Jason Pettigrove has previewed the Belarusian Premier League market, and he believes that BATE Borisov can break their duck this weekend in their match against Rukh Brest...
"Both teams to score in the first half, as they go looking for a foothold, can be backed at 9/2 on the Sportsbook, and it's worth looking at a 2-1 BATE win at 11/2 as a secondary wager."
All of the focus for football supporters has turned to the Belarusian Premier League, known locally as the Vysheyshaya Liga, because it is the only professional league that is still playing at this point.
From a historical perspective, the league is relatively new having only been founded in 1992. Minsk is the capital of Belarus and has four teams in the league including the current leaders.
The Belarusian Classico is still seen as the biggest game in the league season, and this is played between Dinamo Minsk and BATE Borisov.
Everything to play for
With only two matches played of the current season, there's plenty of action ahead, with a total of 30 gameweeks running through to late November - the 16 teams in the league play each other home and away.
FC Minsk are atop the table on goals scored. Although their goal difference from two wins is identical to Energetik-BGU's, they've scored two goals more. Joining them with a 100% record are Isloch and Torpedo BelAZ.
From the upcoming fixtures, the game of the weekend is undoubtedly the one being played between the top two, and goals are almost certainly guaranteed when Energetik-BGU host FC Minsk on Sunday afternoon.
FC Minsk have scored more than any other team this season, and since the start of the last campaign, matches involving Energetik-BGU have seen 120 goals scored, 28 more than any other team's matches in the same time frame.
At the opposite end of the table, Dinamo Minsk, not to be confused with the table-toppers and the only team formerly involved in the Soviet top division (pre-1992), are one of four teams with no points.
They've let in 14 goals in their last six Premier League games, and have conceded three or more in four of those matches. Torpedo BelAZ haven't conceded in their two games this season, both of their wins coming by 1-0.
Stuttering start for prolific champions
The other teams down at the bottom are Belshina, Gorodeya and, very surprisingly, BATE Borisov. From 2006 to 2018, BATE won 13 successive titles, and were only beaten into second place last season by Dinamo Brest.
It's worth noting that BATE's five goals conceded is the most of any team in the league in 2020, and their two defeats represent the first time they've lost consecutive matches since November 2016.
Next up for them is a home game against Rukh Brest, who have kept clean sheets in five of their last six away games, five of which they've won, drawing the other.
It's difficult to imagine that BATE would lose another, though Rukh Brest will give them a tough examination. Both teams to score in the first half, as they go looking for a foothold, can be backed at 9/2 on the Sportsbook, and it's worth looking at a 2-1 BATE win at 11/2 as a secondary wager.
Champions make a pleasing start
With four points from their opening couple of matches, last season's Belarus Premier League champions Dinamo Brest are nicely placed just behind the leaders. Incredibly, they've lost just one of their last 34 league games, conceding only 23 goals in the process.
They entertain Slavia at the weekend, and in the last five meetings between these two sides, Slavia have conceded a total of 13 goals. Backing Dinamo Brest to win 3-0 at 11/2 is worth a second look.
Isloch host Slutsk on Sunday on the back of starting this new campaign with back-to-back clean sheets (won 1-0 each time) having not been able to keep a clean sheet in any of their final 13 games of last season.
Slutsk have won their last three on the road, each time by a one-goal margin, and equal top goalscorer in the league, Artyom Serdyuk, will be looking to add to his two goals so far this term. With a low scoring game expected, odds of 9/2 about the 1-1 scoreline make some appeal.