Sydney FC can clinch the 2017/2018 A-League Premiership, their second in a row, with a win in Perth in the first match of the A-League round.
Newcastle will want to forget their hammering from Adelaide last weekend as they are locked into a top two finish for the first time since their Championship winning 2007-2008 season.
At the bottom end of the top six there will be two teams in contention that are left on the outside looking in as Adelaide, Western Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are fighting for the final two spots.
Perth Glory Vs Sydney FC
Thursday 29 March, 9:30pm, NiB Stadium
This is a huge match for Sydney in the context of their season and they could not be happier their first chance to clinch the league comes against a Perth they have not lost to since February 2016.
Since then Sydney have won seven straight matches including the last four to nil, Perth’s last goal was Adam Taggart’s 20th minute opener in Round 11, 2017.
It has been 430 minutes (plus stoppage time) since Perth have scored but that drought may just end as Sydney have shown they can be vulnerable at the back, not to mention flat in recent weeks.
While Perth may score a goal here, Sydney are going to want to take care of business and wrap up the Premiership as soon as possible as they find a way to win this match.
Back Sydney to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $3.10
Adelaide United Vs Wellington Phoenix
Friday 30 March, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
If you are looking for indicators of an outsider for the finals, Adelaide’s 5-2 thumping is a solid sign.
Of course it will not mean a whole lot if they cannot back it up against a side in contention for the wooden spoon.
Wellington looked solid if unspectacular holding Brisbane to a draw last weekend and have the potential to create some chances if given time on the ball.
They have not fared overly well outside of Wellington though and Adelaide will be looking to back up their statement win over the Jets.
I can see a big second half for Adelaide getting them over the line.
Back Adelaide to Win Both Halves @ $3.80
Brisbane Roar Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 31 March, 5:35pm, Suncorp Stadium
A week after pulling off a huge upset win over Sydney FC, the Roar crashed back to earth with their third draw of the season against Wellington.
Thankfully for them, they now face a Mariners side that looks like they are ready for an end of season holiday however the Roar’s form at Suncorp this season has not been inspiring.
These sides played out a scoreless draw at the venue in Round 5 followed by the Roar’s Australia Day weekend victory in Gosford.
With no margin for error in their chase for the finals, this is a must win game for Brisbane and I am backing them to do the job.
Back Brisbane Roar to Win to Nil @ $3
Melbourne Victory Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 31 March, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Just when you think you have the Victory figured out, they go and kill all their momentum with a loss in Perth.
Western Sydney were not much better against City and now have to back up on their second straight Melbourne trip.
Victory should have the edge in the market and on the field here however it will be interesting to see how the Wanderers front up knowing what is needed after Brisbane have played.
At home the Victory should prove to be too strong for the visiting Wanderers and this will give them some bragging rights ahead of a potential finals matchup.
Back Melbourne Victory to Win @ $1.70
Newcastle Jets Vs Melbourne City
Sunday 1 April, 6:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
This game could mean everything or nothing to Newcastle by the time this game kicks off however any hope of the Premiers’ Plate is minimal at best.
Now their attention will be turning towards giving themselves the best possible preparation for the finals and that could mean taking their foot off the pedal just a bit over the next three weeks.
Melbourne City meanwhile sit in third place but need to win out to ensure they finish in third place with the Victory hot on their tails.
Right now, the market reflects the idea that this will mean something for both teams but until Newcastle declare their approach for the final three weeks they are a team worth steering clear of.
Sydney FC claimed the Premier’s Plate last weekend and the Melbourne Victory look to have a mortgage on second position, but there is very little between third and sixth, while the Wellington Phoenix are making a late charge to the finals.
Wellington need to keep winning to have any chance of playing finals football and they face a tough assignment against the Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon.
There is betting interest in all five A-League games this weekend and below you can find our thoughts on every single game.
Adelaide United Vs Perth Glory
Friday 31 March, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United have found a semblance of their best form in recent weeks and they will go into this clash with the Perth Glory as narrow favourites.
They may have won two games on the trot, but Adelaide United remain a tough team to rely on from a betting standpoint and they have won only four of their past ten games as home favourites for a clear loss.
Perth Glory were no match for a rampant Sydney FC last weekend, but they are sure to take confidence from the fact that they beat Adelaide United 5-0 the last time that they met.
Winning away from home has been an issue for Perth this season, but they have managed to draw 4 of their past ten games as away underdogs for a profit.
It really is tough to split these two teams and the $3.60 on offer for a stalemate does look like juicy value.
Back The Draw @ $3.60
Newcastle Jets Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 1 April, 5:35pm, Hunter Stadium
The Newcastle Jets have gone off the boil in recent weeks and it is the Western Sydney Wanderers that will start this game as clear favourites.
The Jets have conceded 12 goals and scored just one in their past three games and they look to have checked out for this season.
In saying that, Newcastle have generally saved their best form for their home fans and they have taken at least a point from five of their past eight games as home underdogs.
Western Sydney made it back-to-back wins with a complete performance against Melbourne City and they will fancy their chances of extending their winning run.
The Wanderers are unbeaten as away favourites over the past 12 months, but it is tough to get them as short as their current price.
Backing the draw in games involving both these sides has been a profitable betting play all season long and the $3.60 available for the draw really does stand out.
Back The Draw @ $3.60
Sydney FC Vs Melbourne City
Saturday 1 April, 7:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC have claimed the Premier’s Plate and it is no surprise that they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
Sydney FC have not conceded a goal for almost a month and they really are one of the best defensive outfits in the history of the A-League.
They have won eight of their 11 games as home favourites and have not lost a game in this scenario this season.
