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Bulgarian First League 2017-2018

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    Bulgarian First League 2017-2018

    Season starts this weekend (tomorrow, 14.07.2017) and all expectations are for another victorious campaign of Ludogorets. Fact that bookies are backing Ludogorets with odds between 1.25-35 in the pre-season outright betting are indicative for club's superiority but to be honest they are not so active on the transfer market so far. Mostly with selling players.... and after last night's defeat to Zalgiris in Lithuania it's obvious they need to strengthen the squad, especially at the back. Nevertheless, Ludogorets is the main favourite mostly because other clubs are less competitive.
    Expected position: Champions (1st)

    CSKA Sofia were suspended by UEFA and they won't be able to play in Europe next year as well. This makes their season meaningful only if they become champions and win the league. IMO they're main competitors (if there are any) to Ludogorets and "The Reds" will be keen to end Ludogorets' winning streak.
    Expected position: Main title challengers but most likely 2nd

    Levski were pretty active on the transfer market and they will also try to put Ludogorets on pressure. Signings of Jordi Gomez, Antonio Vutov, Nelut Rosu, Georgi Angelov, Nelut Rosu will improve their line in midfield, while Bus and Mapuku are good attacking options. However, their defense is not so impressive and this can be crucial for the h2h games, in case they are close to Ludogorets/CSKA. Of course, we are still mid-July and there's more time for Levski to improve the squad.
    Expected position: Top 3 (2nd/3rd)

    Dunav Ruse - finished 4th last season but I will be extremely surprised if they repeat the same performances. This time they will play at home (in Ruse) as last season they had to play in Razgrad for most of the time, except last few rounds.
    Expected position: Top 6 challenger (playoffs)

    Lokomotiv Plovdiv - 5th last year but they need to improve the squad as well. I'm sure Botev and Beroe will be motivated to reach top 6 and this will be a challenge for all clubs who were 4th-6th last year.
    Expected position: Top 6 challenger (playoffs)

    Cherno More - 6th in season 2016-17. Same as Dunav and Lokomotiv Plovdiv, but IMO they're in a better position to claim a top six position. Georgi Ivanov made some decent signings for Bulgarian league and released some of the players who were considered for gaps. Ilias Hassani and Aleksandar Aleksandrov can build a decent centre-back duo.
    Expected position: 4th-6th.

    Beroe/Botev Plovdiv - Both clubs were out of the top 6 playoffs last season and I believe they will put more effort, but are they capable? Botev Plovdiv looks well and they have a better chance to replace someone from Dunav/Lokomotiv/Cherno More in top 6, while Beroe remains a mystery for me. There were some rumours that Dimitar Berbatov can play for Beroe (coaching staff are good friends of him) until New Year, if he fails to find a new club.
    Expected positions: Top 6 challengers

    Slavia Sofia/Vereya/Pirin - I highly doubt they can make it to top 6 but the level is not so high so in good circumstances... who knows. Most likely all of these clubs will be between 7th-10th position.

    Newcomers: Etar, Septemvri Sofia, Vitosha Bistritsa. I don't have any impressions over them and need to watch them a bit. Anyway, I will be surprised if they achieve more than being a relegation challengers.

    All summer transfers:

    Slavia - CSKA

    This is a high stake bet for me personally. Let's first talk about football aspects. The game is played at neutral venue - national stadium. The ratio of fans will be about 99:1 for CSKA (yes, Slavia are not very popular). CSKA considered by all as the only opponent of Ludogorets this season. They strengthened and developed their team, achieved fantastic results in friendlies.

    Slavia will be the same mediocre team without ambitions as each year.

    I have not only football arguments for this bet, although football arguments also point heavily in CSKA direction. The owners of these two teams are very close and have many common business interests. They are so close, that after Grisha Ganchev became owner of CSKA, Slavia's boss in each interview began to mention CSKA and always in positive way. He's speaking not as a president of Slaiva, but as some hardcore CSKA supporter.

