As is always the case, the A-League Round 2 provides us with the first full round of competition between the sides as those that missed the first slate of games due to international commitments return to action.
The first Melbourne Derby headlines this weekend’s fixtures, while surprise packets the Newcastle Jets get to try and prove there was no mirage.
Brisbane Roar Vs Adelaide
Friday 13 October, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
Neither side here will be overly happy with their displays in the opening round as the Roar went down to City 2-0 and Adelaide drew in Wellington when they felt like they perhaps should have won.
The visitors here have a big blow to their defensive stocks as Taylor Regan is expected to be out for three months with an injury that should help out Brisbane’s Massimo Maccarone. The Roar will welcome back Brett Holman after he missed the opening game with a calf injury.
Traditionally, the Roar have done well in their first game at Suncorp but Adelaide have played the spoiler on two occasions including a 2-1 upset just three years ago.
Having had a game together, I like the Roar’s chances to play much better than they did last week and come away with a win here.
Back Brisbane Roar to win @ $2.25
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 14 October, 5:35pm, Spotless Stadium
The Wanderers imports impressed in their win over Perth to start the season and they get to back it up against a team full of exciting prospects coming off a rough derby loss in the Central Coast Mariners.
While still looking for a full time coach, the Wanderers have to be happy with how things started.
The Mariners will feel as though they were better than their 5-1 loss to the Newcastle Jets, especially given how well they started that game.
For them a draw would be good progress, however the Wanderers have a bit too much firepower to back against them and the Mariners are still finding themselves.
Unfortunately there just isn’t any value in taking the Wanderers at the moment so this one might be a stay away for now.
Melbourne Victory Vs Melbourne City
Saturday 13 October, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
Easily the match which will have the most hype around it as the Victory and City face off for the twenty-fourth time.
The Victory won the last two matches 2-1 with the third game proving to be highly entertaining with two late goals swinging the tie to the navy blue part of Melbourne.
They will also be boosted by the return of multiple internationals including Mark Milligan, James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses, who will give them much more of an attacking spark.
City were lead by Luke Brattan in their opening game but they are looking a lot further ahead than Victory, especially with the defensive group of Bart Schenkeveld and Michael Jakobsen.
Even then the Victory should be able to shade this game with possibly the most talented starting eleven in the competition.
Back Victory to Win @ $2.25
Newcastle Jets Vs Perth Glory
Sunday 15 October, 5:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The surprise packets of Round 1 were the Newcastle Jets who put five past the Central Coast Mariners in their local derby.
They will welcome a Perth side that has plenty of attacking firepower on their own but a few vulnerabilities at the back.
The Jets should have plenty of chances to get some goals on the board and I think they should be able to handle a Perth side, which does not travel all that well.
Back Both Teams to Score and Newcastle Jets to Win @ $3.50
Sydney FC Vs Wellington Phoenix
Sunday 15 October, 7:00pm, Allianz Stadium
This looms as a sneaky tough game for Sydney despite Wellington’s poor away form as they will be backing up from their FFA Cup semi-final win over South Melbourne on Wednesday night.
Having played essentially his strongest team, it will be interesting to see what changes Graham Arnold makes.
The twin playmakers of Milos Ninkovic and Adrian Mierzejewski should back up and be able to guide Sydney over the line but at such short odds, it is not a play to make.
The A-League season could not have got off to a more exciting start and there were plenty of thrilling fixtures in the opening round of the season.
The Western Sydney Wanderers were embarrassed by Sydney FC in the Sydney Derby last weekend and face another tough test against Adelaide United on Friday night before Sydney FC host Central Coast on Saturday afternoon.
The highlight of the weekend is the Melbourne Derby between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City on Saturdaym while the round concludes with a Sunday double-header.
Adelaide United Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 14 October, 7:50pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
Both these teams made disappointing starts to the A-League season and will be keen to bounce back.
