Wed, Jan 31, 9:36am by Staff Writer
Nine matches remain for teams in the 2017-18 A-League season, with Sydney FC still holding a commanding nine-point lead at the top of the table.
With Newcastle, Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide looking likely to play finals, the battle for the sixth and final spot on the table is of the most interest as the season draws to a close.
Brisbane Roar currently occupies sixth position, but are in a three-way tie with Western Sydney and Perth Glory, with those teams separated by goal difference.
Last placed Wellington have had a horror season but find themselves only five points shy of the top six.
Newcastle Jets versus Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 5.35pm AEDST
The match of the round this week comes from Newcastle where the Jets host Melbourne Victory.
These teams have already met twice this season, with the most recent encounter coming just four weeks ago.
On that night in Melbourne, Victory were winners 2-1. In their only previous meeting this season, the Jets dominated despite conceding an early goal, running out 4-1 winners.
A Mark Milligan red card midway through the first half proved game-changing for both teams, as the Jets scored three goals after the captains dismissal.
Milligan has this week left Victory and signed with Saudi Arabian giants Al-Ahli, providing an enormous windfall to both Milligan and Melbourne Victory.
Both teams have gone a fortnight without a victory, with Newcastle losing to Wellington in their last home game.
The Jets had a stunning 25 shots to two last time these two teams met in Newcastle. While we don’t expect that level of dominance from them in this encounter, they are good value at $2.40 to beat a Melbourne team that has just lost one of its most influential players this week.
Best bet- Newcastle Jets to win at $2.40
Adelaide United versus Perth Glory
Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 7.50pm AEDST
Adelaide United returned to the winners circle last weekend with a gritty 1-0 win against Wellington.
After being dismantled by Melbourne City a fortnight ago 5-0, the Reds answered their critics in the best possible way, but now face a test at home against a desperate Perth Glory team.
Perth won their first match in over a month last Sunday against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
What will please coach Kenny Lowe most about that performance was that the Glory didn’t concede a late goal and built themselves enough of a buffer to be comfortable when the Wanderers applied pressure late in the contest.
These two teams met less than a month ago when Perth were in the midst of their worst performance in some time, with Adelaide 3-0 winners.
Their only other meeting this season was a 1-0 Glory win in November with a late Andy Keogh strike proving decisive.
Adelaide are no guarantees at home to win and at $1.72 provide little incentive for punters to back them.
We are instead interested in the draw market at $3.60. Perth played with more determination last weekend than we have seen from them in some time, and if that continues, they are good enough to grab a point in Adelaide.
Best bet- Adelaide United and Perth Glory draw at $3.60
Brisbane Roar versus Melbourne City
Sunday, 4 February 2018 at 7pm AEDST
After starting last week with a shock loss to Filipino team Ceres in the Asian Champions League qualification round, Brisbane Roar rebounding with a 2-1 win at Central Coast.
That win propels the Roar into the top six for the first time all season, although Perth and Western Sydney are on their heels.
Melbourne City played in one of the most entertaining matches of the season last week when they drew 2-2 with Newcastle.
What was most pleasing about City’s performance was that they came back from a goal down on two occasions, when in other season’s they would have more likely conceded another goal themselves.
These two teams have met on only one other occasion this season in a mid-November match where the Roar were 3-1 winners.
Brisbane played one of their best all round performances of the season that night, as they led 2-0 at half-time and were hardly troubled.
Melbourne City will be hoping to close the gap on second placed Newcastle, with City currently four points adrift of the Jets.
At $2.30, City represents value in this fixture as they have been the more consistent team, particularly during the past month.
Best bet- Melbourne City to win at $2.30
A-League week 19 odds
Sydney $1.28 Wellington $8.50 Draw $5
Newcastle $2.40 Melbourne Victory $2.60 Draw $3.40
Adelaide $1.72 Perth $4.33 Draw $3.60
Central Coast $2.30 Western Sydney $2.70 Draw $3.60
Brisbane $2.63 Melbourne City $2.30 Draw $3.60
*Odds provided by Sportsbet
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