Wed, Mar 21, 1:35pm by Staff Writer
With only four rounds remaining until finals, the race for places in the top six in the 2017-18 Hyundai A-League season is as fierce as it has been all season.
A last-start loss by Sydney FC against Brisbane Roar snapped a 27-match home unbeaten run and closed the gap between the Sky Blues and the Newcastle Jets to just five points at the top of the table.
Elsewhere, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory sit just outside the top six by two and four points respectively, with Central Coast and Wellington out of finals contention.
Adelaide United versus Newcastle Jets
Friday, 23 March 2018 at 7.45pm AEDST at Hindmarsh
Adelaide are holding on to a finals position in fifth place, just two points ahead of the seventh placed Roar, but know a slip up against the Jets could see them fall outside the top six.
A 1-1 draw against Melbourne City last weekend was a fair result for the Reds, who don’t appear to be contenders for this year’s title, but would be massively disappointed to not finish in the top six, given their play in the early part of the season.
Despite losing star Andrew Nabbout to the J-League a fortnight ago, the Jets had a 1-0 win against Wellington last weekend.
This match should be a lot tougher for Newcastle, but recent history is on their side as they have won their last two matches against the Reds, both of which were this season.
Prior to a 2-1 loss in November 2017, the Reds were undefeated at home against the Jets since 2013.
It is hard to split the sides in the betting market, with Adelaide $2.37 favourites at Sportsbet, with the Nets $2.70 outsiders.
We expect this to be a close match and with the draw priced at a favourable $3.75, that is our pick in this one.
Best bet- Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets draw at $3.75
Wellington Phoenix versus Brisbane Roar
Sunday, 25 March 2018 at 5pm AEDST at Westpac Stadium
The Phoenix have had a poor 2017-18 season and won’t be playing finals, but could have a big say this Sunday as to whether or not the Roar do when they teams meet in Wellington.
Last weekend the Roar did what sides over the past two seasons have failed to do against Sydney and that is beat them at home.
The 2-1 win by Brisbane was an important one, as it keeps them just two points out of the top six.
These two sides have played out two draws this season, including a pulsating 3-3 draw in October in Wellington.
On that afternoon, the Phoenix raced out to a 3-0 lead, before a furious second-half comeback by the Roar left the scores locked at 3-3 at full-time.
We expect the Roar to have too much quality for a Phoenix side just waiting for the season to end.
Best bet- Brisbane Roar to win at $2.10
Perth Glory versus Melbourne Victory
Sunday, 25 March 2018 at 7pm AEDST at nib Stadium
Melbourne Victory produced one of their most dominating performances of the season in a 5-2 rout of Central Coast last Sunday.
The Victory led 5-0 deep into the match, before two late consolation goals for the Mariners made the scoreline slightly more respectable.
Victory now travels to Perth to face a rest Glory side who had a bye last weekend.
Perth are four points outside of the top six, but could close that gap to just a single point with a win on Sunday night.
The Victory are in a battle with Melbourne City, Adelaide and Western Sydney to finish third or fourth and ensure a home final in week one.
Victory are 12 points and 17 goals behind the Jets, and with only four rounds to play, it is next to impossible for them to finish in second position.
Victory’s trip to Perth this season was a fruitful one as they beat the Glory 2-0 in November.
Melbourne have won their past three matches against Perth, but prior to November had not won in Perth since 2014.
This match should be close and with Perth $3.75 home underdogs, they are certainly a value pick.
Victory are $1.72 at Sportsbet, with the draw paying $3.60.
Taking the Glory in the draw no bet market in a must-win game at $2.87 is the safer option compared to the head-to-head market.
Best bet- Perth Glory draw no bet at $2.87
A-League Round 24 Odds – Sportsbet
Adelaide $2.37 Newcastle $2.70 Draw $3.75
Central Coast $5 Sydney $1.50 Draw $4
Melbourne City $2 Western Sydney $2.88 Draw $3.60
Wellington $2.88 Brisbane $2.10 Draw $3.40
Perth $3.75 Melbourne Victory $1.72 Draw $3.60
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