.
Inter will miss from this game Eero Tamminen, Elias Mastokangas, Albion Ademi, Luciano Balbi, Hanson Boakai and Aleksi Paananen.
This game could go either way so the best bet here is goals. Main pick is over 2.5 goals with odds 1.90 (Bethard)
RoPS vs Ilves 18:30 Keskuskenttä, Rovaniemi
Bethard odds: 3.50 – 2.95 – 2.30
Ilves lost the top spot yesterday with SJK drawing their match against HJK, but can get it back with a win here. Ilves is the only undefeated team remaining in the league and in fact they have failed to lose any game during 2019. Last year´s silver medal team RoPS has not been at the same level this season and find themselves on 9th position. Still though the margins are very small as RoPS is only 6 points behind SJK having played a game less.
All of the matches last season ended in a home win between the teams and in each game the visitors failed to score. RoPS won two of those matches. This season the teams met in the Finnish Cup with the match ending 1-1 in Tampere.
Ilves has not beaten RoPS in Rovaniemi since 1992.
RoPS team news
RoPS has struggled with injuries this season but still they are not at the same level as last season. Their defense is not as strong as last season. They have already conceded 10 goals in their opening seven games with Inter hitting three past them in their last game. At home they are a much better team but still they need to improve their offense. They have only scored five goals so far and with the defense leaking goals, they cannot get points.
Ilves team news
Ilves has been solid at the back but in the last game against Honka they conceded their first goal this season. Offensively they have only scored 5 goals, but with a solid defense that is enough. They are difficult to break down and in counter attacking and set pieces they are very dangerous.
Ilves will miss Mikael Almen, Matias Ojala, Santeri Haarala, Naatan Skyttä and Samuel Afum. Lauri Ala-Myllymäki is a doubt but Ilari Mettälä is fit again.
This should be a tight game. Ilves does not get many points from Rovaniemi usually but now they have a chance as long as Lauri Ala-Myllymäki plays. Under 2 goals with 1.71 odds is the main pick