It’s a different kind of schedule in the A-League for Round 12, the games are still being played over the course of four days, just spread out over two weeks.
Brisbane and Newcastle already played their match last Wednesday night and the Mariners and City don’t play their game until the 16th.
So for your enjoyment, here is a slightly abbreviated A-League Round 12 Preview with the usual breakdowns and predictions.
Newcastle Jets Vs Brisbane Roar
Wednesday 2 January, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
*MATCH PREVIEWED FOR ROUND 10*
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Wellington Phoenix
Tuesday 8 January, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
If nothing else, the Nix are showing plenty of resilience finding ways to hold on for draws right now.
After Mandi’s red card against Adelaide they closed ranks and held on for just the second scoreless draw in the competition all season.
Western Sydney showed plenty of fight going down to the Victory but were undone by the class of Ola Toivonen.
All in all that makes for a tough task for both of these sides to back up on just 72 hours rest and while Wellington should have a slight edge in class, this one probably won’t reach any great heights.
Back the Draw @ $3.50
Adelaide United Vs Melbourne Victory
Wednesday 9 January, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Another edition of the “Original Rivalry” as the Reds and Victory face off for the second time this season.
It was the Victory claiming all three points when they met at Marvel Stadium a month ago and you have to like them to repeat that effort.
The more games they have to play without Keisuke Honda, the more they will find new ways to adapt and sending the ball in the direction of their Swedish striker is a good starting point.
With both sides on a level price you have to like the Victory as a value play here.
Back Melbourne Victory to Win @ $2.60
Perth Glory Vs Sydney FC
Wednesday 9 January, 10:00pm, HBF Park
No rest for Perth after an emotional come from behind win in Brisbane on Sunday, they have to back up at home against a Sydney side fresh off scoring five goals.
We saw the good and bad of Glory against the Roar when they sleepwalked through the first half before a red card swung the game in their favour.
There is a lot of history for the Glory to overcome, they have been on the receiving end of some big defeats from Sydney over the last few years.
Perth is a huge step up from the Mariners but an extra two days of rest could be big for Sydney.
Back Sydney to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $4.60
Central Coast Mariners Vs Melbourne City
Wednesday 16 January, 7:50pm, Central Coast Stadium
*MATCH TO BE PREVIEWED IN ROUND 13*
One of the more dramatic rounds of A-League action is followed up with a big weekend leading into Christmas.
The second Melbourne Derby of the season highlights this weekend with Victory looking to build a winning streak heading into 2018.
Elsewhere the round begins with a big game in Brisbane as the Roar and Perth Glory want to push themselves into the mix and pull out of the pack currently residing between fourth and ninth on the ladder.
It is first against last as Wellington are the next team to try and stop the rampant Sydney FC.
Read our preview and our recommended plays for a festive fill up.
Brisbane Roar Vs Perth Glory
Thursday 21 December, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
These sides get together for the first time this season having split the three meetings evenly last week.
Brisbane were undone by a slow start against Melbourne Victory last week while Perth snatched a valuable point thanks to a Diego Castro goal.
On a short rest and with an injury ravaged side it will be worth watching to see how many changes are made to the Roar with a number of youngsters pushing for more game time.
Even with those potential changes, neither side seems to have the confidence to really go for it this week so take a draw.
Back the Draw @ $3.50
Newcastle Jets Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 22 December, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
It took a few weeks but Saturday night showed just what the Wanderers are capable of under new coach Josep Gombau.
They face the Newcastle Jets this weekend who are fresh off a big win over Adelaide on the weekend.
Debate may still continue over that penalty, but the Jets will take it however they will need to be much more clinical creating chances this week instead of waiting until the 55th minute to have their first shot on target.
With the Wanderers potential to hit the Jets on the break this has the makings of a high scoring affair with neither side able to find a breakthrough.
Back the Draw @ $3.60
Wellington Phoenix Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 23 December, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
It is looking like Sydney’s Premiership to lose at the moment with Graham Arnold’s side ruthlessly going through opponents at will.
Wellington made them work for it in round two almost snatching a point at Allianz Stadium and now they have a chance to spring an upset on their home ground.
It has been five straight wins for Sydney and having dropped points in just two games so far, it is worth riding them while their form drops off.
Back Sydney FC to Win to Nil @ $2.90
Melbourne City Vs Melbourne Victory
Saturday 23 December, 7:50pm, Emirates Stadium
One of the biggest matches in the A-League calendar is the late December tradition of the Melbourne Derby.