    I remember last season two games Slavia-CSKA. They were both in the autumn, when CSKA was still very poor and not settled yet. CSKA had many negative results back then, but they still won twice vs Slavia. In the first game, Slaiva had several one-on-one when it was 0:0, but Slavia players suspiciously were kicking the ball long and wide away from the goal.

    CSKA needs the 3 points, each point can be crucial in the battle with their enemy Ludogorets. I think they will win comfortably even if the game is 100% pure, but I believe if they have a bad day, Slavia players might also help them get the 3 points.

    CSKA-1AH @ 2.0


      In few mins starts Botev - Purim

      I was thinking a lot what to do, since our team Botev has extremely important game in EL vs Beitar on Thursday. Odds started from1.85-1.90 wen to 2.10 but now gain 1.80 on home win. Nevertheless mostly regulars starting today.

      The away team has financial problems and had to fill the group of players with youngsters.

      All in all even with one eye of the game vs Beitar the home team shouldn't loose today. Odds 1.40 on dnb is small but cannot see false start here.

      Inplay bet on Botev is also option with odds at 2.0
      Unfortunately the game is without spectators due to suspension


        OK. SOME bad calls but 1st round always tricky.

        Botev was out of gas after Beitar game and lost deserved.

        I'll be more patient next few rounds but still soon the picture over the teams should get better


          The biggest problem of all our clubs except Ludogorets is that they have no quality replacements on the bench. Botev kept their efforts against Pirin and that was expected, but this is just our mentality. The BFU also postponed the game between Levski and Ludogorets from the first round. That is madness. A decision against the football game. What a shame! CSKA totally underestimated Slavia and the result was shocking for everybody in Bulgaria.


            Pirin and Lokomotiv Plovdiv are struggling financially and these two clubs won't play a significant role in this championship. They won't relegate, because Etar, Septemvri and Vitosha Bistritsa are mediocre teams and relegation material. The most obvious progress in this championship is in Botev Plovdiv, but if they sell their best player Oumar Kossoko, they will start to struggle. Cherno More will play some role this year. They will be a tough team and most teams will have hard times in Varna. The title race is expected to be between Ludogorets and CSKA, but it is going to be extremely difficult, most probably even impossible, for CSKA to stop Ludogorets dominance, because Ludogorets owners possess the BFU and they decide everything like referees appointments, sanctions, fines, paying bonuses to opponents, paying salaries of financially insecured teams to play against their opponents and not to give 100% against Ludogorets and so on. I am sure that CSKA will give Ludogorets a fight, but I do not rate CSKA chances more than 15-20%, because Ludogorets also is a classy team with great players. Levski will finish 3rd for sure. We saw them against Hajduk and they are far away from Ludogorets and CSKA level. They will lose lots of points until their group of players gel.


              Today's games

              17.45 h Vereya - Cherno More 3.10 - 3.10 - 2.37

              20.00 h Vitosha - Etar 3.40 - 3.10 - 2.25


              Both games hard to predict
              Vereya vs Cherno More looks more like underish affair as both teams proved they like the slogan "safety first". but I'll stay away or wait for in-play bets. I smell that these two can surprise with not standard result But you know - just a feeling - could be wrong. Offc. Cherno More is sharper in attack, but not so great at all. Wouldn't be surprise to see any outcome here. Vereya still looks like solid midtable team for Bulgarian standarts, at least in the beginning. Cherno more - hard to call , but it won't be better than last season I guess.

              Vitosha vs Etar - Odds on Etar falling big today wich is surprising. Both newcomers started with loss and look average. Etar has better roster on paper, but they were soo disappointing in their first game. In last hours the visitors signed 2 forwards and one of them could start today, but I don't think these players posses great quality. Both teams see this as 6-points-game and are desperate to win and pick up some moral. In the moment the value is on Vitosha +0.25 - odds 1.85 @bet365. However I'll not put more than 1 unit, as it is still early to become the full picture of how bad these teams are.
              Last edited by _canary_; 21-07-17, 15:51.


                In my view, both games will end UNDER 2.5 goals. The season just started and all teams are not in good form. Teams still have to gel and improve. Etar and Vitosha are very poor defensively, while Cherno More is a solid team. Last season Vereya was underish team at home and I expect a game with lots of fight and lack of football. This is so typical for Cherno More away games. Good luck to all.


