Once again we have the two best teams from the regular season contesting the Grand Final as now just two of the 22 teams to contest this fixture have finished outside the top two. These sides secured their spots in Sunday’s showpiece in differing fashions as Adelaide were comfortable 4-1 winners against City whilst the Wanderers found themselves 3-0 down at home to Brisbane before mounting a miraculous comeback to lead 4-3 but conceded a late goal and then found the net in extra-time to win 5-4 in a game that will last long in the memory. Neither of these sides have been crowned A-League Champions yet, having both lost the Grand Final twice each.
Guillermo Amor’s Adelaide recovered from a slow start to the season during which they lost five of eight winless games to only lose one of their 20 matches since. They managed to win 15 of these games with eight of those victories coming at home where they had a W8-D1-L1 record after that slow start. Indeed, five of their last six home wins were by more than one goal and after their first four home games teir record hosting top-half sides was W3-D0-L1 as they only conceded twice. Indeed, Adelaide’s record in their last nine games at home and away against top-half sides was W6-D2-L1 as they only conceded four times in these matches with five clean sheets, whilst scoring 17 times and leading at the break in four.
The Wanderers headed into the final two games of the season with just two wins in eight matches but they took advantage of the fixtures being against the Mariners and Wellington by winning both comfortably and following up with that triumph over Brisbane. The Wanderers’ away record this term was W6-D4-L4 but interestingly when travelling to top-half sides it was just W1-D2-L2 as they trailed at the break in three of these games and lost the last two at Brisbane and City whilst conceding six goals. Both teams scored in four of these five matches as they saw an average of 3.8 goals.
Part of the reason that the top-two sides from the regular season make it through to the Grand Final is the importance of home advantage. Since 2012/13 home sides have won 48% of games in the regular season but that increases to 74% in the play-offs. Seven of the 10 previous Grand Finals had fewer than three goals and four had fewer than two, with the first half also goalless in seven of these matches, meaning that Under 2.5 Goals is worth consideration at 2.05 but the strongest bet looks to be siding with Adelaide. Their record against the top teams is very impressive this season, whilst the Wanderers have struggled away to the top sides. With that in mind we expect Adelaide to continue their excellent form since December and prove that they deservedly finished on top in the regular season.
Recommendation: Adelaide to Win at 2.45
ENHANCED ODDS: Bruce Djite to score a goal and Adelaide win in normal time paying $6! Offer here.
ENHANCED ODDS: Mark Bridge to score a goal and Western Sydney Wanderers win in normal time paying $7! Offer here.