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When I wrote last weekend's betting preview for the Belarusian Premier League, I really didn't expect to be doing it again seven days later.
I was sure that due to a batch of new cases in the country over the past week, the league would be forced to close up shop for a while like the rest of them. Instead, Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko has shrugged off concerns about a COVID-19 outbreak, recommending vodka and saunas to ward off the coronavirus.
As long as they keep playing, we'll keep betting on the most popular ongoing league.
Shakhtyor are generally mainstays atop the Belarusian Premier League and shouldn't have an issue here at home. Neman Grodno don't travel well, losing six of their last eight league matches on the road (dating back to last season) while scoring just two goals over that span, both against clubs in the bottom half of the table. Shakhtyor have conceded only once through two games to begin this season and have kept four straight clean sheets in their league matches against Grodno. Furthermore, Grodno have failed to find the back of the net in each of their last six visits to Stadyen Budaunik.
Pick: Shakhtyor to win and keep clean sheet (-105)
Goals shouldn't be hard to come by Sunday at Stadyen RTsOP-BGU when the top two clubs in the table meet. Minsk have played some wonderfully attractive football early in the season, scoring six goals through their first two matches and conceding three. Energetik-BGU won their opening home match 3-1 before winning 1-0 at Rukh Brest last Friday. I watched that full game, which should have finished 3-2 to the hosts instead of 1-0 to the visitors. It was a wide-open match with an abundance of chances at both ends, but the woodwork and some bad luck limited the scoring.
With both sides keen to play open, attacking football, this match should have no problem sailing over the total. Their two meetings last season featured a remarkable 13 total goals.
Pick: Over 2.5 (-120), alternate total over 3.5 (+175)
Isloch have enjoyed a perfect start to the season, recording back-to-back 1-0 home wins over Grodno and Smolevichy-STI. This match represents a slight step up in class against Slutsk, who opened the campaign with a 3-1 home win over Slavia before losing 1-0 in a well-fought matchup against defending league champions Dinamo Brest. The away side has won each of the last six league matches between these two teams, with Slutsk claiming their last three meetings with Isloch at Stadion FK Minsk. I expect a tightly contested game here, which simply makes the value in the visitors to get a result too good to pass up.
Pick: FC Slutsk +0.5 (+110)
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.