Adelaide United were unable to start their title defence with a victory over the Newcastle Jets, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
The Reds were able to turn Hindmarsh Stadium into a fortress last season and they have won nine of their past 14 games as home favourites for a healthy profit.
Western Sydney could hardly have been more disappointing against Sydney FC and it could be a long season if they do not improve from that effort.
The Wanderers have won just one of their past seven games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they have an extremely poor record in Adelaide.
Adelaide should prove too classy for this Western Sydney outfit and they are a safe bet to get the job done at a quote of $1.95.
Back Adelaide United To Win @ $1.95
Sydney FC Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 15 October, 5:35pm, Sydney Football Stadium
Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners were two of the most impressive sides in the opening round of the A-League season.
Sydney FC put on a scintillating football performance against Western Sydney to claim the three points and it is no surprise that they will go into this clash as dominant favourites.
They have generally struggled as home favourites in the past 12 months and they have won just four of their past 11 games in this scenario, which makes it tough to get them as short as their current price.
Central Coast came back from three goals down to record a remarkable come from behind victory against the Perth Glory and they are sure to take plenty of confidence from that effort.
In saying that, Central Coast have still won just one of their past 14 games as away underdogs and they face a tough assignment against a firing Sydney FC.
There really is little value available for this clash and I am more than happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Melbourne Victory Vs Melbourne City
Saturday 15 October, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
This is easily the game of the weekend and will be an interesting test of where both these teams stand at this stage of the season.
There is very little between these two sides in betting, but it is the Melbourne Victory that are narrow favourites following their opening round draw against the Brisbane Roar.
It is fair to say that the Victory were extremely unlucky not to come away with the three points and they will take confidence from the fact that they have won three of their five meetings with Melbourne City.
The Victory have won nine of their past 20 games as favourites for a loss and they can often prove tough to trust as the punter’s elect.
It is set to be an historic moment for football in Australia on Saturday as Tim Cahill looks set to make his A-League debut for Melbourne City.
Melbourne City started the season with a polished performance against Wellington and they should only improve with the return of their Socceroors.
They have won three of their past ten games as underdogs for a narrow loss, but there is genuine value at their current price of $2.70.
Back Melbourne City To Win @ $2.70
Newcastle Jets Vs Brisbane Roar
Sunday 16 October, 5:00pm, Hunter Stadium
The Newcastle Jets showed plenty of toughness to come away from their season opener against Adelaide with a point and a similar effort will be required against the Brisbane Roar.
Newcastle will still go into this clash as clear underdogs, but they have generally outperformed expectations at home in recent season and they have taken at least a point from six of their past 12 games as home underdogs for a clear profit.
Brisbane left it typically late against the Melbourne Victory to come away with a point, but they will go into this clash without the suspended Matt McKay.
McKay is key to the Roar midfield and they have generally struggled with him out of the side, while they have won just one of their past five games as home favourites.
If Newcastle can replicate their round one effort they will be right in this clash and they are more than capable of recording an upset victory.
Back Newcastle Jets To Win @ $3.20
Perth Glory Vs Wellington Phoenix
Sunday 16 October, 7:00pm, NIB Stadium
Perth Glory were expected to be legitimate Premiership contenders in the A-League this season, but if there round one performance is anything to go on it could be another disappointing season for Glory fans.
Perth were cruising at 3-0, but they conceded three second-half goals in a truly disastrous performance and gave away an excellent opportunity to come away with the three points.
The Glory will still go into this clash as clear favourites and they have won three of their past five games in this situation.
Wellington were slightly lacklustre against Melbourne City and they now face the longest road-trip in the A-League.
The Phoenix have proven surprisingly strong on the road in recent seasons and they have won three of their past 11 games as away underdogs.
Both these teams generally have no problems scoring goals and the over has saluted in 23 of the past 28 games played by these two sides.
Adding another goal adds plenty of value to the total goals betting market and I expect to see a goalfest this weekend.
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ $2.25