“If you are Brisbane or Central Coast, the margin for error is quickly eroding as the sides results do not match preseason expectations.”
If you will care to read down to the 2017/2018 A-League Round 16 Preview, you will notice the line copied into this year’s preview is incredibly applicable to this year.
While many tipped the Mariners to be wooden spooners, nobody saw them being as bad as they have been.
Brisbane might not have been able to challenge for the title, but should be at least in contention for a finals berth.
At the top end of the table an intriguing battle continues to unfold as the Victory and Sydney, both fighting for second spot behind ladder leaders Perth, face off in their annual Australia Day Big Blue clash.
Read on for our previews and predictions for all five Round 16 A-League matches.
Brisbane Roar Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 25 January, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
There’s not a lot that can be done to pump up a clash between eighth and ninth in the A-League but we will do what we can.
Having drawn with Central Coast last Sunday Brisbane will look to pick up its second win of the campaign against a side currently in the worst form in the league.
It looked a lot like the Wanderers losing run was going to end on Tuesday against Melbourne City but there was late heartbreak instead, going down 4-3.
Just 72 hours later they have to play in a hot and humid Brisbane which is no easy task but they, like the Roar, will feel like this is a game where a win is well and truly possible.
Both sides could be without key players here which does add an element of the unknown to it but a draw certainly looks like the right play.
Back the Draw and Both Teams to Score @ $4
Wellington Phoenix Vs Melbourne City
Saturday 26 January, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
On the plus side for Melbourne City, they will be buzzing after their dramatic win over Western Sydney on Tuesday and will have an extra day of rest compared to their opponents.
On the down side they do have to travel over to Wellington and there is a real sense of belief around this side.
A lot has changed since City’s 2-0 win at AAMI Park in early November, most obviously the Nix have gotten a lot better.
Last time Wellington hosted City they won 2-1 in the final round of last season and look like the better side here.
A Nix win is the recommended play but adding in a total goals double is certainly an enticing value play.
Back Wellington to Win @ $2.35
Melbourne Victory Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 26 January, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
An Australia Day tradition as the Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC sides prepare to face off in their annual January 26th clash.
With both sides in the midst of chasing league leading Perth neither will be too keen to cede ground with the runner up prize of a week off in the finals a decent consolation.
It was Ola Toivonen and Keisuke Honda making the difference for the Victory when these sides faced off in Sydney and the Swedish striker will likely have to do it himself this time, with Honda still out through injury.
Sydney are not going to lie down but will have to back up from a tough outing in Wellington on Wednesday night and a sluggish start could prove costly here.
Both sides have the attacking talent to get on the scoresheet but you have to give the edge to the rested Victory side at home.
Back Victory to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $3.80
Adelaide United Vs Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 27 January, 5:00pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide blew the Mariners off the park in Round Three, coming away with a comfortable 3-0 win where Craig Goodwin starred with two goals.
The Reds flyer will happily take a repeat of that performance in this one as he has the ability to turn a game in Adelaide’s favour.
Backing up from a local derby is going to be very tough for the Mariners and history says they do not like playing Adelaide.
It has been five matches since the Mariners beat Adelaide and despite some recent signs for encouragement, it is hard to see that streak ending here.
Back Adelaide to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $2.88
Perth Glory Vs Newcastle Jets
Sunday 27 January, 7:00pm, HBF Park
Much like Wellington, Perth are now one of the must-watch sides in the A-League as the Glory continue to enjoy life at the summit of the mountain.
The Jets are one of the teams that may still be a mathematical hope of reaching the finals but realistically can just play spoiler from here on out.
Any points they can take off the Glory would be a big favour for the likes of Sydney and both Melbourne sides.
Perth put together a professional performance in a 2-0 in Newcastle back in December and know they have the ability to keep a misfiring Jets side at bay.
Back Perth to Win @ $1.73
We are into the back end of the A-League season and as expected it is Sydney’s title to lose now.
Looking down the ladder there are just eight points separating the sides from fourth to ninth so there is still plenty for all of those sides to play for.
If you are Brisbane or Central Coast, the margin for error is quickly eroding as the sides results do not match preseason expectations.
Here is our preview for this weekend’s fixtures and recommended A-League betting plays for Round 16.
Newcastle Jets Vs Brisbane Roar
Friday 12 January, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Something is not right at the Roar at the moment as evidenced by Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s comments after their loss to Sydney Monday night.
Newcastle on the other hand are continuing to fly after another F3 Derby win over the goal-starved Mariners.
Many of you may remember the first meeting between these teams as the one where Jets marquee Ronald Vargas suffered that horrific leg break at Suncorp Stadium.
Traditionally this fixture favours the visiting side however with the Roar now going over 220 minutes without a goal themselves, take the Jets.
Back the Jets to Win @ $1.70
Wellington Phoenix Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 13 January, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
After Wednesday night’s drama, Wellington are now in position to possibly overtake the Roar and haul themselves off the foot of the table.
The first meeting between these sides was meant to be in round seven however it was postponed due to pitch issues at Spotless Stadium.
Josep Gomabau does not have his team operating totally the way he would like them to, but the flashes of promise are becoming more and more frequent.