Melbourne City continue to struggle for consistency and they were very poor against the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend.
They have won just one of their past six games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they are another side that is tough to trust from a betting standpoint.
Sydney FC should carry on their winning ways and I am backing them to get the job done comfortably.
Back Sydney FC To Beat The Line (-1 Goal) @ $2.75
Melbourne Victory Vs Wellington Phoenix
Sunday 2 April, 6:00pm, AAMI Park
The Wellington Phoenix may be in excellent form, but it is the Melbourne Victory that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Melbourne went down to the Brisbane Roar last weekend, but they really have been tough to beat at AAMI Park this season and it is easy to see why they have been popular with punters early.
They have won nine of their past 12 games as home favourites and their record against Wellington at home is excellent.
Wellington produced their best performance of the season to beat the Newcastle Jets last weekend and they need to maintain that sort of form to have any chance of qualifying for the finals.
The Phoenix have struggled to win games in Australia this season and they have won just two of their games across the Tasman for a clear loss.
Melbourne should prove far too strong for the Wellington Phoenix and can cover the line comfortably.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-1 Goal) @ $2.38
Brisbane Roar Vs Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 2 April, 8:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Roar are the shortest-priced favourites in the A-League this week and are expected to have no trouble accounting for the Central Coast Mariners.
Brisbane have won the past seven games played between these two sides and there is plenty to suggest they will be able to continue that streak when they face-off on Sunday night.
The Roar have won seven of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they head into this clash on the back of a strong effort against Melbourne.
Central Coast have lost four of their past five games and they are another team that have fallen away in the final stages of the season.
The Mariners have actually performed well as away underdogs this season and they have taken at least a point from six of their past 12 games as away underdogs.
The Roar should get the job done, but there is no value at their current price and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting standpoint.
This is a very big weekend in the A-League as the battle for the Premiers Plate continues.
There will be plenty to play for the Melbourne Victory host the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night before the Brisbane Roar host the Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Adelaide United currently sit on top of the A-League ladder and they should be able to extend their lead when they face Adelaide United on Sunday afternoon.
Melbourne Victory Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday 25 March, 7:40pm, AAMI Park
This is a massive game for both sides as the Western Sydney Wanderers can secure their position on top of the A-League Ladder for another week and the Melbourne Victory can solidify their place in the top six.
Melbourne Victory have won just one of their past eight games and they were poor against the Newcastle Jets last weekend, but they are still narrow favourites here.
Overall, the Victory have been a losing betting proposition as favourites this season, but they are 10-4-2 as favourites in front of their home fans at AAMI Park.
The Wanderers don’t have a record record as underdogs and they are just 1-3-3 in this scenario.
One statistic that does stand out for both these teams is the number of draws they have played out – the draw has been a profitable betting play in both Victory home games and Wanderers away fixtures.
Add in the fact that both teams have played with a conservative mindset this season and the draw looks like the clear play and is excellent value at $3.40.
Recommended Bet: Back The Draw @ $3.30
Newcastle Jets Vs Perth Glory
Saturday 26 March, 5:15pm, Hunter Stadium
The Perth Glory are one of the form teams in the A-League in the past couple of months and they have now won seven of their last eight games following their narrow victory over Wellington.
Perth are favourites here – at a very backable price – and not only are they 6-0-1 as favourites this season, but they are also undefeated as favourites away from home.
The Newcastle Jets have been a narrow winning play as home underdogs this season, but they have a very poor record against the Glory in recent seasons and they have lost the past eight games played between the two sides.
All signs point to the Glory here and at $1.95 they are a very safe bet.
Recommended Bet: Back The Perth Glory To Win @ $1.95
Brisbane Roar Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 26 March, 7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Roar had their winning streak ended by Melbourne City last weekend, while Sydney FC missed out on a golden opportunity to edge closer to a top six finish when they gave up a 2-0 lead against the Central Coast Mariners.
The Roar will start this game as clear favourites and they are a most impressive 11-2-1 as home favourites in the past 12 months.
Sydney FC have played well in the Asian Champions League, but they have been very poor in the A-League in the past couple of months and they have only ever beaten the Roar at Suncorp Stadium as underdogs on one occasion.
Brisbane realistically need to win this game to keep alive their hopes of winning the Premiers Plate and they are another safe bet at their current odds.
Recommended Bet: Back The Brisbane Roar To Win @ $1.95
Adelaide United Vs Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 27 March, 5:00pm, Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United played out a scoreless draw against the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend and they have an excellent chance to return to winning form against the Central Coast Mariners.
Adelaide have been a fairly solid 8-3-3 as home favourites this season, while the Mariners have won only one game as away underdogs and have been a losing betting proposition across just about every metric.
There is no doubt that Adelaide United really should win this game in comfortable fashion, but $1.29 is a very short price for an A-League game and Central Coast showed last week that they are still capable of putting up a fight.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Melbourne City Vs Wellington Phoenix
Monday March 28, 5:00pm, AAMI Park
This is another game with very short-priced favourites as Melbourne City are expected to carry on their winning ways against the Wellington Phoenix after impressive wins against Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.
Melbourne City are 9-3-5 as favourites this season, but that record improves to 7-1-2 in front of their home fans at AAMI Park and it is clear why that are at such a short price this weekend.
In saying that, the Phoenix have recorded five wins as underdogs this season and they are 3-2-6 as away underdogs in the past 12 months.
Melbourne City will be without superstar Aaron Mooy and you can’t underestimate the effect his absence will have on his side.
When you add in all these factors, the $4.50 on offer for the Phoenix to score another upset win this weekend really starts to appeal.
Recommended Bet: Back The Wellington Phoenix To Win @ $4.50