Superligabets: Danish Superliga 2016/2017 preview

6 July 2016 | 2:02 pm

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Superligabets: Danish Superliga 2016/2017 preview

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With only one week to go until the Danish
Superliga kicks off. It is time to look ahead to what is in store. The league
will change for the upcoming season. It has been expanded from 12 to 14 teams,
and the league will be split into a championship play-off and a relegation
play-off after 26 rounds. Top 6 will play to win the title, keeping the points
from the first 26 rounds. The last 8 will play in order to avoid relegation
(the best team gets a shot of European qualification), but not keeping the
points gathered so far. This was the short explanation. It will be interesting
to see how the first season with the new system evolves.
Summer
changes club-by-club
Position last season: 5th
Markus Holgersson – central defender
(Anothosis)
Marco Meilinger – winger (Austria Vienna)
Casper Sloth – central midfielder (Leeds)
Nicolaj Thomsen – winger (Nantes)
Lukas Spalvis – striker (Sporting Lisbon)
Kenneth Emil Petersen – central defender
(OB)
Rasmus Jönsson – attacker (OB)
AaB face a big challenge here. They have
lost their most important striker, their most important midfielder and their
most important defender. They have made some signings in order to replace them,
but it seems like they mostly look for replacements within the current squad. I
see AaB as severely weakened. It is not easy to lose the league top goalscorer
(Spalvis) and assist leader (Thomsen) from last season. AaB still have some
quality players with a strong commitment to the club, but it will be difficult
to improve compared to the last season.
Position last season: 10th
Martin Spelmann – midfielder
(Genclerbirligi)
Aleksandr Jovanovic – goalkeeper (Radnicki
Nic)
Mustafa Amini – midfielder (Randers)
Kim Aabech – offensive midfielder (Horsens)
Josip Elez – central defender (loan from
Lazio ended)
AGF had a fine return to the Superliga. I
think the deserved a higher position, and their fundamental stats from last
season suggest so too as they ranked 5th on SoTR for instance. One of the big
problems for AGF was the poor saving percentage. Actually, they had the lowest
saving percentage in the league by a distance, so the signing of Jovanovic
could potentially be vital. Spelmann and Amini should both add quality to the
midfield, while the departure of Elez will hurt as AGF were hoping to maintain
him. AGF also have some offensive issues as key striker Morten Duncan Rasmussen
picked up an injury in pre-season and could be out for the start of the season.
AGF have no clear back-up, but in the strongest formation, AGF should be able
to improve the 10th place from last season.
Position last season: 4th
Jonas Borring – winger (Randers)
Benedikt Röcker – central defender
(Greuther Fürth)
Daniel Agger – central defender (end of
career)
Riza Durmisi – left back (Betis)
Martin Ørnskov – central midfielder
(Lyngby)
Magnus Eriksson – offensive midfielder
(Djurgården)
Johan Elmander – striker (out of contract)
Brøndby’s main signing is probably the new
head coach, Alexander Zorninger. Zorninger has recently coached Stuttgart and
is known for a high-pressing strategy, which will mean that we will see Brøndby
playing very differently. Brøndby have not impressed on the transfer market.
Borring and Röcker look like decent signings, but the two Danish internationals
Agger and Durmisi will be very hard to replace. Brøndby look weaker than last
season, but last season had so much off-the-pitch chaos that Brøndby could
improve just based on more stability off-the-pitch. However, I am slightly
concerned about the new strategy. It could take time to implement, why Brøndby
could suffer at the start of the season.
Position last season: 11th
Mads Hvilsom – striker/winger (Eintracht
Braunschweig)
Brent McGrath – striker (FC Fredericia)
Lasse Rise – striker (Lyngby)
Mick van Buren – striker (Slavia Prague)
Mohammed Fellah – offensive midfielder (FC
Nordsjælland)
Chaos! Esbjerg have already fired head
coach Jonas Dal after only a short stint in charge. No replacements have been
found yet. The players have seemed less than happy for a longer period, and
there have not seemed to be a clear strategy with the signings. However,
Esbjerg have a lot of expensive players in the squad, and if the right coach
arrives, we might see them improve significantly. The other could also be the
case, and Esbjerg certainly risk relegation if they don’t improve compared to
last season.
Position last season: 1st
Jan Gregus – central midfielder (Jablonec)
Andrija Pavlovic – striker (Cukaricki)
Rasmus Falk – offensive midfielder (OB)
Nicolai Jørgensen – attacker (Feyenoord)
FC Copenhagen were significantly stronger
than every other team last season and I expect the same to be the case here.
They have lost Jørgensen who you could argue to being the best player in the
league, but they have made some nice signings. Gregus is a Slovakian
international, Pavlovic is a talented Serbian striker, while Rasmus Falk is an
excellent player that also leaded the assist table last season. FC Copenhagen
will probably also lose central midfielder Delaney, which will be a big loss,
but with the signings made, I expect to see FC Copenhagen at the same dominant
level.
Position last season: 3rd
Markus Halsti – central midfielder/defender
(DC United)
Nikolaj Bodurov – central defender (loan
from Fulham ended)
Kristian Bach Bak – right bak (end of
career)
Petter Andersson – offensive midfielder
(out of contract)
Rilwan Hassan – winger (out of contract)
FC Midtjylland is probably the only team
with a decent shot at taking the title. However, I see them as somewhat
weakened compared to last season. They lost important players in the winter
break, and the same is the case here without new ones arriving. However, the
starting eleven is still of fine quality. Of the departures, only Hassan seems
like a loss as Bodurov was an ordinary defender, while Bak and Andersson were
too troubled by injuries. For FC Midtjylland to challenge FC Copenhagen, they
will need some of their many young talents like Duelund and Sisto to step up.
Position last season: 9th
Mohammed Fellah – offensive midfielder
(Esbjerg)
Emre Mor – attacker (Dortmund)
David Moberg Karlsson – winger (IFK
Norrköping)
Martin Vingaard – central midfielder (out
of contract)
FC Nordsjælland did not impress me last
season. However, it seems like FC Nordsjælland are mainly investing in evolving
talents, and this seem to be working according to plans with the major sale of
Mor to Dortmund. I think the FC Nordsjælland lack experience, and with the
departure of Vingaard, the side is only getting younger and more inexperienced.
However, given the investment in using talents last season, maybe it will
pay-off this season with many players being on a higher level. In any case, I
would surprised to see FC Nordsjælland reach the play-offs.
Position last season: 3rd in the 1st
Division
Kim Aabech – offensive midfielder (AGF)
Hallur Hansson – central midfielder (Vendsyssel FF)

