2019-2020 A-League Season Preview

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The almost five-month offseason is finally over and the A-League is back for Season 15.

As is always the case with Australian football there were plenty of storylines over the offseason with the clubs taking control of the competition, a new free to air broadcaster and the usual merry go round of player transfers.

Our A-League betting markets have four clear contenders for honours this season lead by Sydney FC who will be looking to claim back to back championships, Perth Glory who won the premiership last year and the Melbourne Victory who… well are still the Melbourne Victory and the Melbourne City who are never short of a dollar.

There’s also a new club coming into the mix with Western United set to make its debut featuring former Wellington coach Mark Rudan and a host of players that have moved across the ditch for this season.

Will someone else emerge from the chasing pack to upset the established order?

Probably, it is the A-League after all and we have previewed the chances for all 11 clubs here and found a recommended bet for each team.

Adelaide United

Champions Odds: $11

Premiership Odds: $10

Top 6 Odds: $2.25

Wooden Spoon Odds: $13

Goals were a huge problem for Adelaide last year but based on their run to the FFA Cup final, they might have unearthed a hidden gem in young striker Al-Hassan Toure who has come through the Adelaide youth team.

Elsewhere the midfield has experienced a massive loss with holding midfielder and club captain Isaias headed to play for Al-Wakrah in Qatar.

They did add fringe Socceroos attacker James Troisi but it’s hard to overstate just how much the Spaniard meant to the club.

Over the season, assuming health doesn’t play a big role in the fortunes of the side, United should be able to be in competition for a finals berth but I have them falling just short of the finals, possibly even on goal difference.

Season Prediction: 7th Place

Back Adelaide to Miss the Finals @ $1.72

Brisbane Roar

Champions Odds: $13

Premiership Odds: $15

Top 6 Odds: $1.75

Wooden Spoon Odds: $19

It’s fair to say that 2018/2019 was a disaster for Brisbane Roar with the club finishing second last and setting an A-League record for goals conceded as John Aloisi left midseason and injuries massively decimated the Roar squad.

To fix this, the club turned to religion, or at least the man known on Merseyside as ‘God’ to try and reverse their fortunes.

Robbie Fowler has built a squad with a distinctly British feel and based on their preseason performances, this will be a very different side to Ange Postecoglu’s “Roarcelona” side of the early 2010’s, although fans would love it to be just as successful.

Expect a much more disciplined side whose first job is to keep a clean sheet and then go from there.

New club captain Tom Aldred, replacing the retired Matt McKay, could quietly be one of the best pickups of the offseason and has clearly emerged as a leader for this group.

Last season ended a streak of eight straight finals appearances but look for the Roar to be in the mix with that middle group of teams who are just off the pace off the top four.

Season Prediction: 6th Place

Back the Roar to Make the Top 6 @ $1.72

Central Coast Mariners

Champions Odds: $26

Premiership Odds: $41

Top 6 Odds: $3.50

Wooden Spoon Odds: $3.25

No club has had a rougher last few years than the Central Coast Mariners, but under former Matildas boss Alen Stajcic , there might just be cause for optimism in Gosford.

Not the kind of optimism where you’d put your house… or anything really on them to make the finals but Central Coast will not be the side you give the wooden spoon to before the Melbourne Cup.

Some smart recruiting with the likes of Ziggy Gordon and Samuel Silvera, combined with one time whiz kids of Australian football Tommy Oar and Daniel De Silva might just give the side the buzz to offset having Matt Simon on the books.

We have seen in their FFA Cup run they can match it with other A-League clubs on their day and they should finish up with more points than the meagre 13 from last season, if for no other reason than Stajcic can play the “nobody believes in us” card ad nauseum.

Season Prediction: 9th Place

NO SEASON BET

Melbourne City

Champions Odds: $6.00

Premiership Odds: $6.00

Top 6 Odds: $1.20

Wooden Spoon Odds: $41

Is this the season moneybags Melbourne City finally delivers A-League silverware?

New coach Erick Mombaerts will look to put his imprint on a squad that has plenty of exciting talent in it with some youngsters who might push for starting time such as Connor Metcalfe, who has starred in their FFA Cup.

The big question though, is whether or not they can overcome the “Melbourne Heart DNA” that still seems to plague the club years after their rebrand.

Finals football is non-negotiable for City, a top four finish is just about a must-do and securing Asian Champions League football is the target, whether it is through the league or the finals.

It still remains a case of “until they prove otherwise” though and while they should be able to finish ahead of most, I have them just behind the top group.

Season Prediction: 5th Place

Back Jamie Maclaren as the Top Goalscorer @ $5.50

Melbourne Victory

Champions Odds: $5.50

Premiership Odds: $4.50

Top 6 Odds: $1.13

Wooden Spoon Odds: $51

After watching their Sky Blue rivals load up early in the offseason, the Victory responded in kind with a strong recruitment drive of their own.

Socceroos forwards Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse return to the A-League and while the latter is a popular whipping boy online, there’s a reason he spent so long in Germany.

Up front is new club captain Ola Toivonen who shone when healthy last year and if he plays anywhere close to the full 26 game season, he will be in the mix for all sorts of honours this season.

While new coach Marco Kurz might not play the prettiest football, it can be effective with the right people and the German manager has plenty of talent at his disposal. 

It’s not the most exciting play but the Victory do look like they could be the standard bearers for the competition and win the Premiers Plate, especially with Perth and Sydney both having Champions League duty to deal with.

