Russian Football Premier League Week 29: 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: 17:30 BST Zenit St. Petersburg – FC Krasnodar

By Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade)

It is impossible to look past the clash between Zenit St. Petersburg and FC Krasnodar, when looking at the fixtures from the 28th round of the Russian Football Premier League. Not only is a game between two of the strongest sides in the league, it is also a game between two teams with their backs against the wall and forced to win. The home team are in danger of losing Champions League qualification for the second season in a row, as they are currently trailing second place CSKA Moscow with one point, while FC Krasnodar have dropped seven points in their last three games, and now are dangerously close to losing their Europa League granting fourth place to either FC Rostov or Terek Grozny.

What’s the venue?

A few weeks ago, Zenit had the grand opening of their brand-new Stadium St. Petersburg, albeit with a lowered capacity, where they defeated FC Ural 1-0. Despite the impressive surroundings, the stadium was rightly criticised for the awful state of the pitch, which gave birth to many jokes on social media.

Nevertheless, Zenit still decided to use their new home for the game against Terek Grozny two weeks ago, a decision they probably regret now. The pitch was obviously still terrible, and the home team lost 1-0 and saw CSKA overtake them in the fight for the second place and Champions League.

Perhaps realising that the risk of playing on a pitch of such low standard in a crucial game like the one against Krasnodar, or perhaps because of the pitch needing intensive care prior to the Confederations Cup, Zenit moved the game against the Bulls to their old Petrovsky Stadium.

Lucescu’s last home game?

Zenit head coach Mircea Lucescu arrived in St. Petersburg before this season, and with him, he brought a lot of confidence and expectations for the beginning of a new post-Hulk Zenit era. Almost a season later, those expectations have turned to anger and disappointment, and both the club and Lucescu have realised that copying the Romanian’s success in Ukraine was easier said than done.

Although the Blue-White-Sky Blues started the season in strong form, things turned sour as the summer was left behind, and especially the second half of the season has been borderline awful. Not only were Zenit eliminated from the Europa League way too early, they have also suffered defeats to Amkar Perm as well as arch-rivals Spartak Moscow, and with those seen the championship and Champions League drift further and further away.

Meanwhile, Lucescu has seemed eager to copy the mistakes of his predecessors as he, just like André Villas-Boas, has spent a lot of time criticising the Russian pitches and complaining about his team always being appointed referees from Moscow who seeks to see them lose. At the same time, he has fallen out with his squad, and his open fight with Russian international Oleg Shatov didn’t help the club’s situation.

In recent weeks, Russian press has speculated widely in who will replace him this summer, with a number of Italians seemingly leading the race.

Unless Lucescu turns the season around and gets back into second place, it seems that this will be his last home game in charge of Zenit.

Now or never for Krasnodar

For Krasnodar, it is now or never. Having won just five games all spring, this is the game that will determine their season. They have Tom Tomsk at home in the last game of the season, and if they manage to finish it with six points, they can be satisfied with the outcome despite the mid-season struggles. However, if they drop points to Zenit, and then lose their Europa League spot, this season will be nothing short of a disaster.

In their last three games, they have drawn against Anzhi Makhachkala and Ural and lost to FC Orenburg, all clubs who are part of the relegation battle.

During these games, they have only scored once, and this single goal didn’t come until the 91st minute of last weekend’s game against Ural, when Viktor Claesson equalised in the dying minutes.

The top scorer returns

Zenit is ready to take on Krasnodar in full strength with both Oleg Shatov and Aleksandr Kokorin ready to play full time once again after the former has been out with suspension and the latter with an injury. The two offensive players should furthermore be motivated to prove their worth after Russian national team coach Stanislav Cherchesov overlooked them both for the Confederations Cup.

At Krasnodar, the return of top scorer and star man Fyodor Smolov will be celebrated. He was suspended during the game against Ural, and the team clearly needed their cornerstone. They will, however, have to do without midfielders Vyacheslav Podberezkin and Tornike Okriashvile, while goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk and defender Roman Shishkin are also both injured.

Expected line-ups:

Zenit (4-2-3-1): Lunev – Zhirkov, Criscito, Ivanovic, Smolnikov – Tsallagov, Garcia – Danny, Giuliano, Kokorin – Dzyuba

Krasnodar (4-2-3-1): Sinitsyn – Ramirez, Granqvist, Martynovich, Petrov – Kaboré, Gazinsky – Mamaev, Pereyra, Claesson – Smolov

Betting advice:

This looks like an even game between two teams not in their best shape, but the return to Petrovsky should give Zenit the edge to nick the victory.

€10 on Zenit to win @1.70 at Bet365

Wednesday 13:00 BST: Tom Tomsk – Krylia Sovetov Samara

By Artëm Makarevitch (@Amakarevitch)

Although they are already relegated, Tom Tomsk have proven to be tough opponents in the last few weeks. Valery Petrakov’s young team has shown that they have not dropped their heads since getting relegated and that they are willing to fight for their team until the very last minute of the season.

Krylia Sovetov is still in the relegation battle with just two games left to play. Winning this match could potentially guarantee them a relegation play-off if Arsenal Tula loses at home to Amkar. This is also their last chance to catch up to Anzhi, who are sitting just outside of the relegation play-off spots. Having beaten Anzhi and Ural away from home in their last three away fixtures, I expect Krylia to win this game.

Betting advice: €10 on Krylia Sovetov to win 2-1 @8.50 at Bet365

Wednesday 15:30 BST: FC Ufa – FC Orenburg

By Lukas Müller (@LukasMullerDK)

Ufa is one of four mid-table teams with absolutely nothing left to play for this season. Their excellent first half of the season and poor second half have left them safely above relegation, and Europe just out of reach. Now they face their closest opponent in the RFPL, Orenburg. The RFPL-debutants have won three out of four home games this spring but lately fell short in Moscow, where they lost 4-0 against Lokomotiv, who even gave club legend Dmitry Loskov 13-minutes on the pitch.

