A-League Week 23: Panic stations for Newcastle?

It’s D-Day for the Jets in Wellington - let’s hope they can pull through for our followers as well as their finals hopes!

In our previews, we will compare our 10,000 simulations of every outcome compared to the bookmaker’s 50% market. Based on this data, we’ll determine whether there’s a clear betting advantage on certain markets. This can offer a clear long-term, profitable betting strategy more often than not.

For more information, visit our A-League hub, where you can get full access to all our A-League match predictions plus access to more soccer content.

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets

When: Sat 30 March 5:35pm EDT

The Play: Under 2.5 goals

Hiring Mark Rudan was always going to be a masterstroke by the Phoenix, and it’s a crying shame that he may depart for the new Western United franchise next season, as he is on the verge to guiding Wellington to their first A-League Finals appearance in four years. 

Newcastle are heading the other way, after a Grand Final appearance in 2017/18, and having let us down horribly last week (under 2.5 goals in the F3 derby was considered a value play), we’ll be trusting them and the model to pull through this time in New Zealand’s Windy City. 

The Jets were given a rude shock against the Central Coast Mariners last week after keeping two consecutive clean sheets, but their form throughout the season suggests they’ll bounce back nicely here. Having sustained ten losses throughout 2018/19, they have enjoyed a record of W5, D3, L2 in matches immediately following a loss. Furthermore, they have conceded two goals or more only twice in those ten matches.

With a five-point bridge between them and sixth-placed Adelaide above them, it’ll be panic stations for Novocastrians if their side drops any more points in these winnable matches, particularly with games against Perth and Sydney still to come in the run home.

The Phoenix were played into form by two of the three worst defences in the league (WSW and CCM) this season, after scoring just two goals across the preceding three matches (with all three matches falling under 2.5 total goals). They compiled three consecutive wins back in December and would fancy their chances to do it again, now in March. 

However, when tackling defences comparable to Newcastle (28 goals conceded this season) such as Adelaide (28) and Melbourne Victory (28), the Phoenix have failed to score more than one goal in any of their four matches against those two aforementioned clubs. 

Two of the last four overall H2H meetings and two of the last four in Wellington have produced under 2.5 total goals, with 1-0 HT results in the last three. A 1-0 HT result would be handy here given these two clubs have both seen 34 goals scored or conceded after half-time (equal-fourth fewest in the league).

On that basis, it’s encouraging to see 53% of Stats Insider simulations coming up with results of under 2.5 total goals - an edge of 10% in its favour (at time of publishing). 

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Aaron Murphy

Armchair critic in all sports that don't involve tackle counts. Unashamedly biased towards Victorians. Stands up because he loves the darts. Wisden Almanacks are his idea of a good book. If he's not playing sport, watching sport, or talking sport, he's thinking about sport. Sport.

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