It’s back! After five months in hiatus the A-League is back for yet another season with the ten teams looking to win the new Championship trophy (which looks exactly like the old one). There are plenty of new faces to get used to as well as old faces in new kits for the upcoming season with it all kicking off Friday night.
Melbourne City Vs Brisbane Roar
Friday 6 October, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
To kick off Season 13 of the A-League, both Brisbane and Melbourne City take to the pitch knowing that they will be expected to do much better than in the last two years.
Brisbane have overhauled their attacking lineup, spearheaded by Italian Serie A veteran Massimo Maccarone.
The question surrounding them this season is where the goals will come from having lost Jamie Maclaren, Thomas Broich and Brandon Borello.
Melbourne City will be without star striker Bruno Forniaroli for the opening rounds as he recovers from an injury sustained in the FFA Cup.
To compound that, Tim Cahill will be away on Socceroos duty causing further damage to their attacking stocks.
Both of these sides will want to ensure they do not lose their first game and it might turn out to be a relatively cagey opening to the season here.
Back the Draw @ $3.40
Central Coast Mariners Vs Newcastle Jets
Saturday 7 October, 5:35pm, Central Coast Stadium
Paul Okon’s second season in Gosford begins with an F3 Derby against the Newcastle Jets where they will look to get started on the right foot.
Perhaps the biggest coup of the offseason was signing former Perth prodigy Daniel De Silva who is coming back from Europe aged just 20 and looking to break into the Socceroos setup.
Newcastle will be playing a lot of tight, low scoring matches this season with a strong defensive group headlined by Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Nigel Boogaard.
All things considered, the Mariners should have the talent to get by in this game at home and with plenty to be excited about.
Back Central Coast to Win @ $2.30
Melbourne Victory Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 7 October, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
A Big Blue and Grand Final rematch to kick off the Saturday night feature fixtures.
Sydney’s ever reliable defence from a year ago has taken a big hit with the departure of Danny Vukovic and the injury to Rhyan Grant.
Melbourne will also be relatively short handed in this game as their international stars are away playing for their country.
Gone from this game are key starters Mark Milligan, James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses all of whom are expected to play a big role for the club this season.
Victory certainly have a talented squad but when you lose the lynchpin of Milligan for the game it will certainly test their depth which I’m not so sure they have established.
Back Sydney FC to Win @ $2.30
Wellington Phoenix Vs Adelaide United
Sunday 8 October, 3:00pm, Westpac Stadium
A tough assignment first up for Adelaide United as they travel to Wellington to face a Phoenix side that desperately needs to start winning.
Their recruitment policy has really focused on players with A-League experience, hoping to reduce the settling in time but it’s players like Gui Finkler that will really need to step up.
Adelaide have assembled a solid squad on paper and Papa Diawara is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year but with the squad still finding its feet, I think this could turn out to be a bit of a surprise draw.
Back the Draw @ $3.20
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Perth Glory
Sunday 8 October, 6:00pm, Spotless Stadium
A game which is suddenly a lot more interesting given the Wanderers sudden need for a coach and the Glory’s drive to establish themselves among the top contenders in the competition.
The Wanderers have recruited strongly in the offseason, looking to make their fourth trip to the Grand Final and Oriel Riera looks like he might be the best attacking weapon they have had in a striker.
Perth however have a litany of attacking talent, lead by Diego Castro which should be able to take advantage of a vulnerable Wanderers squad.
I like Perth to get in here however this result might not be truly reflective of the team’s fortunes in the season to come.
Back Perth to Win @ $3.40
The A-League continues to go from strength to strength and we are in for another very exciting season.
There was nothing between the top teams in the A-League last season and that is expected to be the case again in 2016/2017.
The action gets underway on Friday night when the Brisbane Roar host the Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium, but the highlight is on Saturday when the Western Sydney Wanderers take on Sydney FC in front of a capacity crowd at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Brisbane Roar Vs Melbourne Victory
Friday 7 October, 6:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
This is a very interesting way to start the A-League season.
These two sides did battle in a number of intriguing games last season and it was the Brisbane Roar that eliminated the Melbourne Victory in the first week of the finals.
It is the Roar that will go into this game as narrow favourites and that is solely due to their outstanding record at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane were 12-2-1 as home favourites last season for a very big profit and they have won eight of their past nine games against the Victory.
Melbourne were one of the big disappointments in the A-League last season and they won just one of their five games as underdogs, while it is no secret just how poor their record at Suncorp Stadium is.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the Roar will make a winning start to the season and they are a good bet to do just that.
Back Brisbane Roar To Win @ $2.38
Wellington Phoenix Vs Melbourne City
Saturday 8 October, 4:35pm, Westpac Stadium
Tim Cahill signed with Melbourne City in the off-season, but his long-awaited A-League debut will be delayed due to his commitments with the Socceroos.
Melbourne City may be missing a number of key players, but they still have Bruno Fornaroli up-front and will start this game as clear favourites.
Melbourne City were actually 2-1-3 as away favourites last season for a loss and their record in Wellington is particularly poor.
Not a great deal is expected of the Wellington Phoenix this season, but they can still be a very tricky opposition on their day.
The Phoenix finished last season with a 2-1-4 record as home underdogs for a loss and they are always a tough team to tough from a betting proposition.
The market looks to have got this contest just about right and there is no real value in this contest.
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 8 October, 6:50pm, ANZ Stadium
This is set to be one of the biggest A-League regular season games in history as ANZ Stadium has been sold out for over a month.
There is clearly no love lost between these two sides and there is always plenty of tension – their past six games have been decided by just a single goal.
The market is finding it very tough to separate these two teams and there is some value available.
There is no doubt that the Western Sydney Wanderers were a much better side than their rivals last season and they won 13 of their 21 games as favourites for a tidy profit.
Sydney FC were somewhat disappointing last season and they were only able to win two of their 10 games as underdogs.
Western Sydney have had a strong off-season and despite losing some players to international duty, I still expect them to be too strong for Sydney FC on Saturday night.
Back Western Sydney Wanderers To Win @ $2.60
Perth Glory Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 8 October, 9:00pm, NIB Stadium
The Perth Glory are favourites to finally taste A-League success this season and they really should start their season with a comfortable victory.
There have been plenty of false dawns for Perth throughout their history in the A-League, but they have put together a strong squad that is right up there with the very best in the competition.
Perth won three of their four games as home favourites last season for a comfortable profit and they were really able to turn NIB Stadium into a fortress.
The Central Coast Mariners had the season from hell 12 months ago and it could be another long season for the struggling franchise.
Central Coast won just one of their 13 games as away underdogs last season and I expect them to be completely outclassed by this Perth Glory outfit on Saturday night.
Back Perth Glory To Win @ $1.57
Newcastle Jets Vs Adelaide United
Sunday 9 October, 4:00pm, Hunter Stadium
Adelaide United finally won their first A-League Championship and they start their title defence with a trip to Newcastle.
Adelaide made a very slow start to their A-League season, but they were easily the best team at the business end of the competition and they could hardly have been more impressive during the A-League Finals.
The Reds were a profitable betting team across the majority of metrics last season and they were 4-1-1 as away favourites for a handy profit.
There always drama at Newcastle and they will start the season with a new coach in the form of Mark Jones.
Jones is saying all the right things – he believes that Newcastle can the Arsenal of the A-League – but this is definitely one of the weakest squads in the A-League this season.
One factor in Newcastle’s favor is that they were actually a profitable betting side as home underdogs last season, but they were still only able to win three of their 11 games in that scenario.
Adelaide should prove far too strong for their rivals and they are a safe bet to get the job done.
Back Adelaide United To Win @ $2