Just five weeks remain in the 2021 A-League season and just seven points separate the top nine teams.
This weekend sees Brisbane begin a hectic run of fixtures as they try to catch up on several COVID and weather related postponements.
Perth also finds itself in line for a frantic dash to the finish line as they have several catch up games in store as well.
Read on and find our best bests for Round 19 of the A-League season below.
Thursday 29 April, 7:00pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne City 3 – Newcastle 1
Newcastle’s horror run doesn’t get any easier with a clash against Melbourne City kicking off Round 19.
We have covered their winless run ad nauseum over the last two months and it now stands at 10 games thanks to a 2-0 loss to Western United on Monday night.
Understandably, the market for this fixture is forecasting an ugly one sided match so I’ll take this opportunity for a SGM to try and find some value.
The hosts should have no problems covering the HT/FT double and I’ll also take Jamie Maclaren to get on the scoresheet and register his 20th goal of the season.
SGM: Melbourne City HT/FT & Jamie Maclaren Anytime Goalscorer @ $2.01
Friday 30 April, 7:30pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide 0 – Western United 0
There’s an awful lot riding on this match for both of these teams heading into the final month of the regular season.
Western United has lost just once in its last five games and is eyeing off a run into the finals while Adelaide has hit a bump winning just once in their last five.
Mark Rudan’s side has built its foundation on a rock solid backline and they have conceded just eight goals in their last nine fixtures.
Adelaide’s games have been much more wide open with both teams to score hitting in 10 of their last 11 but I have been impressed with the way Western United have been controlling games.
If they are able to frustrate Adelaide’s attack then we could be in for a case of first goal wins and the market is offering good value on that type of game unfolding.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ $2.35
Saturday 1 May, 3:00pm, HBF Park
Perth 0 – Macarthur 0
Shifted from its original Friday night slot due to Perth’s lockdown, the Glory and Bulls kick start a Saturday triple header at HBF Park.
By the time this game kicks off, it will have been 13 days since they last played a match and over a month since their last win.
Macarthur is not enjoying its football at the moment either with two points from their last four matches.
There’s not a lot to like about the prospects of either team here and I’ll land on the fence by backing the draw.
Back the Draw @ $3.40
Saturday 1 May, 5:00pm, Moreton Daily Stadium
Brisbane 0 – Wellington 0
Two of the most exciting teams in the A-League face off in this match and we could be in for a real treat.
The goals have been flying in for the Nix with both teams to score hitting in eight of their last nine and the Nix themselves scoring 11 goals in their last five games.
Brisbane has built its three game winning streak and six game unbeaten streak on the foundations of a solid backline but they have had trouble keeping clean sheets.
On the plus side their attack appears to have finally clicked into gear with the Roar putting four past the Central Coast on Wednesday night.
I’m expecting both teams to go into this fixture thinking they need at least three goals to win and I’ll go for a big value option as the Roar make it four wins in a row.
Back Brisbane to Win & Over 3.5 Goals @ $5.20
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 1 May, 7:10pm, Bankwest Stadium
Western Sydney 3 – Sydney FC 2
Western Sydney can’t defend to save themselves at the moment which could be the perfect opportunity for the Sydney strike force to tune up ahead of the imminent return of Adam Le Fondre.
It has not been a marquee Sydney FC side this season with the team labouring through quite a few matches, yet they are still in the mix for the premiership.
Considering the Wanderers just gave up five goals to one of the worst Victory teams in recent memory, it could be a long night for Carl Robinson and his team.
I’ll back Sydney to win and put a few past their local rivals in the process.
Back Sydney FC to Win & Over 2.5 Goals @ $2.60
Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 2 May, 4:00pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory 1 – Central Coast 1
Central Coast will have to see this fixture as an opportunity to get their season back on track, following a rough defeat to Brisbane during the week.
Not only did they lose 4-0 to the Roar, star import Marco Urena was sent off and will miss this fixture with the Victory.
They have not won since Easter Thursday but have taken two of their last three against the Victory.
I just can’t bring myself to back them here, especially considering the Victory have proven to be moderately competent when given the opportunity to insert themselves into the match.
What I will do is follow the trend of recent matches which has seen both teams score and over 2.5 goals hit in six of the last seven head to heads.
Back Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.83
Wednesday 5 May, 7:00pm, Moreton Daily Stadium
Brisbane 2 – Western United 1
Fans and punters alike will be praying that the pitch at Moreton Daily Stadium has dried out after a weekend deluge left it resembling a swamp in the Roar’s 0-0 draw with Wellington.
It may not lead to too many more goals however with the Roar and Western United having a long history of frustrating arm wrestles.
The visitors come into this match with three clean sheets from their last four games so all signs are pointing towards a very tight contest.
