Metallurg Magnitogorsk - Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk predictions and free betting tips [02/10/2023]
The regular KHL season 2023/2024 is arriving at another week and the first one in October will kick off with a match in Magnitogorsk. The East leader, Metallurg, will host the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, currently at the bottom of the Eastern conference.
Many thought Metallurg would falter this season. With a change in head coach, an entirely new set of foreign players, and the departure of key leaders, Metallurg seemed to be weaker. However, after the first month of the season, Metallurg is currently leading the league table. Out of 13 matches, they have 19 points. Granted, their recent matches have been in question, but so far, coach Andrei Razin is doing well. Rumours of internal problems within the team are circulating, but Metallurg currently holds six victories in regular time and two beyond its borders. Moreover, they suffered three defeats in overtime. Metallurg has the least main time losses in the East, a total of two matches, but their last five games have resulted in three losses and merely two victories. The fact that two of their losses took place beyond match's regular time is worrying. Metallurg's difference in goals isn't particularly impressive either, with 35 scored and 32 conceded - a net difference of just +3. This statistic, arguably unimpressive for a team leading the East, illustrates that Metallurg is as likely to play as to allow others to do so.
In contrast, the start for Nizhnekamsk has been difficult to say the least. Although they were worse off last season; suffering 10 straight defeats in ten matches before they achieved six consecutive victories and even made it to the playoffs. However this season, they've fallen right back down to the last place with just 8 points from 11 matches. Neftekhimik managed to scrape these 8 points only due to one victory in regular time, two outside it, and an additional two defeats in overtime. The remaining six matches ended in straight losses, making their last place in the East rather well-deserved. Their goal difference is truly abysmal. They scored only 24 goals but conceded 45, that's a nett difference of -21 after just one month of regular matches. Unsurprisingly, Neftekhimik's issues this season mirror those from the previous one. They lack attacking prowess and their goalkeeping line leaves a lot to be desired. Goalkeepers Tikhomirov and Garipov, who managed to improve the situation last season, are underperforming so far. Even their homegrown player Yakupov has failed to impress upon returning. There's a lot coach Leontyev needs to address.
Over 51 matches between Metallurg and Neftekhimik, the former came out victorious in 30, leaving the latter to claim the remaining 21 wins.
Considering the current league standings, it's not surprising that Metallurg is favoured in the upcoming match with odds of 1.64 for their victory, while odds for Neftekhimik are set at a low 4.70. Here, I would recommend siding with a W1, considering that Metallurg is presently head and shoulders above their opponent.