                  Well, the result of Vereya and Cherno More is quite shocking. I am sure that nobody expected Varna to win in Stara Zagora with 4 goals to 0. Vereya were piss poor in defence. There were some situations of misunderstanding in their central defence pair which were so rude that it may even looks suspicious. There are some rumours that financially Vereya are not in good condition, so we have to avoid betting on them or at least keep the stakes low until we know the truth. Cherno More looked very compact and fresh, but their problem from several years is the inconsistence. If they change their mentality and become more consistent during the season then they could even argue with Levski for the 3rd place. But it is too early yet for such conclusions.

                  Pirin - Septemvri

                  Pirin started this campaign with a win against high-flying Botev Plovdiv, which was a little bit surprising, because Pirin always struggle when they visit Plovdiv, nevermind who they play, Botev or Lokomotiv. Now, Pirin looks like a clear favourite against Septemvri. I cannot understand why odds on Pirin are so high. No one expects anything from Septemvri, because they have no fans, just their owner. There are some experienced players in Septemvri like Galchev and Trifonov. Septemvri will play without any pressure, while Pirin may find it difficult if they do not score an early goal. Pirin has temperament fans and won't be happy if Pirin do not smash Septemvri from the first half. We should know that it will be 34 degrees when the game starts and this will influence the game. I see underish game again and a possible surprise. In the face of Dimitar Vasev, Septemvri also has an experienced coach. He lead Lokomotiv Sofia to the bronze medals two or three years ago, when Lokomotiv and CSKA Sofia was expulsed from our championship due to some debts, but by order of Ludogorets owner. But this is another story. So, if I have to choose a bet in this game it will be UNDER 2.5 goals and also Septemvri +0.75.

                  CSKA - Ludogorets

                  This is a do-or-die game for home team in order to show its ambitions for a title challenger in this campaign. This is a must win for CSKA, while for Ludogorets is just a game like all others. CSKA will play with its best players, while Ludogorets will rotate for sure, but their bench players are high quality and may beat CSKA with ease. I won't continue with all possible factors surrounding this game, but weather conditions will be perfect for football. Both teams are not defensive minded and their defences are not working well. CSKA was shocked by Slavia in last round (1-1), while Ludogorets was shocked twice by Zalgiris (2-1) in Lithuania and an early lead for Zalgiris in Razgrad (4-1). So, I expect BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE in this game.


                    Time is flying , so I'll be short

                    Pirin - Septemvri
                    Offcourse home team has the edge here, but the problem will be that Pirin feels good when they don't need to build the game, but just stay sharp on counters when the opponent looses the ball. That's how they won away at Botev. Now they are in the opposite position. Septemvri is the underdog and despite making a poor start, I will be careful and only recommend live bet on Pirin if they look sharp. Odds on home team are tasty @1.80, I hardly see them losing, but let's not forget home team has some financial problems and short list of players which offcourse can lead too upset sooner or later.

                    CSKA -Ludogorets
                    -Ludogorets is vulnerable as long as they have CL quali. CSKA set as favourite by the bookies, so again no v alue for me. I think both teams are afraid to loose and I could put 1 unit on the draw as a pre match bet.
                    Last edited by _canary_; 22-07-17, 17:20.


                      Today :

                      Slavia - Botev 2.25 - 3.25 - 3.20

                      Botev has to rest some important players before the EL game with Maritimo. Everyone in the club is thinking about Europe League. Therefore Slavia is set as favourite by the bookies. They got ok performance in 1st round drewing 1-1 with CSKA. Now they will play on their home stadium (not at the national stadium) after more than 1 year.
                      Botev will take care not to loose 2nd game in a row in domestic championship because of the efforts in EL.
                      No pre match bet for me.
                      Last edited by _canary_; 23-07-17, 08:46.


