It’s been a tough punting start to the A-League for season 2011-12. After appearing to have discerned some patterns and made some smarter plays during weeks 4 and 5, this column took a big tumble last week. It has felt like we’ve always been missing out by a single goal, so I went back through the season so far and found 23 of the 30 games have been decided by a single goal or less. The exceptions have been three comfortable Brisbane Roar victories, three Newcastle Jets away surrenders and one Jets home success. With this in mind, perhaps it is time to bet on the double chance and teams to win by a single goal?
SEASON BETTING TALLY
Wagered = $600 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $374.50
Profit/Loss = – $225.60
% Profit/Loss = -37.6%
CHEEKY ROUND 7 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast or draw, Wellington or draw, Brisbane or draw, Sydney or draw and Melbourne Victory or draw @ 3.60 (TAB Sportsbet)
Gold Coast United v Melbourne Heart (AEDT 2000)
Such is the closeness of the A-League this season, the winner of this match between last and third last will climb into the top 6 and a finals position. A convenient set of recent fixtures has allowed us to get a comparison between the teams’ formlines. Over the past three weeks both clubs have played Newcastle at home and Adelaide away, with both putting three goals past the Jets and scoring once against the Reds at Hindmarsh. The Heart have been better defensively, keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle and conceding just once against Adelaide, whereas Gold Coast were more generous, letting through an extra goal in each of their games. The Heart are on a four match unbeaten run, pumping them up from the bottom of the ladder. Both teams will be set for an attacking reshuffle as their leading goalscorers will be away on Olyroos duty. Mate Dugandzic will be tough to replace for Melbourne, while the godfather of goal, James Brown, can leave Gold Coast goalscoring duties to Maceo Rigters. At home, I’ll side with the Gold Coast in a close one.
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast to win @ 2.20 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast to win by exactly 1 goal @ 3.85 (Centrebet)
Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United (AEDT 1500)
Just like on Friday night’s battle, if either side can gain three points from this contest they will climb into the top 6. Wellington has been traditionally the toughest away test in the league, however the Phoenix have been more hospitable to recent visitors, handing out three points to both the Victory and the Mariners in the last two Westpac Stadium hit-outs. A hard fought draw with Brisbane last week will give the Kiwis a nice springboard to leap into this one full of confidence from the first whistle. Adelaide lack a killer instinct away from home, losing two from two away from Hindmarsh this campaign. The Reds have been weakened ahead of this contest, with last season’s top scorer Sergio van Dijk already ruled out with a calf injury. Wellington striker Dani Sanchez is in doubt with a hip flexor problem, but the Phoenix may be able to recall star player and crowd favourite Paul Ifill from a nagging groin injury. Even the presence of Ifill on the bench should lift the mood inside Westpac Stadium. I’m giving the Phoenix one last chance in a home fixture.
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win @ 2.30 (Centrebet)
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar (AEDT 1730)
A long standing Australian sporting record could be equalled by the Brisbane Roar this weekend. For 74 years the Eastern Suburbs (now Sydney) Roosters rugby league club has held the record for most matches without defeat in any of the nation’s major sporting leagues. Come Saturday night the Roosters may be joined on 35 games without defeat by the Brisbane Roar. It is a rather large understatement to say Newcastle have been much better at home than away, with the Jets winning all three matches at Ausgrid Stadium this season and losing all three on the their travels. Apart from becoming disorientated against a 10-man Melbourne Victory, Brisbane have been very frugal, rarely giving their opposition a sight at goal, let alone score one. Jets boss Gary van Egmond has been vocal in the media this week, declaring his side will go out to play attacking football and not look to ‘park the bus’ as recent opponents of Brisbane have done. If van Egmond tilts the balance too much towards attack the Roar will punish him. Brisbane striker Besart Berisha has scored 7 times already in 6 appearances this season. He is a defenders worst nightmare!
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win @ 1.87 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Besart Berisha to score first for Brisbane @ 3.75 (Sportsbet)
Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners (AEDT 1945)
Sydney, the self-appointed A-League glamour club, have been climbing the league ladder in recent weeks. The Sky Blues are doing so with a minimum of fuss, which is as surprising as it is refreshing. Sydney regain star midfielder Brett Emerton this week, after he was unavailable due to Socceroo commitments last weekend. Hopefully Central Coast promote a midfielder of their own, with talented teenager Mustafa Amini surely ready for first team action after a hat-trick of appearances off the bench in recent games. With Nicky Carle and Brett Emerton in their line-up, Sydney should be winning these sort of home fixtures. Mariners defensive pillar Alex Wilkinson will need to play a blinder if Central Coast are to get anything from this.
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory (AEDT 1700)
There is likely to be no Harry Kewell for this match, with the marquee player expected to miss with hamstring tightness. No matter for the Victory though as Etihad Stadium extraordinaire Archie Thompson will lead the navy blue line. Thompson is in great form, scoring all but one of the Victory’s 2011-12 goals. Melbourne have surprised many pundits by being very measured in their approach, struggling to score, but keeping things incredibly tight at the back. No team has conceded fewer goals than Mehmet Durakovic’s men so far this campaign. The visitors, Perth, flying high after three wins to start the season, have put the gear-stick into reverse, losing their last three. Midfielder Travis Dodd will miss a month with a hamstring injury, a significant blow to coach Ian Ferguson, with the boss already trying to find a suitable left back after two injuries to players in that position. These are the sort of matches Melbourne need to start winning, otherwise the tag of draw specialists will be hard to shake.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne to win @ 1.85 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne to win to nil @ 3.28 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Archie Thompson to score first for Melbourne @ 4.20 (Centrebet)