Russian Football Premier League Week 28: Betting Advice and Previews


From this spring, we are happy to announce that we have changed the format of the RFN Betting Advice. Instead of only covering a few games, from now on we’ll give you previews to all eight RFPL games each round, with an extensive look at one game, the Game of the Round. 

In these previews, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the top flight, from injuries to form as well as all the chaotic aspects that surround the beautiful game in Russia. 

We have previously proven that we can make serious money by betting on Russian football, so we’ll, of course, continue to provide you with betting advice for each game. The writer covering the game receives €10 from placing any bet, and we’ll be updating our accounts before each round, meaning there’s full transparency with our winnings and losses.

Game of the Round: 10:00 BST: FC Ural – FC Krasnodar

By Ilya Sokolov (@Lokosokol)

With three games left to play, Ural and Krasnodar meet each other in a game that is crucial to both sides. Poor form has got both clubs into trouble, and they are now forced to get more points in the bag if they want to avoid huge failures. Ural are just three points above the relegation zone, while Krasnodar are three points from losing their Europa League qualification.

Ural need to drag themselves up

0-2, 0-1, 2-5, 0-2, 1-3. These are the results of Ural’s last five games. The catastrophic run has dragged the Bumblebees from Ekaterinburg back into the fight for survival, as they are currently 12th in the league, just three points above the relegation playoff zone. It is far from the Europa League spot they dreamed about earlier this season.

Earlier this month, Ural (literally) fought Lokomotiv Moscow in the Cup final, where they, despite big expectations, delivered a terribly dull performance and they never really came close to threatening their Muscovite opponents. Leading up to the final, the Orange-Blacks were smashed by Terek Grozny, 5-2, and even relegation-threatened Krylya Sovetov managed to beat them as Ural probably focused a bit too much on the upcoming final for their own good.

Now, they have to pick themselves up after the many disappointments, but that is probably easier said than done as all the momentum Ural built up with the nice start in the spring and the great cup run is long gone.

Staying in the RFPL will require a lot of heart and work for Ural, and both them and FC Orenburg, who are 13th, will face Ufa and Lokomotiv in their last games of the season. Neither of the opponents have anything left to play for, but considering the fight at the end of the cup final, some Lokomotiv players could be motivated to punish and beat Ural once again. Lastly, Orenburg have a difficult game against Rostov, who are fighting with Krasnodar to finish fourth. Considering the schedule, Ural shouldn’t feel safe just yet, even with their three point lead.

Not the usual Krasnodar

Looking back, it is obvious now that Igor Shalimov wasn’t the right guy to replace former Krasnodar coach Oleg Kononov. Shalimov’s Krasnodar is nothing but a faded copy of the smart and bright team we grew acustomed to. So far this month, the Bulls have drawn with Anzhi Makhachkala (0-0) and lost 1-0 to FC Orenburg, and their Europa League spot is now in danger. Their poor run has allowed both Terek and Rostov to get close once again, and with three games left, Krasnodar’s gap is down to three points.

When looking at Krasnodar’s remaining games, the advantage goes to Terek and Rostov, who both have significantly easier schedules than the Green-Blacks. Apart from what should be a walk-over in Tomsk against Tom, Krasnodar also travel to St. Petersburg to face Zenit.

Team news

Ural’s Edgar Manachuryan and Artyom Fidler were both sent off in the cup final against Lokomotiv, but their suspensions only count for the cup, meaning they’ll be ready to face Krasnodar. Fidler, however, recently suffered a leg injury, which keeps him sidelined together with winger Georgi Chanturia and defender Vladimir Khozin, who are both recovering from injuries.

Krasnodar will have to do without winger Tornike Okriashvili, goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk, defenders Vitaly Kaleshin and Roman Shishkin, while top scorer and star man Fyodor Smolov is suspended, which is an enormous blow to Krasndoar’s chances.

Expected line-ups:

Ural (4-4-1-1): Zabalotny – Dantsev, Tabidze, Balazic, Kulakov – Lungu, Pavlenko, Emelyanov, Dimitrov – Bicfalvi – Ilyin

Krasnodar (4-2-3-1): Sinitsyn – Ramirez, Granqvist, Martynovich, Petrov – Kaboré, Gazinsky – Claesson, Podberezkin, Joaozinho – Wanderson

Betting advice: 

Neither Ural nor Krasnodar have scored many goals lately, and considering the importance of the game, it is likely that both teams will opt for defensive strategies to make sure they don’t concede goals. Furthermore, the injury to Smolov is a huge blow for Krasnodar as he is the league’s best striker and club’s most important player.

€10 on under 2.5 goals @1.65 at Bet365

Friday 17:30 BST: CSKA Moscow – Arsenal Tula

By Martin Lowe (@PlasticPitch)

The RFPL title race may now be over, but the contest to join Spartak Moscow in next season’s Champions League is still very much alive. CSKA, having gone unbeaten since October in the league aside from defeats to their newly crowned neighbours hold a 1 point lead over Zenit, and with a favourable run in against sides in the bottom half of the table, it’s hard to see where they’ll slip up.