Ufa is on the rise, and have won two of their last three outings, but their opponents have been quite mediocre. For Orenburg, this is an absolute must-win game. If they miss out on three points, Krylia could overtake them, and if they end up losing, so could Arsenal Tula.

Betting Advice: €10 on Orenburg win @1.57 at Bet365

Wednesday 15:30 BST: FC Ural – Lokomotiv Moscow

By Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade)

Two weeks after the two sides met in Sochi in the cup final, it is time for a rematch, this time in Ekaterinburg. For Ural the game is on the same level of importance, as they can secure another season in the RFPL with a victory, while a defeat and victories to either Arsenal Tula or Krylia Sovetov, can put them in serious danger of relegation.

As for Lokomotiv, the season practically ended with the cup victory against Ural. It granted them the ticket to next season’s Europa League, which was their goal before the season, and since they are firmly placed in the middle of the table, there is no hope of them moving further up.

To understand how serious they take the rest of the games, one does only have to look at their last, where 43-year-old club legend and assistant coach Dmitry Loskov was allowed to start and played 13 minutes in what served as his testimonial.

Betting advice: Vladimir Ilyin to score anytime @3.4 at Bet365

Wednesday 17:30 BST: Spartak Moscow – Terek Grozny

By Vincent Tanguy (@Spartak_M_VT)

Spartak used their first game after securing the championship last week to celebrate the victory with their fans and beat Amkar Perm. This will be their first home game after winning the title, so the stadium should be packed with Red-White fans looking to celebrate with their heroes.

With the championship already secured, Spartak doesn’t have anything left to play for, but the Red-Whites showed last week, that they are still motivated and their aim now is to finish on 72 points, which will be a new RFPL record.

Terek, however, should put up a fierce fight. The Chechen side is fighting for their first European qualification since winning the cup in 2004, and to do so they need three points. They are currently on a four-game winning streak, which includes a victory away against Zenit, so they are in excellent form at the moment.

Betting advice: €10 on Spartak to win 1-0 @7.00 at Bet365

Wednesday 17:30 BST: Rubin Kazan – CSKA Moscow

By Lukas Müller (@LukasMullerDK)

Rubin, together with Zenit and Tom Tomsk (who have their own reasons), are the biggest disappointments this season. Before the season Javi Gracia splashed the cash, and that has ended up giving them a mid-table finish, in his first season in charge. Although Rubin has improved in the last few weeks and defeated both Lokomotiv and Ufa, they were soundly beaten by Rostov in their last outing, and this could prove to be Gracia’s last home game as Rubin coach.

CSKA look like a team who are ready to take full advantage of Zenit’s slip against Terek in the race for Champions League football next season. All it takes for Goncharenko’s men is to finish the season with victories against Rubin and Anzhi, and their convincing 3-0 win against Arsenal in last weekend’s game shows no sign of nerves amongst the experienced CSKA-squad.

However Rubin will want to end this season on a high, and when playing CSKA in Kazan, The Army Men always have a tough time. CSKA have only won twice in their last eight visits to Kazan, but if anyone knows how to win these type of games, it is CSKA.

Betting advice: €10 on Mijo Caktaš to score anytime @8.00 at Bet365

Wednesday 17:30 BST: Anzhi Makhachkala – FC Rostov

By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakarevitch)

This match is one of few left in the league that has huge importance for both teams. While Anzhi is hoping to get the win that will secure their place in the league next season, a win for Rostov could find them move ahead of Krasnodar and Terek, both of whom have tough matches in this game week.

Anzhi has won just one game from six since coming back from the winter break, back in mid-March. Rostov, on the other hand. have been on fire lately, winning four of their last five games in the RFPL. Although their away form has not been great, I think that the quality of the Rostov team is much higher than that of Anzhi, and because of this, I see them taking all three points from this match.

Betting advice: €10 on Rostov to win @2.00 at Bet365

Wednesday 17:30 BST: Arsenal Tula – Amkar Perm

By Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade)

Arsenal are forced to win. It is as simple as that. The Tula-based outfit is currently 13th, which means direct relegation down to the dreaded FNL. Luckily, they have one point up on Krylia Sovetov, and two up to FC Orenburg, which means they still have plenty left to play for. This has also been obvious lately as they have won two of their previous four games, including an impressive 1-0 victory against FC Rostov.

Unfortunately, goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov suffered an injury during the weekend’s game against CSKA, and he is in doubt.

Unlike Arsenal, Amkar does not have anything left to play for as they are firmly placed in 10th place, and it shows. The Perm-outfit have lost its last four games and not scored in any of them. In fact, Amkar has only won one game the entire spring, back in March against Zenit, and they have a nice autumn to thank for not being in danger of relegation.

Betting advice: €10 on Arsenal Tula to win @1.61 at Bet365

RFN Total: +€386.99

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

Thomas Giles: +€113 (hit rate 20/35) 

David Sansun: +€101.65 (hit rate: 14/44)

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: -€9.7 (hit rate: 6/10) 

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

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

Martin Lowe: -€38.5 (hit rate: 3/10)

Ilya Sokolov: -€59.4 (hit rate: 10/38) 

Toke Møller Theilade

Author: Toke Møller Theilade

Brøndby supporter, groundhopper and more importantly Editor-in-Chief at As a hopeless romantic, I still believe Fyodor Smolov and Viktoria Lopyreva has a future together.

Leave a Reply