Season Prediction: Premiers (1st Place)

Back Melbourne Victory as Premiers @ $4.50

Newcastle Jets

Champions Odds: $15

Premiership Odds: $23

Top 6 Odds: $2.10

Wooden Spoon Odds: $13

Two years ago the Jets stunned Australian football finishing the season in second place and losing the Grand Final.

Last year saw them come back to the pack, finishing in seventh place and that slide could continue here as injuries have already decimated their squad.

On top of Dimitri Petratos getting a call up for the Socceroos, striker Kaine Sheppard and big name signing Wes Hoolahan both out until 2020 with injury and Ben Kantarovski will also miss the start of the season.

Ernie Merrick will need to pull off the best coaching performance of his career to get the Jets going here and they look way over the odds to be the wooden spooners.

Season Prediction: 11th Place

Back the Jets to Win the Wooden Spoon @ $13

Perth Glory

Champions Odds: $5.00

Premiership Odds: $4.50

Top 6 Odds: $1.13

Wooden Spoon Odds: $67

It was oh so close yet oh so far for Tony Popovic’s Perth Glory side last season, the runaway premiers earned a home grand final at Optus Stadium, only to go down to Sydney FC on penalties after a dour scoreless draw.

Up front there is a chance they might have upgraded with the departure of Andy Keogh to accommodate the arrival of Bruno Fornaroli if the Uruguayan hasn’t lost too much from his year on the bench with City.

There’s no doubting that they will be in the mix once again come April, but if they have to choose between more A-League silverware and Asian Champions League progression, they might prefer the latter.

With Popovic at the helm, barring a major run of injuries, Perth will be in the mix again but with the ACL in play later on in the season, a top two berth might be just out of reach.

Season Prediction: 3rd Place

Season Strategy: Back Perth early & back against them once ACL starts

Sydney FC

Champions Odds: $4.50

Premiership Odds: $4.00

Top 6 Odds: $1.07

Wooden Spoon Odds: $81

Love them or hate them, Sydney FC have been the competition’s standard bearers for the last three seasons and you’d be a fool to not expect that to continue again this season.

In a nice piece of cross-city rivalry, they signed Alex Baumjohann from the Wanderers to help fill out an already stacked group of attackers and with Milos Ninkovic once again pulling the strings, Sydney’s opponents will have a hard time trying to stop them.

Such is the talent in their squad, it does king of allay the concerns about whether or not Steve Corica is really up to the job of coaching this team.

But above all else, the guy who traded navy blue for sky blue, Kosta Barbarouses could be the difference for this side come finals.

Sydney will have to do double duty later on in the season with the Champions League which does scare me off backing them to win the Premiership, they will be a dangerous team come finals.

Season Prediction: 4th Place

Back Sydney FC to Win the Championship @ $4.50

Wellington Phoenix

Champions Odds: $41

Premiership Odds: $101

Top 6 Odds: $5.00

Wooden Spoon Odds: $1.62

Don’t read too much into Wellington going out of the FFA Cup in the first round to a local side, that was a depleted squad very early in preseason in a competition they never take that seriously.

It is a period of rebuilding for the Nix though, after one year of success under Mark Rudan, most of the impact players left with the manager to play for Western United.

In their place comes a host of new, local talent and some players who are tried and tested at A-League level with something to prove.

Having something to prove means there’s a theory in place they are trying to disprove and a lot of these players found themselves in Wellington for a reason.

Back against the Nix to do a whole lot of anything here but they should be able to hit some sporadic form that will keep them off the bottom of the table.  

Season Prediction: 10th Place

NO SEASON BET

Western Sydney Wanderers

Champions Odds: $13

Premiership Odds: $13

Top 6 Odds: $1.40

Wooden Spoon Odds: $34

There is plenty of fanfare over the Wanderers return to Parramatta this weekend with the re-designed BankWest Stadium hopefully sparking a Wanderers resurgence.

German boss Markus Babbel has been able to have a much larger impact over the construction of his squad and on paper it does look very impressive.

Their midfield had a huge blow with key playmaker Radoslaw Majewski reportedly tearing his ACL a couple of weeks ago.

Top to bottom though, that squad, combined with the one stadium in the league that can actually boost a team’s performance, could have Western Sydney primed for a return to the top.

For a bit of fun, take a look at the “name the finalists” market in the A-League futures section and check out a possible Sydney Derby.

Season Prediction: 2nd Place

Back a Sydney FC/Western Sydney A-League Grand Final @ $15.00

Champions Odds: $15

Western United

Premiership Odds: $21

Top 6 Odds: $2.10

Wooden Spoon Odds: $15

The A-League’s newest club has gone about their first offseason with some splashy signings but overall has been flying somewhat under the radar.

Mark Rudan has opted to go for a top heavy squad with plenty of experience and while Allesanrdo Diamanti might not be a household name for your average football fan, he is going to be the key man for the new club.

Up front the group of Scott McDonald, Valentino Yuel and the A-League’s all time leading goalscorer Besart Berisha should be a troubling proposition on paper.

What does stand out as a major concern though, this is a new club, there are major questions about their depth and ability to gel in their first season.

Right now they would be in that middle tier of sides competing for a finals berth but ultimately falling just a bit short, although if you are a fan of story bets, it might be worth a small one.

Season Prediction: 8th Place

NO SEASON BET

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.