One area which they could fall down on is in attack, where Viktor Goncharenko continues to experiment with his young assets. All three; Vitinho, Aaron Olanare and lately Fedor Chatov have shown glimpses but have failed to nail down a regular run at the point of attack. The latter, who returned to the starting lineup last weekend against Amkar with a goal (his third of the season), will look to build upon his tally in the remaining fixtures, to challenge Bibras Natkho for the side’s top scorer accolade, currently on a modest 5 goals..

They face an Arsenal Tula side that are a difficult proposition on their day, yet we’re yet to see anything from Sergei Kiriakov’s men on the road this term. All 6 of their victories have come at the Arsenal Stadium, their latest against a record breaking Rostov defence at the weekend. While that effort was meant to alleviate pressure on automatic relegation for the time being, the fact that others around them did the same leaves the scramble for survival ever more fraught as we head into the final fortnight of the campaign.

Betting advice: €10 on Fedor Chalov anytime goalscorer @2.05 at Bet365

Saturday 12:00 BST: Amkar Perm – Spartak Moscow

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Amkar return to action pretty much on holiday and playing merely for pride. The Permyaki are mid-table stalwarts and lost last weekend at home to CSKA Moscow, they now host Spartak in Perm once again. Spartak, likewise have nothing to play for, but due to polar opposite reasons after successfully winning the RFPL title for the first time in sixteen years, since the great Oleg Romantsev was in charge.

Branko Jovičić will return after picking up a straight red card against Rostov, and missing the CSKA match through suspension. Fedor Oduge, Alikhan Shavaev and Sergey Balanovich are all injury doubts, the former two missed last weekend and the latter was replaced by Mikhail Kostyukov at half time. Darko Bodul will be fit and raring to go up front after picking up the Amkar player of the month award for April on Thursday.

Spartak themselves welcomed both Luiz Adriano and Ze Luis back into the fold last week after both sustaining long-term injuries. Much of the team will be fresh and ready after receiving three days from Massimo Carrera off as a reward for the league title win. Evgeny Makeev misses out through a broken hand.

The Zvezda Stadium this Spring is no longer a fortress for Amkar, conceding six goals in their last four home games; a far cry from not conceding in their opening nine. As such, and with the elation of Spartak’s title win, the Red-Whites will likely be too strong for Amkar. Though Spartak last week struggled in breaking down a very weak Tom Tomsk, resulting in an enraged Massimo Carrera storming out of the Otkrytiye Arena without even addressing his team post-match. Likewise, Denis Glushakov did not post his now-traditional post-game group photo, but instead, a blank text image claiming there will be no photo today, due to the team’s own outrage. An efficient, but low scoring away win is likely due to these factors.

Betting Advice: €10 Under 2.5 Goals @1.6 at Bet365

Saturday 14:00 BST: Krylia Sovetov Samara – Zenit St. Petersburg

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Krylia enter this weekend undergoing their best run of form this season; losing only one game in their last five outings, picking up eight points in the process. Last week, Vadim Skripchenko’s side came from behind to defeat Ural 3-1, in the manager’s first return to the SKB-Bank Arena since he controversially swapped Ekaterinburg for Samara. Zenit, on the other hand have lost out on the title, and are increasingly under pressure for the remaining Champions League qualification spot due to their own mixed results, as head coach Mircea Lucescu has admitted, this season has been the hardest in his long career.

Krylia, who are this weekend celebrating their 75th anniversary, will be without captain Ivan Taranov, who has missed the last two games since being substituted in the first half of the Arsenal Tula game through injury. Ali Gadzhibekov and Milan Rodic and Artem Gromov are all doubtful. Sergei Kornilenko will deputise as captain in his absence, and along with Gianni Bruno and Christian Pasquato will hope to continue his current run of form.

Oleg Shatov will definitely miss the game after receiving a red card against Terek Grozny on Sunday, the first of his Zenit career. Viktor Faizulin is still a long-term absentee, due to a knee injury and has not played since September 2015. Aleksandr Ryazantsev is also a long-term injury doubt, but Ivan Novoseltsev could be involved after returning to the bench last week. Aleksandr Kokorin has missed Zenit’s last three games, but did train midweek with the rest of the team and may have a chance to feature from the bench.

Kryila will be no walk in the park for Zenit, Mircea Lucescu’s men will need to put out a decent performance to defeat a solid, in-form team fighting for their RFPL lives. Former Krylia player Yohan Mollo may be the key to unlocking their solid defence of late. However, rumours regarding the position of the veteran Romanian continue to circulate, and Krylia will likely play for a respectable draw at the Metallurg Stadium, keeping up their fine momentum.

