In a development that will surprise nobody that has been following the A-League this season, Sydney FC are the Premiers and they return home for Round 26 to face an Adelaide side that is still holding out hope for a finals berth.
The Melbourne sides both play at home this weekend as they continue to battle for third spot while the race for sixth could be decided when the Roar and Wanderers face off early Saturday evening.
Read on for our round preview and recommended plays.
Newcastle Jets Vs Perth Glory
Friday 6 April, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Since becoming locked into second place, the Jets have turned their focus towards giving themselves the best preparation for the finals and they have suffered back to back losses in the past fortnight.
In last week’s 3-0 loss to Melbourne City they looked pretty average and paid the price for a lacklustre approach.
Working in their favour is the fact Perth have not been all that strong in their travels to the East Coast.
The Glory need to get maximum points from this game to give themselves the best possible chance of sneaking into sixth spot.
With Newcastle downing tools until at least next week’s F3 Derby and Perth’s road struggles this is a game that I’ll steer clear of.
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Brisbane Roar
Saturday 7 April, 5:35pm, ANZ Stadium
Depending on Friday’s result, this is a game that could lock in the finals picture with Brisbane looking to continue their late season resurgence.
Brisbane are tied for Sydney in the recent form table taking 19 points from their last nine A-League matches and the Roar are on a four-game unbeaten run.
Western Sydney will be without Michael Thwaite in this game after his red card against the Victory which will do the Wanderers chances of ending their two-game losing streak no favours.
Brisbane’s good run of results has been based on a solid defensive effort and scoring just enough goals so it is hard to see this game turning into a blowout one way or another.
There is not enough here to swing me one way or another in terms of a result so instead look for a low scoring encounter.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ $2.10
Melbourne City Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 7 April, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne City looked like the side many have expected them to be in their front to back demolition of the Jets last weekend as they set their sights on third spot.
With no threat of relegation and no chance of climbing higher than ninth spot the Mariners enter the final fortnight just trying to stay above the Phoenix in the race to avoid the spoon.
Despite the difference in fortunes of both teams the Mariners were only narrowly defeated in the first meeting while the second one ended in a 2-2 draw.
The past two weeks have seen this weekend’s visitors deploy five defenders in an attempt to limit the damage which is going to be a brave call to make against a City side that has plenty of goal scorers in it.
This may be the match of the round where things get really ugly and City put down another marker ahead of finals time.
Back Melbourne City to Win -2 Goals @ $3.20
Melbourne Victory Vs Wellington Phoenix
Sunday 8 April, 5:00pm, AAMI Park
With their cross town rivals setting the bar the night before, Victory will enter this game knowing anything less than three points will be considered a letdown.
After beating the Wanderers last weekend and midweek continental duty, they cannot afford to drop their guard against the presumptive wooden spoon side as they have been competitive in recent weeks.
Even so the Victory are still a better side and should be able to come away with a high scoring win.
Back Melbourne Victory to Win and Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.75
Sydney FC Vs Adelaide United
Sunday 8 April, 7:00pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC return to Allianz as back to back Premiers in the late Sunday contest.
They face an Adelaide side that forced them into a scrappy 0-0 draw when they last met and will want to erase that result from their memories with a convincing win.
It will be a tough ask having faced Suwon midweek in a last ditch effort to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
That win should give Graham Arnold the confidence to rest some of his key players such as Adrian and Milos Ninkovich.
In their last home match Brisbane managed to grab a shocking upset and Adelaide are good value to pull an upset against what is likely to be a Sydney B-Side.
To play it safe, take the double chance here for Adelaide to get something out of this game and continue to build momentum towards the finals.
Back Adelaide Win/Draw Double Chance @ $1.62
We have reached the penultimate round of the 2016/2017 A-League regular season and there will be plenty of jostling for positions in the top six.
The Wellington Phoenix are making a late charge for the A-League Finals, but they face a tough challenge against Sydney FC.
The Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers also have tough fixtures and we are set for another exciting weekend of betting action.
Melbourne City Vs Adelaide United
Friday 7 April, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne City have lost two games on the trot, but they will still go into this clash with Adelaide United as clear favourites.
Home favourtism has been one position in which Melbourne City have thrived and they have won seven of their past 11 games in this scenario for a profit.
Adelaide United have played some credible football in recent weeks and they have not lost a game for over a month.
One of their big problems this season has been winning away from home and they have won just one of their past nine games as away underdogs for a clear loss.
Melbourne City must win this clash to be any chance of catching the Brisbane Roar in third and they really should be able to return to winning form this weekend.
Back Melbourne City To Win @ $1.62
Wellington Phoenix Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 8 April, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
The Wellington Phoenix must win their past two games to have any chance to make the A-League Finals and they face a very tough assignment against Sydney FC this weekend.
Sydney FC have not slowed down since winning the Premier’s Plate and they were nothing short of outstanding against Melbourne City.
They have won nine of their past 12 games as away favourites for a clear profit and they have lost just one game in this scenario.
Wellington have scored eight goals and conceded none in their past two games and they were excellent against Melbourne Victory last weekend.
This is a much tougher challenge and the Phoenix have won only one of their past seven games as home underdogs.
Backing Sydney FC continues to be a winning play and there is no reason to jump off this weekend.
Back Sydney FC To Win @ $1.85
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Melbourne Victory
Saturday 8 April, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
This is a crucial clash for the Western Sydney Wanderers as a win would ensure that they qualify for the A-League Finals and they will start this clash as favourites.
Western Sydney have won three games on the trot, but their record as home favourites this season is still very poor – they have won only three of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear loss.
