How to Bet on the Russian Premier League (2020 Guide)
Following a widespread lay-off, we are gradually starting to see top-flight soccer leagues return across the world. Germany’s Bundesliga successfully became the first major European league to resume, and the Russian Premier League is almost ready to follow suit.
The previous round of fixtures in Russia’s top tier was played in mid-March. But after three months without any action, the 2019/20 campaign is set to restart on Sunday, June 21.
Prior to the break in play, Zenit St. Petersburg was closing in on a second consecutive title. However, with eight games still to play this season, can chasers Lokomotiv Moscow and FK Krasnodar overtake the league leader?
In this Russian Premier League betting guide, I prepare you for wagering on the remainder of the 2019/20 season. I look at the best sites to use, upcoming fixtures, top teams and players, and odds for the main outright markets.
Where to Bet on the Russian Premier League
I’m sure we can all agree that it’s important to feel safe when it comes to betting. After all, it doesn’t make sense to part ways with your money if you don’t trust the site you are using.
Finding the right site — especially when wagering on unfamiliar soccer leagues — isn’t always easy, so I urge you to open an account with one of our top-rated online soccer betting sites.
All of our recommendations are among the most secure and trustworthy options out there, and they also offer competitive odds and bonuses.
So, if you’re new to betting on the Russian Premier League and want to make the most of your money, I suggest checking out our recommendations above.
When Are Russian Premier League Games Usually Played?
Russian Premier League games generally take place on Saturday and Sunday, with the occasional Friday and Monday evening games added onto different rounds throughout the season.
More often than not, the weekend games kick off at 13:00, 15:30, and 18:00 local time (GMT+3), while the Friday and Monday fixtures normally commence at 18:30. It’s rare to have two top-flight games taking place at the same time in Russia.
The 2019/20 campaign is scheduled to restart on Sunday, June 21. The kick-off times for Round 23 are yet to be announced, but I’m expecting the league to follow the same format as earlier in the season.
To prepare you for the resumption of the season, here is the full list of returning fixtures.
- Arsenal Tula vs. Spartak Moscow
- CSKA Moscow vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
- FK Krasnodar vs. Dinamo Moscow
- Krylia Sovetov Samara vs. Akhmat Grozny
- Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Orenburg
- Sochi vs. Rostov
- Ufa vs. Tambov
- Ural Yekaterinburg vs. Rubin Kazan
Top Teams in the Russian Premier League
Russia’s biggest clubs compete in the Champions League on a regular basis. Let’s take a closer look at the country’s top sides.
Not only is Spartak the most successful team in the capital, but the Red-Whites are also the most decorated club in the country. A quarter of the sides in the Premier League are based in Moscow, but it is Spartak that boasts the historical bragging rights over the city.
Still, Spartak hasn’t had it all their own way in recent years. After clinching the title in 2016/17, the club has gradually slid down the table. A third-place finish in 2017/18 was followed by a disappointing fifth-place finish last term, and Spartak has continued to fall this season.
Former Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco has only managed to guide the team to eighth in the current standings, and Spartak is far closer to relegation trouble than European qualification at the moment.
Sure, Spartak has the history. But there is no denying that CSKA has outshone their cross-city rival over the past decade. Three of CSKA’s six top-flight titles have come in the previous seven years, and manager Viktor Goncharenko has overseen three runner-up finishes in the last five seasons.
CSKA finished outside the top three for the first time in six years last season, and the club is currently five points shy of the Champions League qualification spots this time around. But with eight games still to play in 2019/20, CSKA has more than enough quality to make a late charge up the table.
Legendary goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev — who has made over 600 appearances for the club — is a rock between the sticks, while homegrown youngsters Fedor Chalov and Ivan Oblyakov are serious threats at the other end of the pitch.
Zenit St. Petersburg
Now, if you want to find the Premier League’s reigning champion, you’ll need to leave the country’s capital. Zenit represents Russia’s second-largest city, and the St. Petersburg outfit is the only team to have won two titles in the past five years.
The club is owned and sponsored by state-owned energy giant Gazprom, and the corporation’s riches have allowed Zenit to attract numerous high-profile players from overseas.
The team has a strong South American influence, with Brazilians Malcom and Douglas Santos among their star performers. Colombian midfielder Wilmar Barrios is also a key component of the side, alongside Argentine duo Emanuel Mammana and Emiliano Rigoni.
With a nine-point lead at the top of the table, Zenit is on course to claim back-to-back titles for the second time in their history.
Ahead of Dynamo but behind Spartak and CSKA, Lokomotiv is Moscow’s third most successful club. Having said that, Lokomotiv is the capital’s most recent title winner.
After claiming two of their three top-flight triumphs back in 2002 and 2004, Lokomotiv had very little to shout about for the best part of a decade. But when Yuri Semin was called in for his fourth spell as head coach in 2016, the team’s fortunes changed.
