Wed, Oct 26, 11:40am by Jake Equid
We’ve seen drama, goals and high-quality football in the opening three weeks of the A-League season which has seen a huge spike in the TV ratings. Viewing numbers on Fox Sports are up an impressive 50% on last season with seven of the 15 matches played so far this campaign smashing through the 100,000 viewers barrier.
One of the teams who’ve provided many of the highlights so far are Sydney FC, who are now the only team with a perfect three wins from three to start the season and on Saturday they aim to keep their perfect start alive when they travel to Newcastle.
Before that match though, Melbourne City take on defending premiers Adelaide United to open the round’s proceedings on Friday night.
The Western Sydney Wanderers host the Central Coast Mariners at Spotless Stadium on Saturday with the hosts installed as the shortest priced favourite of the round at $1.40 with the winless Mariners friendless at $7.50.
The Wanderers squandered three points when they allowed Newcastle back into the game on Sunday, while the Mariners’ winless A-League run continued when they were toppled by the Brisbane Roar.
Elsewhere, Brisbane ($2.20) face the in-form Perth Glory ($3) in the only game on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium. The Roar were throttled 4-0 by the Jets in Round 2 but bounced back somewhat with a cagey 1-0 win over the Mariners, while Perth are one of three unbeaten sides this season and are confident following their superb 3-2 triumph over City. The draw could be the best play here at $3.50.
Round 4 action concludes on Monday night when Melbourne Victory entertain Wellington Phoenix.
WATCH: Our Preview of Week 4 of the A-League
Here’s the best three bets for fourth round of the A-League season:
Melbourne City v Adelaide United, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Friday October 28. 7:50pm AEDT
Adelaide are still searching for their first victory of the season after two losses and a draw to begin their title defence – including a last-minute defeat to Melbourne Victory last week. City meanwhile saw their perfect start to the season halted by Perth Glory, falling 3-2 at home – the first time they had lost at AAMI Park against Glory since 2012.
It’s been a busy start to the season for City who qualified for their first final in any competition on Tuesday night after defeating cross-town rivals Victory 2-0 in the FFA Cup Semi-Final. They now meet Sydney FC in the final on November 30.
Adelaide on the other hand, haven’t had too much too celebrate and despite being in winning positions in both of their last two games, they lost them both and are still yet to register a victory this campaign.
Korean Danny Choi, granted a loan spot following the injury to marquee playmaker Marcelo Carrusca, came on late in last week’s loss and showed some good signs, nearly equalising late.
The Reds led for long periods of the game in both of their losses in the last two weeks and were unlucky not to take something from those games. City are coming off their second derby in as many weeks, both of which were intense clashes, which is sure to take its toll on their players.
City will have only three days to rebound from its FFA Cup semi-final derby against Victory, they looked sluggish against Perth last week following the round two derby and I’m expecting more of the same here. The visitors have a good record against City at this venue, winning three and drawing one from their past five outings.
BEST BET: Draw: $3.70
Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle – Saturday October 29, 5:35pm AEDT
An unlikely top-four battle takes place on Saturday when Newcastle Jets host Sydney FC. The Jets have started the season strongly and come into this clash after recovering from a 2-0 deficit in the final 10 minutes against the Western Sydney Wanderers to salvage a 2-2 draw to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact.
Sydney are the only team to have won three games from three in 2016/17, maintaining their perfect record with a 1-0 away win over Wellington last week and Sportsbet has them at $1.75 to continue their perfect start. The Jets are at the large odds of $4.40 with the draw at $3.70.
The Jets weren’t given much hope in the pre-season of causing much damage, they were at $34 on the second last line of betting to win the Championship. They’ve shown some real spirit in taking points from both of last year’s Grand Finalists and defeated perennial A-League powerhouse Brisbane 4-0.
The 92nd minute winner from Milos Ninkovic gave Sydney FC their seventh victory in a row across all competitions. Coach Graham Arnold has this week praised his head trainer Andrew Clark for masterminding the club’s increased training workload.
You can see why he is so happy too with five of the club’s nine goals coming in the final 20 minutes of their opening three league games.
The tale of the tape makes for tough reading if you hail from the Hunter, the Jets haven’t beaten Sydney FC since December 22, 2012. That’s 11 meetings in a row with the Sky Blues taking all three points on nine occasions, I’m backing Sydney FC to continue that run here.
BEST BET: Sydney FC to win: $1.75
Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Monday October 31, 7:50pm AEDT
Victory picked up their first win of the season courtesy of a late Marco Rojas strike against Adelaide on Saturday night, while Phoenix are anchored at the bottom of the ladder after three losses to open the new campaign.
Last time these teams met was back in April when the Victory came away with a big 4-1 away win in Wellington. The scorer of the third goal was kiwi Kosta Barabarouses who now plays for the Phoenix, along with fellow ex-Victory player Gui Finkler.
The Brazilian-born set-piece specialist is yet to fire this season but will be keen to shine against his former club. The Phoenix would be feeling extremely hard done by after having two goals disallowed in the opening half against Sydney on Sunday, one of which looked dicey at best.
I’m backing the Victory to be too strong for the Phoenix in this one, lead by another kiwi, Rojas, who has made a great start to his second stint at Melbourne Victory following his two-year spell in Germany.
BEST BET: Victory to win: $1.62
MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining all of the below for $10.48 at Sportsbet
City v United: Draw: $3.70
Sydney FC to win: $1.75
Victory to win: $1.62
A-League Round Four odds:
Melbourne City $1.75 v Adelaide United $4.40 Draw $3.70
Newcastle Jets $4.40 v Sydney FC $1.75 Draw $3.70
Western Sydney Wanderers $1.40 v Central Coast Mariners $7.50 Draw $4.50
Brisbane Roar $2.20 v Perth Glory $3 Draw $3.50
Melbourne Victory $1.62 v Wellington Phoenix $5.25 Draw $3.80
Odds sourced by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
Stay tuned to australiangambling.com.au. Where we will bring you the best bets each and every week of the A-League season.
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