Horsens arrived in the new Superliga on the
last open position, so they should expect to face a tough season. I think they
have made some great signings. Hansson was an important player for Vendsyssel,
while Aabech is a highly skilled player that just did not fit into the new
style of playing for AGF. Aabech should be a profile for Horsens. We should
expect to see Horsens as a very hard working team that will try to make matches
physical as they have many strong players.
Position last season: 1st in 1st Division
Jesper Hansen – goalkeeper (Bastia)
Martin Ørnskov – central midfielder
(Brøndby)
Lasse Rise – striker (Esbjerg)
I think Lyngby have made some quality
signings. Hansen is solid goalkeeper, while Ørnskov has a lot of experience.
Rise is a striker that have had many problems with injuries in the past, but
when fit he is a force. Rumours suggest that Lyngby will be attracting even
more quality, so I think we should see a Lyngby team that won’t be an easy
opponent for anyone. If they get into a good run, they might even challenge for
play-offs.
Position last season: 7th
Kenneth Emil Petersen – central defender
(AaB)
Jeppe Tverskov – central defender (Randers)
Joao Pereira – back (SønderjyskE)
Rasmus Jönsson – attacker (AaB)
Rasmus Falk – offensive midfielder (FC
Copenhagen)
Lasse Nielsen – central defender (Lech
Poznan)
I think OB have made some really
interesting signings. They have had major problems at the back, and with the
signings of Petersen, Pereira and Tverskov they add experience and talent. This
should mean that OB should look significant more solid at the back. Offensively,
they could get into problems. Falk was without a doubt the most important
player in OB as he was the creative force of the team. Jönsson is the
replacement, but he will have to improve significantly from his level in AaB
last season.
Position last season: 6th
Frederik Due – goalkeeper (HB Køge)
Kasper Enghardt – central midfielder
(Helsingør)
Kalle Johnsson – goalkeeper (Guingamp)
Jeppe Tverskov – central defender (OB)
Mustafa Amini – central midfielder (AGF)
Randers were one of the strongest team in
spring, but I fear that they might look entirely different after the summer
break. They have lost the head coach Colin Todd, and replaced him with
Kristjansson who did not have much success in FC Nordsjælland. They have lost a
quality goalkeeper in Johnsson and replaced him with a 1st Division goalkeeper.
They have lost a central midfielder and replaced him with another 1st Division
player, and the absence of Tverskov have not been covered. I think Randers have
some good players in the offensive part of the pitch, but they could face
issues defensively.
Position last season: 2nd in 1st Division
Niels Bisp – central defender (Vejle)
Nicolaj Ritter – left back (SønderjyskE)
Not much has happened in Silkeborg after
the promotion. They have signed Bisp to improve the defence, while the talented
Ritter has left. Silkeborg is a team with many experienced players, and I think
we will see them playing defensively in order to secure another year in the
league, but they are deservedly among the favourites for relegation.
Position last season: 2nd
Nicolaj Ritter – left back (Silkeborg)
Matthias Maak – central defender (SV
Grödig)
Joao Pereira – left back (OB)
Francis Dickoh – central defender (out of
contract)
SønderjyskE had a fantastic season, where
they really overperformed. Now they face a difficult second season, where they
also have to focus on European football (at least two extra matches). They have
not upgraded the squad, but mostly focused on replacing the departing players.
I don’t expect them to do as well next season. Their fundamental stats
suggested a position from 4th to 8th last season, but SønderjyskE were so
efficient in front of goal, where no other team could match their scoring
percentage. I don’t see them doing this again and with the squad unimproved and
more matches to play, I think we will see them fade.
Position last season: 8th
Christian Keller – central midfielder
(Randers)
Andreas Bruhn – winger (AaB)
Oliver Thychosen – winger (FC Nordsjælland)
Jung-Bin Park – attacker (Hobro)
Lukas Lerager – central midfielder (Zulte
Waregem)
Sebastian Andersen – winger (Hobro)
Viborg did perform above expectations last
season. They were solid at the back and had some spectacular offensive players
to create some danger. The departure of Lerager will concern as he was
important on a very hard-working central midfield. Keller is the obvious replacement,
but he is an old guy and no longer in his hey-day. Offensively, the signing of
Park is interesting. He is a player with great technique and finishing, so it
could be a nice move. However, if Viborg should sell Deble as rumours indicate,
Viborg look severely weakened in the front-line. Viborg are set to start the
season with injury worries in the central defence, why they could get a poor
start.
Based on inputs in the form of Shots on
target ratio (SOTR), scoring percentage and saving percentage, I have tried to
simulate the upcoming Superliga season. Below you find my prediction for
winner, play-off qualification (top 6) and relegation. Need to keep in mind
that is based on a model, where my inputs are fundamental. If the inputs are wrong,
things will change significantly. However, the model should prove a good base
for what to expect in the season.