Lokomotiv won the Premier League in 2017/18 and followed that up by clinching the runner-up spot last season. Following another successful campaign, the club sits second in the current standings.
Despite the team’s improvements, Lokomotiv will resume the 2019/20 season with a new manager at the helm. The club’s board of directors decided not to extend Semin’s contract, so Serbian Marko Nikolić will lead the team for the remainder of the campaign.
Star Players in the Russian Premier League
Along with an abundance of homegrown stars, Russia’s top tier is packed with gifted overseas imports. Here are four players to look out for.
Zenit signed Malcom from Barcelona for €40m last year, and although a lengthy injury has prevented him from making the impact he would’ve liked, there is no denying that he is one of the Premier League’s star players.
After all, a Brazilian arriving in Russia from Barcelona is bound to turn heads, right?
The exciting winger — who only recently turned 23 — will be desperate to hit the ground running when the season resumes. Malcom gave everyone a glimpse of what he is capable of with a goal and an assist in the final game before the break, so Zenit supporters will be hoping he can pick up where he left off.
The fact that Lokomotiv is now able to attract players of João Mário’s stature speaks volumes about the club’s revival in recent years. Indeed, the 27-year-old played a pivotal role in Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph and has spent time with some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Currently on loan from Inter Milan, João Mário is an industrious and versatile midfielder. His top-level experience has helped Lokomotiv to remain at the top of the table throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
Across a glittering nine-year career with Chelsea, Branislav Ivanovic won it all. He picked up three EPL titles, three FA Cups, and one League Cup during his time in England. Oh, and a Champions League for good measure.
The Serbia international joined Zenit in 2017 and clearly brought his winning mentality with him. He captained the club to the title last season and remains a key figure for Zenit to this day.
In fact, at the ripe old age of 36, Ivanovic has only missed one league game in 2019/20.
Artem Dzyuba’s numbers have been outstanding over the past couple of years. After racking up 20 goal involvements in the league last term, the Zenit striker already has 13 goals and ten assists to his name this season.
These statistics are made even more astonishing when you consider that Dzyuba has only made 21 league appearances in 2019/20. He’s definitely one to watch.
Latest Russian Premier League Betting Odds
Now that you’ve learned a bit about Russian soccer, it’s time to take a look at this season’s outright betting markets for the Premier League.
Betting on the 2019/20 Russian Premier League Title Winner
Let’s start by checking out the 2019/20 title odds.
It’s no real surprise that Zenit is the bookies’ clear favorite to win the title again this season. With eight games left to play in 2019/20, the reigning champion has a nine-point lead at the top of the table.
It’s difficult to imagine Zenit failing to defend their crown. Not only would Sergei Semak’s side have to go on an uncharacteristic run of defeats, but one of the teams in the chasing pack would also need to win all of their remaining games to stand any chance of overtaking the frontrunner.
Lokomotiv and Krasnodar are both locked on 41 points, while Rostov and CSKA find themselves on 38 and 36 respectively. So, barring a drastic turn of events, Zenit should win the league.
Granted, odds of 1.10 aren’t worth bothering with. But Zenit’s low price underlines their superiority over the division.
Betting on Who Will Finish in the Top Three
Yes, the title race may be as good as done. But the battle for a top-three finish is far from over. Let’s check out the odds.
As you can see, Zenit isn’t even included in this market. The bookies clearly think the runaway leader is destined to finish in the top three, and you can’t really argue with that.
However, with just five points between second-place Lokomotiv and fifth-place CSKA, there are a number of teams in contention to fill the two places directly below Zenit.
With only one game remaining against top-five opposition, it’s fair to say that Lokomotiv has a relatively easy run-in compared to their rivals. But it’s unclear what effect the recent managerial change will have on the team.
Meanwhile, both Krasnodar and CSKA still have to face three of the current top six this season, so we could see them struggle for consistency in the latter stages of the campaign.
Dynamo sits 11 points shy of the top three, so I’d expect their price to be a little higher than 7.00.
That leaves us with Rostov. Valeri Karpin’s men will resume the season in fourth and only three points behind third-place Krasnodar. Rostov has a tricky meeting with Zenit on the final day of the campaign. But apart from that, they have plenty of winnable fixtures remaining against struggling sides.
Taking everything into consideration, I like the look of Rostov at 2.50 here.
While the popularity of leagues such as the EPL and Bundesliga continues to skyrocket, fewer people are betting on Europe’s lesser-known divisions.
So, I hope this post has given you a better understanding of how and where to bet on the Russian Premier League in 2019/20.
I have covered the title and top three markets, but I also recommend regularly checking the best online soccer betting sites for this season’s relegation odds. I imagine these will be announced as the campaign draws nearer.
For more content like this, why not head over to the soccer section of our blog?