Each of the last three matches between these sides has finished 1-0 and while the price on Under 1.5 is very tempting,
I’ll give myself a bit of insurance and back two or fewer goals to be scored.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ $2.10
Wednesday 5 May, 9:20pm, HBF Park
Perth 1 – Melbourne City 3
This has been a rivalry very heavily weighted to the away team with the home side failing to win any of the last six matches dating back to December 2018.
City is looking for its first back to back victories in over a month following their comfortable 3-1 win over Newcastle and I’ll back them to create some further breathing room on top of the A-League ladder.
They will be relying on their phenomenal forward line to get themselves over the line here and it makes sense considering they are playing a Perth side that is conceding just under two goals per match.
On the other side City is scoring for fun with a competition high 42 goals in 18 matches, get ready for plenty of fireworks out west.
Back Melbourne City to Win & Over 3.5 Goals @ $3.60
There’s just four games in the A-League this weekend with all three sides in the Asian Champions League having a bye.
That does somewhat limit the punting options with the usually safe “Sydney FC to Win” option off the table for this weekend but there’s still plenty of value on offer if you find the right markets.
Check out who we are backing in Round 19 of the A-League here.
Central Coast Mariners
Friday 14 February, 7:30pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide 2 – Central Coast 0
Adelaide’s three game winning streak was brought to a halt in rainy Brisbane last week but I’m ready to jump back on their bandwagon this weekend when they take on a Mariners side that looks like it is hitting the wall.
While the Mariners did manage to spring an unlikely upset of the Reds in late December, they have not looked at all likely of coming close to a victory in the last month.
With a league high 11 losses from their 16 games played this season, the Mariners are fast becoming a great team to back against and we’ll start off taking Adelaide as part of a same game multi.
Both Teams to Score has hit in all three games between these two sides this season (including the FFA Cup Semi Final) and both sides are more than capable of scoring if given an opportunity to.
SGM: Adelaide to Win & Both Teams to Score @ $2.64
Saturday 15 February, 5:00pm, Eden Park
Wellington 1 – Melbourne City 0
The Nix are taking their home game against Melbourne City up the road to Auckland as they look to keep hold of fourth spot on the ladder.
You have to like City’s chances of winning if (and it’s a big if) they can build on their Derby form instead of having a hangover from it.
Should City perform anything below the standard they set last week there is every chance Wellington will find a way to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them.
In the interests of insurance against City channelling their inner Melbourne Heart, I’ll take the lower value ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ since that has hit in five of Wellington’s last seven and 14 of City’s 17 A-League matches this season.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.62
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 15 February, 7:30pm, Bankwest Stadium
Western Sydney 1 – Newcastle 1
Sure the Jets won last weekend but it was against the Mariners so that needs to come with a double asterisk next to it, firstly it was against a side they have had few problems with lately and it had the added elements of wild weather and a derby atmosphere.
The Wanderers had their second weekend off in the last three as rain postponed their derby with Sydney FC giving interim coach Jean-Paul de Marigny some extra time to work with his players.
New Jets coach Carl Robinson will take his first game in charge and I’m expecting him to realise the scale of the rebuild he will have to undertake as the Jets get outclassed but their hosts here.
Back Western Sydney to Win @ $2.10
Sunday 16 February, 4:00pm, Mars Stadium
Western United 0 – Brisbane 1
On its own, Brisbane’s gritty win over the in form Adelaide last week was pretty impressive and when you put it in the context of the last six weeks, things are definitely improving for Robbie Fowler.
Looking back to the last (& only) time these two sides have met, it was a real turning point for the Roar as they went down in a frustrating defeat in mid-December that was topped off by a postgame clash between Mark Rudan and Roar officials.
If there is any simmering tension between the two sides we could be in for a fierce clash with plenty of bookings but it will be interesting to see how Mark Rudan sets his side up in this contest.
Last time he went full Jose Mouriho Park the Bus essentially daring the Roar to break down his stacked backline and they couldn’t.
While Brisbane is not exactly lethal in front of goal, they are finding ways to score, even if it isn’t through the prettiest methods.
Combine that with the form of Jamie Young, who can only be beaten by special strikes at the moment, I’m happy to get on the Roar here at this price.
Back Brisbane to Win @ $2.70
After all of that, we are into the final third of the A-League season and it is Perth Glory’s Premiership to lose.
With a seven point lead and just nine games remaining the Glory are just seven games away from their first A-League Premiers Plate.
They have a chance to take one step closer to silverware when they host Brisbane Roar in the late Saturday night game.
Read on for our previews and predictions for every A-League match this weekend.
Friday 15 February, 5:35pm, Eden Park
Wellington 1 – Melbourne Victory 1
The previous two clashes between these teams this year have been nothing short of exceptional and if the football gods want to give fans a break, this game will be another memorable one.