FC Copenhagen to win the league

Odds:
1.50 at Bet365

FC Copenhagen appear significantly stronger
than all other clubs. FC Midtjylland could have had a chance, but they have not
invested in their squad – in fact more the opposite, so in a season expanded
with 3 more matches, FC Copenhagen’s big squad should show their superiority.

Odds:
10 at Unibet

Very nice price from Unibet. Santander was
deadly in spring, scoring 12 goals in 15 matches. He is the target man for FC
Copenhagen, the major favourite to win the league. I have him as clear
favourite to take this title, and I doubt FC Copenhagen will sell him in the
winter break, they would rather keep him until the end of the season. One of
the main rivals, Morten Rasmussen of AGF, just picked up an injury and is set
to miss the start of the season.

Odds:
2.25 at Bet365

OB have improved their backline
significantly and in a period, where most other teams seem to have sold out, OB
appear to have improved. I think they stand a good chance of obtaining a top 6
spot as they have a solid backline, a good midfield and some very dangerous
attackers (Festersen and Jacobsen). Yes, offensive ace Falk has left for FC
Copenhagen, but OB should have a good chance anyway.
Esbjerg to relegate directly

Odds:
10 at Danske Spil

Situation is very chaotic in Esbjerg. No
current permanent head coach. No clear strategy. Poor commitment from the
players – several looking for an exit. Esbjerg should have a too strong
material to go down, but given the new style of the relegation race, it could
easily happen if they have a poor period at the end of the season. I think odds
10 is a nice price for a very unbalanced team. 

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