Melbourne Victory produced one of their worst performances of the season against Wellington last weekend and they have struggled badly in recent weeks.
Winning away from home has not been a problem for Melbourne, but they have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs for a clear loss.
This is a game that the market look to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting perspective.
Perth Glory Vs Brisbane Roar
Saturday 8 April, 10:00pm, NIB Stadium
This is a crucial game for both sides and the Perth Glory will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
Perth can secure a place in the A-League Finals with a win over the Brisbane Roar and their is plenty to like about them heading into this clash.
The Glory have won five of their past nine games as home favourites and they have lost only one game in this scenario this season.
Brisbane came from behind to record an emphatic victory over the Central Coast Mariners and they can solidify their position in third place with a win.
Winning away from home for the Roar has been a problem this season and they have won only one of their past eight games as away underdogs for a clear loss.
This is a crucial clash for Perth and they should be able to maintain their stellar record at NIB Stadium.
Back Perth To Win @ $2.30
Central Coast Mariners Vs Newcastle Jets
Sunday 9 April, 5:00pm, Bluetongue Stadium
This will not have any finals relevance, but the A-League wooden spoon could be decided in this F3 Derby.
Both these teams have lost four games on the trot, but it is the Central Coast Mariners that will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
This will only be the second time that the Mariners have started as favourites over the past 12 months and they are a tough team to trust from a betting perspective.
Newcastle have fallen to pieces in recent weeks and they have conceded 12 goals in their past three games without scoring.
The Jets have won only two of their past 12 games away from home and are another team that is very tough to trust from a betting standpoint.
Five of the past eight games played between these two sides have ended as draws and another stalemate looks likely this weekend.
Back The Draw @ $3.60
This is the penultimate round of the 2015/2016 A-League regular season and there is finals interest in every single game this weekend.
The round starts on Friday night when the Western Sydney Wanderers host the Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium before Sydney FC take on Adelaide United in another key encounter on Saturday night.
The round concludes on Sunday afternoon when the Perth Glory take on Melbourne City in what could be a finals preview.
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Central Coast Mariners
Friday 1 April, 7:40pm, Parramatta Stadium
The Western Sydney Wanderers suffered a loss to the Melbourne Victory last weekend, but they have an excellent chance to return to winning form against the Central Coast Mariners this weekend.
Central Coast have won just one game away from in the past 12 months and that does not look like changing.
They have simply been outclassed this season and it is tough to see the Wanderers failing to walk away with the three points.
You can’t back the Wanderers at their current price of $1.22, but the Total Goals market does stand out here.
I expect the Wanderers to grind out a fairly boring 2-0 victory and the $3 on offer for under 2.5 goals is a good bet.
Recommended Bet: Back The Under (2.5 Goals) @ $3
Wellington Phoenix Vs Melbourne Victory
Saturday 2 April, 5:15pm, Westpac Stadium
The Wellington Phoenix are out of finals contention, but the Melbourne Victory can still climb their way up the ladder and finish the regular season in fifth.
Melbourne returned to winning form against the Wanderers last weekend and they are favourites to make it two wins in a row – a position in which they haven’t been a winning propoisition this season.
The Phoenix are 2-1-2 as home underdogs this season and they have an excellent record as underdogs this season.
Wellington often play spoiler at this stage of the season and they can cause another upset against the Victory here at a good price of $3.
Recommended Bet: Back Wellington Phoenix To Win @ $3
Sydney FC Vs Adelaide United
Saturday 2 April, 7:30pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC have really struggled in the A-League in the past month and they suffered another loss at the hands of the Brisbane Roar last weekend.
Adelaide United returned to winning form with a scratchy performance against the Central Coast Mariners and they are narrow favourites to put the pressure on both the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City.
The Reds have been a winning proposition as favourites this season and they do have far more to play for than Sydney FC.
Sydney FC have been a very poor betting side this season and I can’t really work out why they aren’t a much longer price this weekend.
Adelaide United are 9-3-3 on the back on a win in the past 12 months and they can continue that strong record against Sydney FC this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back Adelaide United To Win @ $2.60
Brisbane Roar Vs Newcastle Jets
Sunday 3 April, 5:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
It is only goal difference that separates the Brisbane Roar from Melbourne City at the top of the ladder and they can temporarily go top of the table for at least a couple of hours with a win over the Newcastle Jets.
The Roar have been absolutely outstanding as home favourites this season and they have lost just a single game in this scenario in the past 12 months.
Newcastle were arguably unlucky against the Perth Glory last weekend and they have been a very profitable proposition as underdogs this season.
In addition, their record against the Brisbane Roar is surprisingly strong and they have actually won five out of their 13 games at Suncorp Stadium as underdogs.
It is clear that the Brisbane Roar are the team to beat here, but their is plenty of data that suggests the Jets can record a big upset here and I am happy to take the gamble at $7.
Recommended Bet: Back The Newcastle Jets To Win @ $7
Perth Glory Vs Melbourne City
Sunday 3 April, 7:00pm, NIB Stadium
This is clearly the highlight of the weekend and it could have massive consequences for the Premier’s Plate.
Melbourne City maintained their position on top of the A-League ladder with their comfortable 3-0 victory over the Wellington Phoenix and they will be buoyed by the return of Aaron Mooy.
Despite that, they are still underdogs ahead of this fixture and they have been a fairly neutral betting proposition in that position throughout this season.
The Perth Glory have won seven of their past eight games and their record as favourites this season is almost flawless – having lost just one of seven games as the punters elect.
They are a very difficult side to beat in front of their home fans at NIB Stadium and I am confident that they can put a dent in the title hopes of Melbourne City this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back Perth Glory To Win @ $2.25