When these sides met in Round 14, it was a breathtaking 3-3 draw with both sides having chances to take control of the contest and with plenty of finals permutations, neither team will want to drop any points here.
With the Victory losing at home to Perth last week and the Phoenix being held to a draw in Newcastle both sides would love to kick start their run home with a win here.
The tip for this game will hinge very much on the availability of Keisuke Honda, if he can get a full 90 minutes then the Victory should win, otherwise back the draw.
*If Honda Starts: Back Victory to Win @ $2.10
*If Honda Doesn’t Start: Back the Draw @ $3.40
Friday 15 February, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle 3 – Melbourne City 1
Just ten months ago these sides were meeting in an A-League Semi Final and now City have a chance to put another nail in the Jets season by taking all three points in the Hunter.
City has won the two meetings between these sides this season, both coming at AAMI Park however and the Jets haven’t lost in their last three home games.
Neither side has really set the scoreboard alight this season with City having the third worst goals scored tally of 22 and the Jets having the second worst number at 21.
During the transfer window City went out to address that issue and brought in Jamie Maclaren who scored on debut and has a proven track record at this level and should be able to find a goal to put City ahead early.
Back City to Win @ $2.63
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 16 February, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide 1 – Western Sydney 3
Adelaide is unbeaten in its last seven games after a draw against Melbourne City last weekend and would love to consolidate fourth spot with another win here.
The Wanderers finally ended a winless streak that dated back to December 7, funnily enough bookended by victories over the Mariners.
Considering the Mariners fortunes this season it’s hard to get too excited over the Wanderers win last week and Adelaide is a big step up in class.
Adelaide has scored two goals in both matches against Western Sydney this season and should be able to make it three here with another win.
Back Adelaide to Win and Over 1.5 Goals @ $1.87
Saturday 16 February, 10:00pm, HBF Park
Perth 4 – Brisbane 0
While the Glory continue their march towards the Premiership, the Roar are just looking for fit defenders.
Last week Matt McKay was forced into emergency duty after injuries ravaged the Roar backline, although the diminutive veteran will likely be restored to his more familiar role in midfield this week.
The Glory picked up a 2-1 win last time these sides met and are at a very short price to pick up another three points here.
Even with the Roar picking up a much needed win over Sydney last week it’s hard to see anything other than a Glory win here although the Roar will take advantage of any lapse in concentration and at least find a way onto the scoresheet.
Back Perth Glory to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $2.70
Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 17 February, 5:00pm, Leichardt Oval
Sydney 1 – Central Coast 1
Sydney enters round 19 of the A-League as the shortest priced favourite when they take on the last placed Mariners.
It looks like Central Coast is back to its old ways losing four in a row including and, while the side has been competitive it just can’t seem to find a way to string results together.
Things have not been going too well for Sydney either, losing two of its last three including last weekend’s upset loss in Brisbane when they couldn’t break down a makeshift defence.
That should spark a reaction from a side that needs to get back on track and the Mariners look like the perfect opponent to offer that chance.
Back Sydney to Win Both Halves @ $2.80
Nine rounds to go in the A-League season and this weekend kicks off The Chase for the finals series.
Each side will face the other nine clubs once in the last two months of the season and there is still plenty of jockeying for position to take place.
Here is our A-League betting preview for Round 19 including the recommended plays for each match.
Friday 2 February, 7:50pm, Allianz Stadium
After two straight draws and sharing the spoils in three out of their last four, Sydney came back into familiar territory with a comfortable 3-1 win on Australia Day.
Wellington could not back up their impressive away win in Newcastle and went down to Adelaide 1-0 at home.
The last month has been rather solid if you have backed the Phoenix to take points from their games, getting a win or draw in four of their last six.
Sydney are in a different class to the Phoenix however and despite their recent struggles (by their standards), and that should get them home here with start to finish domination.
Back Sydney FC to Win Both Halves @ $2.80
Saturday 3 February, 5:35pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The second of back to back Melbourne opponents for the Jets after grabbing a point at AAMI Park last weekend.
The home side has won both times this season with a 4-1 win for the Jets before the Victory won 2-1 at AAMI Park.
Melbourne go into this game potentially undermanned with the loss of Jason Geria to suspension and the much-publicised departure of Mark Milligan.
In terms of the finals race, this will not see Newcastle go up or down from second place but with Adelaide on the heels of fourth placed Victory they need to gain as many points as possible.
For this one though, the home side rule should hold firm here.
Back the Jets to Win @ $2.40
Saturday 3 February, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Perth snapped a five-game losing streak with a much needed win at home over the Wanderers at the weekend but their task does not get much easier with a trip to Adelaide on the cards.
Marco Kurz’s side have lost just once in 2018 but their home form has not been all that encouraging.
