With the Olyroos qualifying for Tokyo 2020 and the Matildas set to begin their qualifiers next week, it’s easy to forget the A-League is still going.
While there is little intrigue at the top of the table, the finals race gives us a lot to watch this weekend with a massive shakeup on the cards depending on how the results fall.
It all kicks off in Sydney with the Sky Blues hosting the Roar and we’ve got previews for all five games right here!
Friday 31 January, 7:30pm, Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Sydney FC 1 – Brisbane 0
You have to give credit to the Roar, they are unbeaten in their last five and finding ways to get results even if they are the second best side on the pitch.
That resilience will be given a real test as they visit the rampant Sydney FC who are cruising at the top of the table right now.
Last time Brisbane visited the defending champions they were blown off the park 5-1 as Milos Ninkovic and Alex Baumjohann put on a clinic, however the German will be absent from this fixture after his red card last week.
The Roar will keep this game a lot closer than the previous meeting but I don’t have the confidence in them getting the job done against Sydney. If it were any other opponent I would probably consider it.
I’ll take Sydney in a low scoring encounter for a same game multi.
SGM: Sydney to Win & Under 3.5 Goals @ $2.53
Saturday 1 February, 5:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle 0 – Western United 0
Newcastle managed to upset Western United in November and while the results have gone downhill since then, their opponents aren’t in great shape either.
Having lost three of their last four, Mark Rudan’s side is showing real signs of fraying around the edges.
All things being equal they should rip through the Jets but you can’t have any faith in them in this game.
Instead of going for the head-to-head market, we’ll take a lower value Both Teams to Score play that can build the bank for the rest of the season.
Back Both Teams to Score @ $1.50
Saturday 1 February, 7:30pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide 3 – Melbourne City 1
Two sides that are trending in the right direction face off at Coopers Stadium with Melbourne City unbeaten in their last four and Adelaide on a two game winning streak.
The Reds 4-3 win over Western United last week gave us one of the more memorable games of the entire season and it seems like Gertjan Verbeek’s hail-mary play to call out the squad gave them a wakeup call.
Melbourne City continued to pick up points with a dour draw against their closest rival for second-place in Perth last weekend and they will need Jamie Maclaren to have his shooting boots ready to go in this one.
Three of the last four meetings between these sides have finished as draws but I’ll take City as I don’t think Adelaide have quite solved their scoring issues yet.
Back Melbourne City to Win @ $2.65
Saturday 1 February, 9:45pm, HBF Park
Perth 2 – Melbourne Victory 2
It’s been a big week for the Victory and, after getting pounded by Sydney in the Big Blue, they bounced back with a huge win over Kashima Antlers in an ACL Group Stage qualifier.
Not that they have a whole lot of time to celebrate that win with a flailing A-League campaign to salvage, starting this weekend in Perth.
They have lost three in a row and fallen down to eighth-place while the Glory’s winning run came to an end with a scoreless draw against City last weekend.
For this one, I’ll back the more well-rested, in-form team and for a bit of extra value, I’ll take the Glory in a Halftime/Fulltime double.
Back Perth HT/FT Double @ $2.65
Central Coast Mariners
Western Sydney Wanders
Sunday 2 February, 4:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
Central Coast 1 – Western Sydney 3
You have two choices looking for a winner in this game: the team that might be lacking a bit of talent but will go all out every week or the better side that is in freefall.
There is a very good case to make for the Mariners in an upset here as the Wanderers have lost three straight and look like a team in dire need of a hard reset.
While their bye week came at a great time and might have given them a moment to work on their issues, until they show up to a game and look ready to go, you may as well back against them.
Back Central Coast to Win @ $2.95
After seemingly endless midweek games, it feels like an eternity with the A-League having a full week off between games, although most clubs will feel as though the rest could not come fast enough.
This week there are two games that stand out above all others, starting with the Distance Derby in Perth Saturday night followed by the “Light Blue Derby” on Sunday.
Read on for our previews and predictions for all five A-League matches this coming weekend.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 1 February, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Western Sydney 1 – Newcastle 5
This clash looks like it has plenty of goals in it, if the recent history of the two sides is anything to go by.
The Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals Markets have hit in eight of Western Sydney’s last nine games and it could very well be on the cards here.
The Wanderers are coming off a late capitulation in Brisbane, which, on the plus side at least ended their six game losing run, even though they threw a win down the drain.
Their recent record at ANZ does not inspire a lot of confidence losing six in a row at that venue and conceding two or more in each of those games.
Back Newcastle to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $4.20
Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 2 February, 5:35pm, Central Coast Stadium
Central Coast 2 – Melbourne Victory 3
Central Coast have the A-League’s worst defensive record, so their worst nightmare is about to come to Gosford.