                        20.00 h CET

                        Loko Plovdiv - Levski 3.20- 3..25 - 2.25

                        Levski got upset again in EL and they will look to bounce back. They have more practice than Loko in official games , so that could be decisive. Off course so many new players means time to gel together but still I'm going with Levski here, MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS IN LOKO.

                        Top goalscorer, captain , playing legend Kamburov left because of unpaid salaries. As I already wrote last week, players have received only 1-2 salaries from the beginning of this year and 4-5 first team players left in the break. Loko still with OK performance in first round - away win 2-1 over Etar, but the problems remaining. Today I expect that the players could be affected after the depart of their captain and some accusations btw him and the owner of the club.
                        Levski -0.25 @sbobet- odds 1.96 - careful with the stakes as the away team is also in a bad mood with coach, that nobody likes 5/10


                          Lokomotiv Plovdiv - Levski

                          Fully agree with _canary_ here. Loko Plovdiv is not going to play a significant role in this championship. They have financial problems. In recent years Loko Plovdiv is Levski's little bitch. They fixed lots of games HT/FT (1/2 and 2/1). Loko Plovdiv absolutely everytime give 3 points to Levski when the Blues need them. Of course when Levski don't need 3 points Loko Plovdiv is the winner. Now, it is the beginning of the season, Loko won 3 points against Etar and will give 3 points to Levski in order to boost Levski's campaign as a title contender, nevermind how illusionary looks this. Also Levski want to move in front of CSKA in the standing. So, LEVSKI TO WIN is the most reasonable bet here.

                          Slavia - Botev Plovdiv

                          Slavia sold their most talented defender Petko Hristov to Fiorentina this week and his brother Andrea Hristov (national U19 player) will take his place. I watched this guy Andrea Hristov against Germany at the EUFA U19 EC in Georgia. He is a totally unexperienced and clueless defender. This will make Slavia defence quite vulnerable. Botev is searching for first points and they will try to score. In my view, BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE is the best option in this game.
                          Last edited by valdi; 23-07-17, 18:37.


                            both games today smell like goals to me

                            loko are having some internal issues but levski has a crap manager and problems on goal and at the back. however, levski's offense is very strong for our league, i imagine there are only a handful of teams who can hope to keep a clean sheet regardless of circumstances. the main problem of the team is the manager who is like a mouse in derbies - afraid of everything. now there's pressure on him and i think levski will go out today and play with the same mentality as against hajduk - scared to play. loko has decent squad even without kamburov. moreover the games between these two are generally open with a lot of chances, i dont see why it should be any different tonight.

                            its true that botev's thoughts are already directed towards the game with maritimo but slavia are average. while they do have some promising youngsters i find it hard to believe they can control any game, simply not mentally prepared to do it. however i believe both teams will score one way or another simply because they play unorthodox (for bulgaria) offense relying on unpredictability (creativity). defense is not the forte of either team. botev lost at home in the opening round against a weak opponent so they have to compensate somehow, i'm sure they'll be looking for a point at least. slavia on the other hand managed a draw against cska where they should've lost perhaps. i think they'll be looking to build upon that with a win. they always play for a win at home except in games against top 3 - ludogorets, cska and levski where they play conservatively for 1 point.

                            i've been talking mentality this mentality that so i feel i need to clarify what i mean. simply there is only one team prepared enough both phyically and mentally in bulgaria who can control a game and that is ludogorets. there are others like cska and levski for example who can play at the same level but only for a short period of teh game. for cska its in the opening minutes of each half, for levski its near the end. i think one of the reasons for that is players in those clubs are required to give 101% from the get go because the fans are very critical and demanding and the players are sometimes not in the right frame of mind throughout the game. that lowers the efficiency as time goes. of course there are other factors but from my objective point of view as an outsider that is the most important thing. the second most important would be that a lot of the players dont have the basics of MODERN football right. movement off the ball, covering and proper passing patterns are something very foreign to them and often there are only 2-3 players in the starting 11 who can do it. in bulgaria no one aside from ludogorets is trying to play slow buildup tactics.


                              What f1ght3r wrote is absolutely true and I am signing on his post with both of my hands. Actually it is very good post. Well done.


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