Two losses, a draw and a win from their last four games at Coopers Stadium however they have been forced to be road warriors since the New Year with their lone home game being a 0-0 draw with Sydney which they certainly celebrated like a victory.
Diego Castro reminded fans why he is one of the most dangerous attackers in the league with his masterclass last weekend and he should be able to keep Perth in touch.
Back the Draw @ $3.80
Central Coast Mariners
Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday 4 February, 5:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
Mistakes doomed the Mariners when they went down to the Roar in Gosford last week.
Tipped by many to make a finals run, they now find themselves mired in ninth place trying to stay ahead of Wellington.
Western Sydney have not won in four games but are still controlling their destiny ahead of a potential run into the finals.
Both sides would love to end their poor run of form here but neither one appears to have the firepower to break through.
Back the Draw @ $3.50
Sunday 4 February, 7:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
Lost in the Roar’s “week from hell” was the fact that it was bookended by back to back wins in the league.
Neither of the wins over Perth or Central Coast were overly pretty but they were good enough for three points in each game and a spot in the top six at the end of Round 18.
City won the first meeting between these sides in the season opener while the Roar got bragging rights back with a November win at Suncorp.
The visitors have looked very good in their last two games with a big win over Adelaide followed up with a fighting draw against Newcastle.
Goals should not be a problem for either side here with three or more in each of their last three matches (including the ACL Qualifier).
Back Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals @ $2
Week 19 of the A-League gets underway on Thursday night when Sydney FC host the Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium before Adelaide United face Perth Glory on Friday.
The match of the round will take place on Saturday night when Melbourne City take on the Brisbane Roar in a crucial clash and the Western Sydney Wanderers face the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday afternoon.
Thursday 9 February, 6:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC 3 - Wellington Phoenix 1
Sydney FC maintained their unbeaten record in the A-League this season with a scoreless draw against the Brisbane Roar last weekend and they will start this clash as dominant favourites.
The Sky Blues have been tough to beat this season, but the have not been particularly profitable from a betting standpoint – they have won five of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear loss.
Wellington were no match for the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, but they will take confidence from the fact that they beat Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium last season.
The Phoenix have won three of their past 11 games as away underdogs for a profit and they are capable of a quality performance on their day.
It is a gamble, but there is genuine value in the $7.50 on offer for a Wellington victory.
Back Wellington To Win @ $7.50
Friday 10 February, 6:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United 0 - Perth Glory 5
Adelaide United’s season hit a new low last season when they were beaten by the Central Coast Mariner, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
Adelaide have been very unreliable this season and it should come as no surprise that they have won just five of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear loss.
Perth returned to winning form with a thrilling victory over the Newcastle Jets and they really need to be winning these types of games.
The Glory have taken at least a point from seven of their past 11 games as away underdogs for a clear profit and they really do look like the value betting play of the weekend.
Back Perth To Win @ $3
Saturday 11 February, 4:35pm, Hunter Stadium
Newcastle Jets 0 - Melbourne Victory 0
Melbourne Victory ended their losing streak with a controversial win in a spiteful Melbourne Derby and they are clear favourites to make it two victories on the trot.
Melbourne have generally played well away from home this season and they have won four of their past seven games as away favourites for a clear profit.
Newcastle went down to Perth last weekend, but there was still a fair bit to like about their performance.
There is no doubt that Newcastle have improved this season and they have won four of their past nine games as home underdogs for a clear profit.
This is one game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am more than happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Saturday 11 February, 6:50pm, AAMI Stadium
Melbourne City 2 - Brisbane Roar 2
Third position in the A-League will be on the line when Melbourne City and the Brisbane Roar do battle on Saturday night.
Melbourne City have an excellent record in front of their home fans at AAMI Stadium, but it is the Brisbane Roar that will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
Brisbane have generally struggled away from home this season and they have won just two of their past five games as away favourites for a clear loss.
Melbourne City have one just one of their past four games and they will go into this clash without the suspended Tim Cahill.
They have won 10 of their past 16 games in front of their home fans and they really have been able to turn AAMI Stadium into somewhat of a fortress.
Melbourne City really should be favourites and they are great value at the current price.
Back Melbourne City To Win @ $2.70
Western Sydney Wanderers
Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 12 February, 4:00pm, Spotless Stadium
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 - Central Coast Mariners 2
Western Sydney Wanderers have an excellent record against the Central Coast Mariners and they will start this clash as dominant favourites.
Western Sydney have struggled badly as favourites this season and they have won only three of their past 11 games as home favourites.
The Central Coast Mariners made it two wins on the trot with their fighting victory over Adelaide United and they have produced their best form of the season over the past fortnight.
Winning away from home has been a real issue for the Mariners this season and they have won just one of their past 13 games away underdogs.
Both these teams are tough to trust from a betting standpoint and this is another game that I am keen to stay out of.