The regular-season of the 2023/2024 Kontinental Hockey League is about to conclude on the last matchday of 2023. It's the second clash these teams have had within two days. Admiral from Vladivostok will host Neftekhimik from Nizhnekamsk once again.
Sometimes, it's hard to predict who Admiral's head coach will field in the next match. You might expect to see Vasily Demchenko, but he sits out, replaced in the crease by Ivanov. Ivanov lets in as many goals as Demchenko does over several matches, resulting in Admiral losing a crucial game where they could have significantly closed the gap to the playoffs. However, it's important to note that Admiral alternates between victories and defeats. Having just lost, Admiral should win the next one, especially given it's the final match of the year, on home ice.
Admiral currently sits 11th in the tournament table with 37 points from 43 matches. The team's scored eight main-time victories, six beyond that and has incurred nine one-point losses. The club lost the other 20 matches, without earning extra points. Despite this, Admiral is the East's least goal-scoring team, with just 92 goals. The club ranks fourth-worst for conceded goals, having 120 credited against them.
Things were quite grim for the team from Nizhnekamsk until their last match. They'd lost nine of the last 10 games with seemingly no turnaround in sight. Their recent matches against Amur felt disastrous. However, they travelled to Vladivostok and, first things first, sorted out their attack, scoring four goals against Admiral. But they should avoid resting on their laurels, since they have to play Admiral for the second time within two days, but this time against Demchenko instead of Ivanov.
Neftekhimik currently ranks 10th in the conference with 41 points from 45 matches. They've recorded 13 regulations wins, three beyond that and nine one-point losses. The other 20 matches were straight losses. Interestingly, Neftekhimik has improved slightly in scoring, and now shares the third-bottom spot with Amur, having scored 100. But they're still conceding the most – 144 goals.
Between them, Admiral and Neftekhimik have played 31 matches. Of these, Admiral clinched 12 victories, while Neftekhimik prevailed in 19 encounters. This season, Neftekhimik won both meetings with a 4:3 score.
I would take Admiral here, as they wouldn't lose two consecutive home games.
As for other betting options, ITO 1 (2.5) for 2.30 looks the most appealing. Neftekhimik struggles defensively, so Admiral should be able to score at least three, a feat they've already accomplished twice this season.