As sports bettors, we’ve reached the most desperate times of our betting lives.
With all of the major sports leagues across the globe having now closed up shop due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Belarus Premier League (Vysshaya Liga) is one of the very few we have left.
Not only does the country’s top soccer league plan to go forward with games per normal, which started last week, but their hockey league has continued as well. According to Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who is one of Europe’s last remaining dictators, the reaction to the virus is simply mass hysteria:
“Like those in Western Europe,” one should have 40-50 grams of vodka daily, go to a banya [Russian sauna] two to three times a week and keep working on a farm, as “tough work and a tractor can cure anything.”
Well, if you book it, we will come. Let’s take a look at a Saturday morning game where I’ve identified some value.
FC Minsk (+240) vs. FC Dinamo Minsk (+110), 10:00 AM EST (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
The home team FC Minsk comes into this matchup off one of the strongest performances of Week 1, a 3-1 victory over one of the more solid teams in the league in Belshina Bobruisk. After an early score by Bobruisk, Minsk fought back to score three goals over the remaining 80 minutes of play to clinch their first victory of the season.
Taking a quick peek back to 2019, Minsk struggled to string together wins but did close out with some momentum. In five of their last seven matches to end last season, Minsk was able to earn points in five of them to set themselves up for a strong 2020 start.
On the other side of this crosstown rivalry, Dinamo Minsk fell 1-0 in their opener last week to defending Vvsshaya Liga champion Rukh Brest. After an early corner kick goal, Dinamo couldn’t quite recover despite numerous chances inside the 18-yard box late. As has been a theme in these early-season empty stadium soccer matches, there were more missed target shots than vice versa.
The loss has continued a theme for Dinamo, who after finishing fourth place or better in five straight seasons prior, has fallen back a spot in each since finishing second in 2017. To end 2019, they lost three of their final four to miss the playoffs for the first season since 2015.
In Week 1 of Vvsshaya Liga, there were eight games, five of which ended with two goals or less, including four with a 1-0 finish. As this game pits two teams who play in the same town and know each other well, I expect a similar result and for this one to cruise well under a total of 2.5.