The Victory are the A-League’s highest scoring team with 36 on the season and 10 in their last three games.
Ola Toivonen has scored in each of the last three games and has ten on the season and will no doubt be a good option if you are looking for an Anytime Goalscorer play.
But for our recommendation here, you can look back to Round 4 where the Victory won 4-1 and a similar result looks to be on the cards.
Back Melbourne Victory -1 Goal @ $2.60
Saturday 2 February, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide 4 – Brisbane 3
Last time these sides met it was a wild encounter with a red card apiece, an eye gouging incident and the coaches going off at each other on the sideline.
Unfortunately, some of the main antagonists from that clash are gone with Taylor Regan departing Adelaide, John Aloisi resigning as Roar boss and one time Red Stefan Mauk absent from the Roar due to injury.
Adelaide are on a great run against Brisbane, winning four of the last six meetings between the two clubs and are favoured to make it five of seven.
Brisbane gave us a glimpse of the Roar sides of old with two stoppage time goals to steal a point against the Wanderers.
Even with the momentum boost a comeback like that will give them, the Roar’s defensive stocks are paper thin at the moment and Adelaide should be able to take advantage of the chances they will get.
Back Adelaide to Win and Over 2.5 Goals @ $2.20
Saturday 2 February, 10:00pm, HBF Park
Perth 3 – Wellington 0
If you said this would be a potential Grand Final Preview at the start of the season, you would have been rightly laughed out of whatever establishment you were in.
But here we are three and a half months into the season and the Glory are on top of the table while the Phoenix are showing they should be considered a legitimate test for any opponent.
You can make a case for both sides to win here, with the Nix one of the form sides of the table while Perth are just out & out good, plus they are at home.
What swings this game though is how good Wellington has been away from home this season, unbeaten in their last five and they should be able to hold out for a draw here.
Back the Draw @ $3.75
Sunday 3 February, 5:00pm, Jubilee Stadium
Sydney FC 2 – Melbourne City 0
Don’t call this the Sky Blue Derby, even though Sydney has won each of the last six A-League matches between the two.
A lot of those games have not even been close with all bar one of those wins coming by two or more goals and four of those six have been to nil.
When these sides met in November, Sydney cruised to a 3-0 win and the Sky Blues will be desperate for a repeat of that result after losing to the Victory on Australia Day.
At even money in a game like this you have to feel good about backing Sydney.
Back Sydney FC to Win @ $2.00
It is the last week before continental commitments begin for the A-League sides.
Sydney will not be happy with what is (by their standards) a form slump with one win in 2018 so far and the big matches still to come.
Brisbane and Perth are two sides in need of a shot of confidence when they face off while both Melbourne sides have important matchups as the gap on the ladder between them gets ever tighter.
Plenty to look forward to this weekend so here are our A-League betting previews and recommended plays.
Thursday 18 January, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane and Perth kick off Round 17 with a Thursday night clash to give the Roar the maximum preparation time ahead of their Asian Champions League Qualifier next Tuesday.
When these sides met on the Thursday before Christmas, it looked for a long time like it would be the Roar coming away with a win but a late run produced goals for Andy Keogh and Diego Castro to allow the visitors to come away with all three points. ‘
It has not been smooth sailing for the Glory since then losing all four matches since then and coach Kenny Lowe feeling plenty of pressure.
Things have not been much better with the fan base turning on the coaching staff having gone over 290 minutes without a league goal.
Both sides have shaky defensive groups but struggle to score and there is no clear winner in this game so instead back the draw.
Back the Draw @ $3.00
Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 19 January, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
While this fixture might lack the true marquee status it once had, it is still a must watch.
The Victory pulled out an important win against Perth last week despite being pushed to the edge.
History shows that the last two matches between these sides were draws however both sides have undergone significant changes since then.
Look for the Victory to pick up where they left off and push for a big win in this game.
Back Melbourne Victory to Win @ $2.20
Saturday, 4:35pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
One of Newcastle’s early statement results was a comfortable 3-0 win over the Phoenix in early November.
Back to back wins and three straight without a loss has them feeling pretty good about coming away with three points here.
With new addition Pato Rodriguez finding his feet they should become much more comfortable going forward and put away the Phoenix.
The odds here do not offer the biggest of return but it is hard to see this match going any other way.
Back Newcastle Jets to Win @ $1.61
Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 20 January, 7:50pm, Emirates Stadium
When Sydney FC look over at their loss column and see a solitary ‘1’ in there they know it was the Mariners who were responsible for that.
Graham Arnold appears to be pulling all the right strings getting his team motivated week after week to ensure they are ready to go.