Betting Advice: €10 on 0-0 Draw @8.5 at Bet365

Saturday 17:30 BST: Lokomotiv Moscow – FC Orenburg

By Martin Lowe (@PlasticPitch)

There’s plenty of speculation whether Lokomotiv are already “on the beach” after their Russian Cup victory two weeks ago was followed up with a deflated but far from unexpected draw against a relegation fighting Anzhi at the weekend. The fact is Lokomotiv have been in poor league form for a while, including a disastrous home run that hasn’’t seen them win in the RFPL since the turn of the year.

If they have little to play for, their opponents couldn’t be in a more dissimilar position. Orenburg’s late push for survival has spiked in form over the last 5 matches (only losing to Zenit in that time), going into this match on the back of a 1-0 win over high flying Krasnodar. With those around them also picking up form and points over the same period, and with similarly poised fixtures to come, a second upset in as many matches would be highly sought after in Moscow.

The other side of the coin sees Lokomotiv return to Moscow for the first time since their Cup triumph. A sense of celebration will undoubtedly be in the air, with pressure of European competition qualification off their shoulders and a certain 42 year old Dmitri Loskov set to return for the Railroaders for the first time since he retired in 2013.

Betting advice: €10 on Lokomotiv Moscow win or draw @1.20 at Bet365

Sunday 10:00 BST: Tom Tomsk – Terek Grozny

By Ilya Sokolov (@Lokosokol)

Recently, Tom Tomsk have played much better than I expected, and lately they have managed to get some points. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped them from being relegated, but it’s safe to say that the many young players in the squad will try to make the most of the remaining games in the top flight. At the end of the day, however, the difference between a bunch of youngsters and professionals is obvious, and Tom have only won five points this spring, and are by far the worst side in the league.

As for Terek, they have recovered after a poor start to the spring, and after losses to Orenburg and Anzhi, they have now won three in a row and are once again challenging for European qualification for next season. They are currently three points behind Krasnodar in 4th, so they are forced to beat Tom to stay relevant.

Betting advice: €10 on over 3.5 goals @3.5 at Bet365

Sunday 14:30 BST: FC Ufa – Anzhi Makhachkala

By David Sansun (@RFN_David)

Ufa have seemingly dropped out of the race for Europe this season, with three losses in their last four matches, and will just be hoping to maintain their midtable position for their highest ever finish in Russian football. Anzhi meanwhile essentially just need 3 points to ensure their safety in the league this season, having remarkably put together a solid unit of a squad under Alexandr Grigoryan despite it being completely different from the first half of the season, and they are unbeaten in their last four games which included decent opposition from the top half of the season. I imagine this will be a low scoring affair but the score is hard to predict.

Betting advice: €10 on under 1.5 goals @2.25 at Bet365

Sunday 17:00 BST: FC Rostov – Rubin Kazan

By David Sansun (@RFN_David)

Rostov’s loss to Arsenal Tula and first goal conceded in over 900 minutes saw them lose ground on the coveted 4th place spot, with Terek winning against Zenit to leapfrog them into 5th place. With 3 points to make up to catch up to Krasnodar, and just three games to go, Rostov will be desperate to win their remaining games. Meanwhile, Rubin have won two games on the trot for just the 2nd time this season, and with their shaky away form combined with their general inconsistency, a Rostov win seems the most likely option.

Betting advice: €10 on Rostov to win @1.66 at Bet365

RFN Total: +€385.59

Vincent Tanguy: +€194.65 (hit rate: 12/26) 

Thomas Giles: +€113 (hit rate 20/35) 

David Sansun: +€105.25 (hit rate: 13/42)

Ben Clark: +€101 (hit rate: 12/32) 

Jack Beresford: +€75.7 (hit rate 4/9) 

Andrew Flint: €38.7 (hit rate: 14/49) 

Lukas Müller: €23 (hit rate: 2/8) 

Stefano Conforti: +€0.5  (hit rate: 3/9)

Danny Armstrong: -€8 (hit rate: 2/6)

James Nickels: -€5.7 (hit rate: 4/10) 

Artëm Markarevitch: -€35.6 (hit rate: 2/8)

Toke Theilade: -€38.11 (hit rate: 6/18) 

Martin Lowe: -€51 (hit rate: 1/8)

Ilya Sokolov: -€55.9 (hit rate: 9/36) 


Author: Ilya Sokolov

I became interested in football after the 1998 World Cup. Despite my dad wanting me to support Dynamo, I chose Lokomotiv (the name sounded great) and soon saw the team win the league for the first time in its history. Besides Loko, I also like watching Amateur League games in Moscow and its suburbs.


  1. How true is that: ” There’s plenty of speculation whether Lokomotiv are already “on the beach” after their Russian Cup victory two weeks ago was followed up with a deflated but far from unexpected draw against a relegation fighting Anzhi at the weekend. “

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