The A-League season is upon us and all the corporates have been up and running on the Winner market for a number of months now, however, there are now more markets open including Top 6, To Reach Final, To Finish Bottom and Top Goalscorer. Our A-League man has run the rule over all 10 teams and gives his season predictions below.
WINNER – SYDNEY FC
We are tipping the Sky Blues to become the first team in the A-league era to go back-to-back.
Graham Arnold has most of the squad that won the double (Premiers Plate / Grand Final) last season with a few tweaks. You would imagine they don’t have to change a great deal to be the ones to beat again.
Sydney FC enjoyed the most successful season of any side in A-league history in 2016/17, winning 20 matches and drawing six times while losing just once in the regular season.
Their goal difference was a whopping +43 and as a result they were the best attacking side in the competition as well as the best defensive team. Remarkably they conceded just 12 goals in 27 regular season outings!
They’re $3.25 (bet365) to win the A-league yet again but an even better bet could be the $2.50 (TAB) about them to capture the Premiers Plate in consecutive seasons
TOP 6 FINISH – NEWCASTLE JETS
The Jets haven’t played finals football for seven seasons but the talent that has been recruited in 2017/18 could make them one of the value teams when it comes to the Top 6 market ($2.10 @ Sportsbet). One of the biggest changes has been behind the bench with two-time A-league winner Ernie Merrick taking over from the inexperienced Mark Jones. Add to that the incoming arrivals of Ronald Vargas, Dimitri Petratos and Roy O’Donovan and scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem for the Jets who ended the previous campaign in very limp fashion indeed. They failed to score a goal in their last five games and subsequently lost all five. Prior to that shocking run the Jets were actually playing some good football and were being talked about as finals side. Can they go from Wooden Spooners to finals contenders?
TOP GOALSCORER – MASSIMO MACCARONE (Brisbane Roar)
This is a player that I think is over the odds when you compare it with his experience. The 38-year-old is definitely in the twilight of his career but he is proven at Serie A level which is significantly harder than this league. The Italian has effectively replaced Golden Boot winner Jamie Maclaren at Brisbane so you would expect him to be their main outlet for goals this season. Coach John Aloisi has recruited well with the likes of Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Corey Gameiro likely to provide plenty of service to their marquee signing. At $12 (Sportsbet) he is definitely worth having a few dollars on.
FINISH BOTTOM – WELLINGTON PHOENIX
This was a hard one to pick because many of the teams that finished outside the top six last season have improved their squads.
The Phoenix have bought in some nice players including Socceroo Dario Vidosic and Ali Abbas, however, very little is known around new coach Darije Kalezic. One thing is for sure – Wellington will be hard to beat at home, yet again. The issue for them will be to replicate that form when traveling to Australia every few weeks. The team at bet365 have Wellington @ $3.25 to finish bottom.