When these sides met in October it was City emerging as 2-1 victors despite a late onslaught from Victory.
Going into this game it is City trying to rebound from a loss having gone down in Sydney last week while the Victory came away with a 2-1 win in Brisbane.
With the A-League struggling for traction in a busy summer market, they more than anyone else need this derby to be a classic and while I’m not sure this will fulfil that need it will be a tight finish with a score draw.
Back Both Teams to Score and Draw @ $4.20
Adelaide United Vs Central Coast Mariners
Tuesday 26 December, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
It is a good thing both of these sides will have a few extra days to cool off after some highly frustrating VAR related moments in their matches last weekend.
Working in Adelaide’s favour is the fact that they will be able to welcome back Ben Garrucio and Daniel Adlung from suspension for this game.
The latter scored a stunning volley when these sides met six weeks ago and would love to have the opportunity to replicate that feat on home turf.
Both of these sides have improved greatly this year but I like Adelaide’s strengths at set pieces to get the job done for them.
Back Adelaide United to Win @ $1.90
The A-League action does not stop for Christmas weekend!
The round starts on Friday night when the Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers do battle before there is a big double-header on Boxing Day, which is highlighted by the clash between Adelaide United and Sydney FC.
The action goes all the way to Wednesday and it really is an absolute feast for football fans this weekend!
Brisbane Roar Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 23 December, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Roar have still only lost the one game this season and they will go into this clash with the Western Sydney Wanderers as clear favourites.
Suncorp Stadium continues to be a real fortress for the Roar and they have won 11 of their past 14 games as home favourites for a big profit and they beat Western Sydney in this corresponding fixture 12 months ago.
Western Sydney have won just one of their past eight games and they were fairly poor against the Wellington Phoenix last weekend.
The Wanderers have won just one of their past seven games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they are a side that has been very tough to trust from a betting perspective this season.
Brisbane are always a safe bet in front of their home fans and should be able to get the job done comfortably.
Back Brisbane To Win @ $2
Newcastle Jets Vs Wellington Phoenix
Monday 26 December, 5:35pm, Hunter Stadium
This will be one of the most interesting games of the round as both the Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix both come into this game on the back of promising efforts.
Newcastle have recorded back-to-back wins over the Perth Glory and Adelaide United and will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Jets have won only one of their past three as home favourites, but their record in front of their home fans has been good.
Wellington have not lost a game since Ernie Merrick resigned and there was a lot to like about their performance against the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend.
The Phoenix have won three of their past 10 games as away underdogs for a clear profit and their record against the Newcastle Jets is excellent.
Wellington are a good gamble to continue their unbeaten run and take the three points from this clash.
Back Wellington To Win @ $3
Adelaide United Vs Sydney FC
Monday 26 December, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
This season continues to go from bad to worse for Adelaide United and it is Sydney FC that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Adelaide went down to the Newcastle Jets last weekend and this will be the first time that they have started a home game as underdogs for over a year.
Sydney FC returned to winning form with a dominant performance against Perth Glory and it should come as no surprise that they will go into this clash as the punter’s elect.
The Sky Blues have now won five of their past eight games as away favourites and they look like the safest bet in the A-League this weekend.
Anything better than even money is well over the odds.
Back Sydney FC To Win @ $2.05
Melbourne City Vs Perth Glory
Tuesday 27 December, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne City may have lost to Melbourne Victory last weekend, but they will still go into this clash with the Perth Glory as clear favourites.
Melbourne City have dominated at AAMI Park over the past 12 months and they have won nine of their past 12 games as home favourites.
Perth have not won a game since they beat Adelaide United over a month ago, but they still do have a surprisingly good record as away underdogs – they have won four of their past ten games in this scenario for a clear profit.
Melbourne City should be able to get the job done comfortably, but there is no value at their current price and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting standpoint.
Melbourne Victory Vs Central Coast Mariners
Wednesday 28 December, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Victory produced one of their best performances of the season to date to beat Melbourne City and they are the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend.
The Victory have now won six of their past eight games and their record against the Central Coast Mariners is nothing short of outstanding.
Melbourne have won five of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear loss, but they are 6-1-2 against the Mariners in this scenario.
Central Coast have now lost three games on the trot and their record as away underdogs does not inspire a great deal of confidence – they have won just two of their past 13 games as away underdogs for a clear loss.
Melbourne Victory are another safe bet, but there is no real value at the current price.