Sat, Mar 1, 9:49am by Rob Sheeley
Match: Melbourne Heart vs. Melbourne Victory – A-League Round 21
When/Where: 7:45pm AET, Saturday 1st March at Etihad Stadium
AUD $100 Free Bet: www.IASbet.com
BELIEVE. That is the motto of the Melbourne Heart Football Club. For 14 long weeks that is exactly what their fans did while their faith was given the ultimate test. Fast-forward another six weeks and the belief-o-metre is all but off the charts.
Those six weeks have yielded five wins and a draw. The piece de resistance came last week when they defeated the Brisbane Roar, the team who sit at the top of the table.
The Heart have sky-rocketed from $151 no-hopers to $21 premiership hopefuls, and they still sit in last place. Wooden spoon markets had them almost unbackable at $1.15 after 14 rounds, now they are $4.90 third favourites.
They face another test this Saturday when they take on their big brother, the Melbourne Victory in the battle known as the Melbourne Derby.
The Victory sit in third place on the competition ladder and are $8 to win the premiership. They are a chance of pressing for a top-two finish should they win here.
The Victory have won their last two against quality opponents in the Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United. They will start $2.87 outsiders for the match which may represent value.
Historically, the Heart and Victory have enjoyed a very close rivalry. The Victory hold a slight ascendency with four wins to the Heart’s three.
They met in Round 11, where the Victory saluted 3-1. Earlier in the season they played out a 0-0 draw.
The Victory have a much better record at Etihad Stadium than their opponents in this match, which could be a factor with a massive crowd expected.
The Melbourne Victory have one major concern that they will be desperate to address before the playoffs; their leaking defence.
Despite the fact that the Victory are in third place, they have let in more goals than any other team in the competition. In all, 32 goals have thundered into the net of the Victory in just 20 matches.
They will need to either find a way to stop their defensive line resembling human turnstiles or keep scoring more than they are scored against.
The Victory have not kept clean sheet since way back in Round 10. If there is a saving grace, it is that they play the team who has conceded the second-most goals in the league.
The difference being that the Heart had most of that damage done in the first 14 rounds, before they were under the tutelage of John van ‘t Schip.
The man who can make a massive difference in this match is the Heart’s Orlando Engelaar.
Engelaar has transformed the Heart, playing a key role in their destruction of Wellington Phoenix a fortnight ago with a goal and an assist, while he also scored the winner versus Brisbane Roar in Round 20.
If the 34-year-old had not broken his leg in pre-season and missed the first 14 rounds, Heart might already be in the top six.
|Bet on Heart Vs Victory|
|$100 Free Bet for New Punters|
This looks like a terrific encounter between two teams who are very evenly-matched.
The Heart have been reincarnated and are a much better team than than the one who lost 3-1 last time they met.
Both teams will probably be happy to come away from this one with one point.
Prediction – Draw.
Heart – $2.40
Victory – $2.87
Draw – $3.40 head-to-head with IASbet.com
As is often the case, even though this looks very close, the draw is the best price of all three options. It definitely looks worthy of an investment at this price.
Heart (-1)- $4.50
Draw (-1) – $4.00
Victory (+1) – $1.53 with IASbet.com
The Victory get the one-goal head start in the handicap market and are my bet of the match based on that.
Under 2.5 Goals- $2.03
Over 2.5 Goals – $1.73 with IASbet.com
The two worst defensive sides in the competition points towards more than three goals being scored here. Happy to be taking the over 2.5 in this market.
Both Teams to score at $1.57 appears to be a pretty good bet in this game
If you like to have bet on the correct score, I like the 2-2 draw which is currently $11.00.
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