Having been held to a draw against Adelaide, who followed the Mariners blueprint, Sydney will want to get back on track, especially with that being their second draw in three games.
Sydney are not offering great value and with the Mariners missing players through Olyroos commitments, stay away from this game,
Sunday 21 January, 7:00pm, AAMI Park
Much like when the Roar play Melbourne Victory, there will be a reunion atmosphere in the air due to the history between the two sides.
City will be happy to be coming into this game off two wins and a draw where they played most of the match with ten men.
When City were flying at the start of the year, they put away Adelaide 2-0 and would happily take that scoreline again.
But with Adelaide’s resilience on full display in their last three games, it is too hard to write them off and instead look for this to finish in a draw.
Back the Draw @ $3.60
The rivalry between the Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC is one of the fiercest in the A-League and they will do battle again in Melbourne on Australia Day.
Coffs Harbour will be treated to a rare A-League game when Newcastle face Melbourne City on Friday night and there are a host of big games spread right throughout the weekend.
We have closely analysed every game in the A-League this season and you can find our thoughts on every single clash below.
Thursday 26 January, 6:50pm, Etihad Stadium
Melbourne Victory 1 - Sydney FC 2
The Melbourne Victory have lost two games on the trot, but they will still go into this clash with Sydney FC as clear favourites.
Melbourne were very disappointing against the Perth Glory last weekend and they have now won six of their past 12 games as home favourites for a clear loss.
Sydney FC returned to winning form with a typically professional effort against Adelaide United and they are still yet to lose a game this season.
One position in which Sydney FC have struggled over the past 12 months is as away underdogs and they have not won any of their four games in this scenario.
They have drawn two of their past four games in that situation and backing the draw in every Melbourne Victory game this season has proven to be a profitable play.
Back The Draw @ $3.40
Friday 27 January, 6:50pm, Coffs International Stadium
Newcastle Jets 2 - Melbourne City 1
Newcastle Jets have elected to move their home game to Coffs Harbour and it is Melbourne City that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Melbourne City have struggled away from home over the past 12 months and they have won just one of their past seven games as away favourites for a big loss.
Newcastle are not playing at Hunter Stadium this weekend, but they will still have the support of the crowd and this is generally when they produce their best football.
The Jets have won four of their past nine games as home underdogs for a clear profit and their record against Melbourne City is fairly strong.
I can’t get Melbourne City anywhere near as short as their current price and the Jets do represent genuine value at their current price.
Back Newcastle To Win @ $3.80
Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 28 January, 4:35pm, Central Coast Stadium
Central Coast Mariners 2 - Perth Glory 0
Perth Glory produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Melbourne Victory last weekend and they will start this clash as the punter’s elect.
Perth have not lost a game in 2017 and they improved their record to 2-2 as away favourites for a narrow profit.
Central Coast produced an improved effort against Melbourne City last weekend, but they still came away from the game with nothing and have lost seven of their past eight games.
Winning at home has proven to be a huge problem for Central Coast and they have won just one of their past 11 games as home underdogs for a huge loss.
Perth should have no problem getting the job done and they are the best value play of the weekend.
Back Perth To Win @ $2.20
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 28 January, 6:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar 2 - Western Sydney Wanderers 1
It is always close when the Brisbane Roar take on the Western Sydney Wanderers and that looks likely to be the case again this weekend.
Brisbane ended their losing streak with a narrow win over the Wellington Phoenix and another win this weekend would really get their season back on track.
The Roar are normally at their best at Suncorp Stadium and they have won nine of their past 13 games as home favourites for a clear profit.
Western Sydney finally returned to winning form against the Newcastle Jets last weekend and they will take confidence from the fact that they drew with the Roar at Suncorp Stadium a month ago.
The Wanderers have won just one of their past ten games as away underdogs, but they have take a point from five of these clashes and are always tough to break down.
Brisbane generally get the job done at Suncorp Stadium and this is their chance to bounce back in front of their home fans.
Back Brisbane To Win @ $2.25
Sunday 29 January, 4:00pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United 2 - Wellington 2
Adelaide United continue to struggle for consistency in the A-League, but they will go into this clash with the Wellington Phoenix as favourites.
The Reds have won six of their past 16 games as home favourites for a narrow loss and they have been a very tough team to trust from a betting perspective this season.
Wellington has their winning run ended by the Brisbane Roar last weekend, but it is fair to say that they have played some quality football over the past month.
The Phoenix have won three of their past ten games as away underdogs for a profit, but they are also a tough team to trust.
This is a match that the market looks to have got just about right from a betting standpoint and I am happy to stay out.