A-League 2020/21 Round 1 Betting Previews and Predictions
The 2020/21 A-League season was initially scheduled to kick off on Sunday, December 27 with the league’s newest derby between Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Macarthur FC, but due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in New South Wales the fixture got postponed to Wednesday, December 30. Instead, the 2020/21 season will now begin on Monday, December 28 at the GMHBA Stadium with a clash between Western United FC and Adelaide United.
Outside of Brisbane Roar vs Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC vs Melbourne City and WS Wanderers vs Western United fixtures, which got postponed, the opening games of the season will allow members of the public to attend the match for the first time since March, albeit at only half of the stadium capacity. The current statistics shows that games without audience tend to be higher-scoring and while 50% of capacity is not a small number of people, we don’t expect it to have much of an impact on the games, so keep that in mind while reading our A-League betting preview.
Now let’s take a look at three games on the schedule for the first round of 2020/21 A-League season, starting with the season opener between Western United vs Adelaide United.
Western United v Adelaide United
When: Sunday, December 28 at 18:35 ADET
Where: GMHBA Stadium
Weather: Cloudy, 17°
The last time Western United and Adelaide United met at the GMHBA Stadium was way back in January when Adelaide secured a narrow 4:3 victory. Their next and most recent meeting happened in March, which ended up being a far more one-sided fixture with Bersart Berisha carrying his team to victory by contributing two out of five goals (5-1) en route to a 19-goal season.
The 35-year-old striker has proven time and time again why he is one of the A-League’s best players and we don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon. Standing on the other side of the pitch is Al Hassan Toure, who had two goals and an assist from 12 games last season, which is not exactly spectacular, however; he is proving to be a huge asset to Adelaide and a very deadly striker.
The 20-year-old will shoulder most of Adelaide’s attacking responsibility this season and despite his rather lacklustre numbers from the last season, W.U. will have their hands full when trying to stop the youngster – that is if he starts the game. It remains to be seen which of the two strikers will come out ahead on Sunday, but if Toure is to outdo the 15-year-older Berisha he will have to rely on his speed.
Talking about young talent, Adelaide have plenty of young prospects and with the addition of the experienced Javi Lopez from Espanyol, we are bound to see some growth from this young side. This, however, is a double-edged sword, since Adelaide’s young squad is fairly inexperienced compared to United, which should give the home side a slight edge as they look to secure their first points of the season.
Both of the last head-to-head meetings between Adelaide and W.U. ended with at least six goals scored, while both sides saw at least 2.4 goals on average in their last five outings. We expect the high-scoring trend to continue into the season opener where we expect to see at least three goals.
Adelaide United: Yared Abetew (knee – indefinite), Ryan Kitto (groin – indefinite), Al Hassan Toure (ankle – indefinite)
Western United: Luke Duzel (hamstring – 1 week), Brendan Hamil (adductor – 1 week), Sebastian Pasquali (hip – 6 weeks), Josh Risdon (leg – 8-10 weeks)
Prediction: Over 2.50 goals – 1.68 at Pinnacle
Western Sydney Wanderers v Macarthur FC
When: Wednesday, December 30 at 19:10 ADET
Where: Bankwest Stadium
Weather: Cloudy, 24°
Macarthur FC are set to make their debut on Wednesday when they travel to face their local rivals Western Sydney Wanderers. Judging by the squad they field, Bulls, led by coach Ante Milicic and captain Mark Milligan look set to make some serious damage in their inaugural A-League campaign, however, they first need to prove themselves against the unpredictable Wanderers.
Since this is Macarthur FC first official A-League match, they have no history with Wanderers, so we have to focus on the home side’s past games which show quite an interesting pattern. In their past five games, Wanderers have won two, lost two and produced one stalemate, scoring eight goals in that process and at least one per fixture.
If there is one thing going for Wanderers is that they were fairly successful when playing at home towards the end of the season. They have won three, lost one and drew one match at the Bankwest Stadium in their last five and have seen on average four goals per match in that stretch, producing at least one goal every match.
As a new Western Sydney derby, this should be an exciting and fiery match regardless of how many fans will be allowed at the stadium. Both sides field lethal strikers in Milislav Popovic for Macarthur and Simon Cox, who unlike most of the players from last year’s team chose to stay with Wanderers, so he will definitely have something to prove and show he can be just as lethal in A-League as he was at Southend United.
In 12 games, Cox produced three goals and three assists along with 15 shot assists, whereas Popovic had a relatively quiet season with Lafnitz, which is why we are giving a slight edge to the English striker. Regardless, we expect to see a good fight from both sides as they look to start the season with a W.
There are no reported missing players from either team as of Sunday, December 27.
Prediction: Over 2.50 goals – 1.72 at Pinnacle
Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets
When: Thursday, December 31 at 19:05 ADET
Where: Central Coast Stadium
Weather: Cloudy, 25°
Sparks are bound to fly next Thursday when Newcastle Jets take a short one-hour trip to Central Coast Stadium to face off against Central Coast Mariners. This fixture will mark their first meeting since late July when Mariners and Jets shook hands and parted ways with a boring 0:0 stalemate.
Mariners will be eager to start the new season on the right foot and get themselves in a favourable position to avoid a fourth straight wooden spoon. And who are we to say they can’t achieve that feat?
With the arrival of Costa Rican star Marco Ureña and the return of Oliver Bozanic, Mariners are in a good spot to walk away from this match with something, especially considering they’re facing a side that has gone through quite a turbulent off-season. And even that is an understatement.
Jets are currently still on the lookout for a permanent coach to replace Carl Robinson, whereas their owner is set to lose his licence due to his negligence of the team that has led to a multi-million dollar debt. On a more positive note, Jets field plenty of young players, so there is definitely some potential, but as it stands now, that is all they can offer.
Since both sides field fairly young squads, it will come down to the teams’ veterans to show up namely Nigem Boogard for Newcastle and Jack Clisby for Mariners. Both, however, are defenders, so it’s not like we can count on them to carry their team to victory with a couple of goals.
Since most of the teams’ strength lies in their defence, the victor will be decided by which team manages to score first and successfully defends their goal. That, however, does not necessarily mean we are in for a boring match since these F3 derbies are usually very intense and always produce something remarkable.
Last time out, the home side gave up nine fouls and four yellow cards, whereas Jets leaked 14 fouls and two yellows. In the attack, neither side impressed, with Mariners going only 3/10 on target, while Jets managed an even worse 2/10 even though they held the ball with 67%.
It will be an extremely important match to win for both sides and the players know it, so we might see emotions run wily and possibly a red card or two. Quality-wise, there is not a lot to set these two teams apart, but since this match will be played at the Central Coast Stadium, we are leaning more towards Mariners.
There are no reported missing players from either team as of Sunday, December 27.
Prediction: Central Coast Mariners +0.00 Asian Handicap (same as Draw No Bet) – 2.13 at Pinnacle
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