Wellington are a much more formidable side at home and should be able to find a goal through Andrija Kaluđerović but neither side will be able to find a winner.
Back both teams to score and a Draw @ $4
Melbourne Victory Vs Perth Glory
Saturday 13 January, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Just when it looked like Melbourne Victory were finding their best form they dropped a game in Wellington after Rhys Williams was sent off after less than ten minutes.
They will need to find a way to replace a player who has been immense for them this season with one of the league’s most feared attacking duos coming to town.
Thankfully for Victory, Perth have been struggling and coach Kenny Lowe is very much on the hot seat.
They have shipped eleven goals in three games while failing to score and if Victory show the New Zealand trip was an anomaly, this could be another bit win.
Back Melbourne Victory to Win to Nil @ $2.90
Central Coast Mariners Vs Melbourne City
Sunday 14 January, 5:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
With just one goal in the last six matches, Central Coast’s attack is struggling to say the least.
Melbourne City on the other hand were ecstatic to end their three-match losing streak with back to back wins over Wellington and Perth which also saw the return of their goal scoring touch.
The last time these sides met, Ross McCormack shot some life into a relatively dour event with his first goal from open play.
Chances are this game will follow a similar suit with City getting by in a low scoring match.
Back Melbourne City to Win @ $1.91
Adelaide United Vs Sydney FC
Sunday 14 January, 7:00pm, Coopers Stadium
In their current form, it is hard to find any sort of value taking Sydney to win since that is the expected result every time they take to the pitch.
Twelve wins from fifteen games and while they have looked human at times throughout the last fortnight, they are still producing results.
Away in Adelaide will be a big test given the Reds ability to match them in the midfield with Isaias which should keep the score low.
Even so still count on one of Sydney’s imports to produce a moment of magic and be the difference.
Back Sydney FC to Win @ $1.71
We are now over halfway through the 2016/2017 A-League season and the battle for places in the A-League Finals is now on in earnest.
There are a host of interesting games set to take place this weekend, but the highlight is set to be the Saturday night clash between the Perth Glory and the Melbourne Victory.
All five games in the A-League this weekend are set to be interesting betting affair and you can find our thoughts on each clash below.
Melbourne City Vs Central Coast Mariners
Thursday 19 January, 6:50pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne City suffered a surprise loss at the hands of Adelaide United last weekend, but they will still start this clear as clear favourites.
The FFA Cup winners have been very inconsistent in the past month, but they generally save their best football for AAMI Park and they have won ten out of their past 14 games as home favourites.
Central Coast went down to the Wellington Phoenix last weekend and they have not won a game for almost two months.
The Mariners have won just two of their past 15 games as away underdogs and it is tough to see that improving.
Melbourne City should prove far too strong for their rivals, but there is no value at their current price.
Sydney FC Vs Adelaide United
Friday 20 January, 6:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC remain unbeaten in the A-League this season and they will go into this clash with Adelaide United as clear favourites.
Sydney went unable to take the three points from the Sydney Derby last weekend and they have now won only four of their past 11 games as home favourites, while there have also been four draws.
Adelaide United produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Melbourne City last Friday night and they are sure to take plenty of confidence out of that clash.
The Reds have won three of their past nine games as away underdogs for a profit and backing the draw in these games has also been a winning play.
Adelaide United have finally started to improve and I believe they are capable of taking a point from this clash at big odds.
Back The Draw @ $4.20
Wellington Phoenix Vs Brisbane Roar
Saturday 21 January, 4:35pm, Westpac Stadium
The Brisbane Roar have lost three games on the trot and they will only go into this clash with the Wellington Phoenix as only narrow favourites.
Winning games away from home has proven to be somewhat of an issue for the Roar and they have won just two of their past five games as away favourites for a clear loss.
Wellington scored their first win in over a month against the Central Coast Mariners and are still an outside chance of qualifying for the A-League finals.
The Phoenix have won only one of their past eight games as home underdogs for an obvious loss and they have won back-to-back games just one in the past 12 months.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Perth Glory Vs Melbourne Victory
Saturday 21 January, 7:00pm, NIB Stadium
The Melbourne Victory have now won six games in a row and our favourites to make it seven against the Perth Glory this weekend.
Melbourne have scored 13 goals in their past four games and have played some excellent football in doing so.
They have now won four of their past six games as away favourites and they are always tough to beat off the back of a win.
Perth have not lost a game in a month, but they have won just one games in this time.
The Glory have won three of their past four games as away underdogs for a clear profit and they have won their past six games against the Victory at NIB Stadium.
Perth have been a tough team to trust from a betting perspective this season, but they still offer value at their current price.
Back Perth Glory To Win @ $3.20
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Newcastle Jets
Sunday 22 January, 4:00pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The Western Sydney Wanderers were unable to end their winless run against Sydney FC, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
Western Sydney have won just three of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear loss and they really have been poison for punters this season.
The Newcastle Jets took a point from their clash with the Perth Glory last weekend and they have played some quality football in recent weeks.
They have still won only two of their past 12 games as away underdogs, but the draw has proven to be a profitable play so far this season.
I am more than happy to take on Western Sydney and the $3.80 for this game to finish as a draw is well over the odds.
Back The Draw @ $3.80