Wed, Oct 5, 4:29pm by Jake Equid
We’re closing in on the 12th installment of the A-League and there’s plenty of reasons for optimism regarding the round ball code in this country at the moment.
The first of which is that Ange Postecoglou has openly admitted that the A-League’s current standard is the best it’s ever been and is better than many European leagues. He has also stated that he would be continuing selecting players who are playing domestically for Socceroos duty.
Of those who will be in the green and gold in the coming months is the greatest goal-scorer of all time, Tim Cahill, he looks fit and ready to fire for his new club, Melbourne City.
He’s not the only returning Socceroo though, James Troisi, Luke Brattan, Chris Herd, Rhys Williams and James Holland all returning from overseas to push for a spot in Ange Postecoglou’s side.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, foreign players who are at their peak have also been snapped up to play across the country. Argentina’s Nicolás Colazo will play alongside Cahill at City, England’s Joseph Mills will play a key role in defence for Perth Glory and Italian Marco Rossi will play for Wellington Pheonix.
Another player who is entering the peak in his career is New Zealander Marco Rojas has returned to Melbourne Victory after a stint in both Germany and Switzerland.
Check out Bren O’Brien’s article on the odds for the A-League championship here: ‘Bookies predict A-League battle of Melbourne’.
It’s the hardest round of the season to predict but here are the three best bets for opening round of the A-League season:
WATCH: Our Preview of Round One of the A-League Season
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane – 7:50pm AEDT, Friday October 7
Victory struggled to back up their premiership-winning heroics from the previous campaign last year, scraping into the finals in sixth spot before crashing out in the opening elimination final against their opponents this Friday night, the Brisbane Roar.
One of the big factors in Victory’s late season struggles in 2015-16 was they found it challenging to juggle domestic games with Asian Champions League commitments. They’ll be hoping that after enjoying a long off-season they can hit the ground running and return to being premiership contenders once more.
The home-side had a superb season last year while also dealing with off-field issues that included drama regarding the club’s ownership. They were unlucky in falling 5-4 to the Western Sydney Wanderers in a thrilling extra-time semi-final.
Despite being without NZ international Marco Rojas, I’m backing the Victory to start the season with a crucial away point.
BEST BET: Draw: $3.40
Wellington Pheonix v Melbourne City, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, NZ –Saturday 8 October 5:35pm AEDT
Wellington Phoenix will be the hardest hit of any club by the lack of a bye round this week, with four players missing due to international duty. City will be without Cahill, their star off-season recruit, who is on Socceroos duty.
The league needs to seriously consider having an international break as this isn’t the ideal start to the season.
This match promises to be a solid opening test for the cashed-up City, whose fans will be wanting nothing less than a premiership after a couple of underachieving seasons. Wellington have recruited well and will be more than ready under the tutelage of Ernie Merrick.
I’m backing City to be too strong for the depleted Phoenix outfit.
BEST BET: City to win: $2.20
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC, ANZ Stadium, Sydney –Saturday October 8, 7:50pm AEDT
The blockbuster Sydney derby on Saturday night is undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend. Western Sydney Wanderers, still reeling from their second grand final heartbreak last season, play host to bitter rivals Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium in front an expected crowd of 70,000 which would break the A-League attendance record.
Sydney were another club who struggled with juggling Asian Champions League commitments with the A-League last season, consequently finishing in seventh and missing the finals as a result.
The Wanderers haven’t toppled the Sky Blues in over two years, with Sydney winning four of their past seven meetings. Both sides will be hell-bent on claiming early bragging rights in 2016/17 but I think the neutral venue will provide plenty of action and ultimately, a point each.
BEST BET: Draw: $3.40
MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining all of the below for $25.43 at Sportsbet
Roar v Victory – Draw: $3.40
City to win: $2.20
Sydney Derby – Draw $3.40
A-League Round 1 odds:
Brisbane Roar $2.40 v Melbourne Victory $2.75 Draw $3.40
Wellington Pheonix $3 v Melbourne City $2.20 Draw $3.50
Western Sydney Wanderers $2.50 v Sydney FC $2.62 Draw $3.40
Perth Glory $1.50 v Central Coast Mariners $6 Draw $4.20
Newcastle Jets $3.40 v Adelaide United $2 Draw $3.50
Odds sourced 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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